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GS02 Blowing Up Stereotypes in Learning

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM PT
Wednesday, October 26

There’s a long list of stereotypes that can get in the way of learning. These widely held assumptions affect the way people view their own ability to learn. Many of these stereotypes are so embedded in our cultures that they can affect our practice as learning professionals through unconscious bias. In order to design truly effective and inclusive learning programs, we must find ways to break through these stereotypes and biases.

Dr. Kate Biberdorf has been blowing up stereotypes for years —quite literally. Through her theatrical and hands-on approach to teaching that has been seen by millions on television like the Today Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Dr. Biberdorf is breaking down the image of the stereotypical scientist and reaching students who might otherwise be intimidated by science. During this explosive keynote filled with entertaining experiments, Dr. Biberdorf will share how she breaks through the assumptions people have about how we teach and what we can learn.

Kate Biberdorf

Professor and Director of Demonstrations and Outreach

Department of Chemistry, University of Texas

Dr. Kate Biberdorf is a professor and director of demonstrations and outreach for the Department of Chemistry at University of Texas in Austin. She loves to break stereotypes and blow things up—all in a good pair of heels. Her theatrical, hands-on approach is designed to excite those who are intimidated by science, and demonstrate that science can be entertaining and fun. Noting that there are obstacles facing many women who pursue careers in STEM fields, she is especially interested in inspiring young women to pursue careers in science.

Biberdorf has appeared on many television shows, including The Today Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, NBC Nightly News, the Wendy Williams Show, the Rachael Ray Show, and Late Night with Stephen Colbert. A prolific author, she has penned numerous books including Kate the Chemist: The Big Book of Experiments, a collection of 25 kid-friendly science experiments, and Dragons vs. Unicorns, a novel about a young female scientist. Her newest work, which will be released in July, examines how we experience science every day of our lives. It is titled It’s Elemental: The Hidden Chemistry in Everything.

She delights audiences with the magic of chemistry. Her repertoire of on-stage experiments includes combustion, and shows often end with her dumping a vat of hot water into a bucket of liquid nitrogen, creating an epic thunder cloud.

Biberdorf holds a BS in chemistry and German from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in inorganic chemistry from The University of Texas.