Short BIOS

Panel 1: Integrating research into undergraduate learning: International examples

Prof. Vigdis Vandvik, University of Bergen

Vigdis Vandvik is professor of plant ecology and the director of the bioCEED Centre for Excellence in Biology Education at the University of Bergen, Norway. In her PhD from 2002 she researched the impacts of land-use change on alpine plant communities and biodiversity, and her research interests now cover plant ecology, biodiversity, and global change impacts on boreal and alpine ecosystems more broadly. Her research projects typically involve field work campaigns and long-term field experiments; activities that offer ample opportunities for student involvement in the research. This sparked interests in developing student research opportunities, and in exploring the role of research involvement in teaching and learning. Since 2014 Vandvik has been the director of bioCEED, a Norwegian Centre of Excellence in Education. bioCEED's vision is that we can develop and improve biology educations through exploiting the interrelationships between the theoretical foundations, practical skills, and societal relevance of biology. Vandvik is also an active participant in the Norwegian public debate, particularly relating to the role of and developments in higher education, nature management and climate change, and science in society more generally. 

Prof. Ed Coyle, Georgia Tech

Edward J. Coyle is the John B. Peatman Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. He is the Founder and Director of the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program, which integrates research and education by embedding large-scale, long-term teams of undergraduates in the research efforts of faculty and their graduate students. He is also the Director of the VIP Consortium, a set of 26 universities that have VIP Programs and work together to improve and disseminate it. Dr. Coyle was a co-recipient of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering's 2005 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education. In 1998, Dr. Coyle was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his contributions to the theory of nonlinear signal processing. He has received a number of other awards, including the 1997 Chester F. Carlson Award from the American Society for Engineering Education and the 1986 Paper Award from IEEE Signal Processing Society. His current research interests include systemic reform of higher education, signal and information processing, and wireless and sensor networks.

Panel 2: Integrating research into undergraduate learning: Icelandic examples

University of Akureyri, Department of Natural Resource Science

Sean M. Scully 

Sean is an adjunct at the University of Akureyri where he teaches course in microbiology, microbial biotechnology, and biochemistry. He moved to Iceland from the United States in 2008 where he previously worked in the chemical industry. Since moving to Iceland, he has been active in research focusing on inorganic and enzymatic catalysis and thermophilic anaerobes. Sean is also highly interested in science literacy and science outreach.

Eva María Ingvadóttir

Eva is a 3rd year student in biotechnology at the University of Akureyri. She has been active in undergraduate research since her first year at HA and has two publications. Most of her work has examined the use of microbes for the production of 1,2-propanediol.

University of Iceland, School of Education

Dr. Helga Rut Gudmundsdottir

Dr. Helga Rut Gudmundsdottir is Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Iceland, School of Education. She teaches music pedagogy for elementary and middle school as well as courses in early childhood music methods. Her research focuses on musical development in children. She is a board member of the MERYC (European Network for Music Educators and Researchers of Young Children) since 2015 and on the steering committee for the international research project AIRS (Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing) since 2012. Helga has developed her own practice “Tonagull” a research-based practice that gives courses, trains teachers and develops material for teaching music in childhood. In 2015 she published an illustrated book of Icelandic songs and rhymes with audio recordings. Her scholarly work on musical perception and development is published in peer reviewed international music journals and with international publishers such as Studentlitteratur and Oxford University Press.

Björg Þórsdóttir

Björg Þórsdóttir is a singer and a music teacher, holding a double degree in vocal performance and in education with a specialization in early childhood. Björg graduated from the University of Iceland, School of Education in 2013. She teaches full time at Ísaksskóli, a private school for children from 5 – 9 years old. Björg also teaches parent-infant music classes using the Tonagull method.

Hólar University College, Department of Rural Tourism

Anna Vilborg Einarsdóttir

Anna Vilborg Einarsdóttir is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Rural Tourism, at Hólar University College where she teaches the following three courses: Tourism, Culture and Tourism and Management. Furthermore, Anna is responsible for the students' vocational training in rural tourism and event management which is carried out in cooperation with the tourism industry. Anna has extensive experience within the school system. She started her career as a primary school teacher, then a secondary school teacher and finally a university teacher. For years, Anna was the principal of the Iceland Tourist Guide School and the School of Continuing Education within the Technical School of Reykjavík. While working within the school system Anna's publications were mostly linked to curricula for tourism education, such as programs for unskilled workers in the tourism industry and tour guiding programs for vocational education in upper secondary schools as well as tour guiding programs for university studies. In recent years Anna has been involved in research on the tourists carrying capacity on several sites in Iceland as well as research of social impact of tourism and the tourism industry. Anna's latest research focused on the roles of guides and their contribution to nature conservation.

Ingibjörg Smáradóttir

Ingibjörg is a 3rd year BA student in tourism studies at the Holar University College. She has a license to work as an International tourist guide and she also has a D-certificate as a project manager from International Project Management Association. She works as an office manager at the School of Health Science at the University of Akureyri.

University of Iceland, Faculty of Earth Sciences

Páll Einarsson

Páll Einarsson has been teaching courses at the University of Iceland for more than four decades, and has been a professor of geophysics since 1994. He was educated in Germany (Vordiplom in physics from the University of Göttingen in 1970) and New York (PhD in geophysics from Columbia University in 1975). Since 1975 he has conducted research in the field of seismology, volcanology and general geophysics, studying crustal movements, earthquakes, structure of volcanoes, fault systems, and related phenomena. From the beginning he has emphasized the role of student participation in his research. In his course on Tectonics he has brought the class into the field every year since 1977 for mapping and measuring faults and fault systems along the plate boundary regions of SW-Iceland. This work has formed the basis for numerous research papers and has led to new understanding of the mode of deformation along these important boundaries. The educational value for the large number of participating students is invaluable.

Þorgerður Bjarnadóttir

Þorgerður Þorbjarnardóttir is finishing her second year towards her BS degree in geology at the University of Iceland. She will finish her degree in the spring of 2019. She participated in the Tectonics course in the fall semester of 2017, where she contributed to the research on faults in the Reykjanes Peninsula, a part of the plate boundary between the North America  and the Eurasia plates. Þorgerður also works part-time on the new project  at the university scanning old paper seismograms,  making the old data accessible for future research.

Reykjavik University, School of Computer Science

Kristinn R. Þórisson

Kristinn R. Thórisson is Professor of Computer Science at Reykjavik University and Founding Director of the Icelandic Institute for Intelligent Machines, in Iceland. Having been doing research in AI for 30 years, he has consulted for NASA, British Telecom, and HONDA Research Labs, and taught AI courses at Columbia University, Reykjavik U. and KTH. Kristinn and his team recently developed a new kind of AI that is a two-time recipient of the Kurzweil Award, which learn complex tasks from scratch e.g. doing a TV-style interview with realtime speech and gesture, via recursive self-programming.

Mathieu Skúlason

Mathieu Grettir Skúlason began his career as an entrepreneur and developer when he was 16 years old and founded his first company only a year later. For the last four years he has worked as a software specialist at Meniga as well as studying under the Aperio Program at Reykjavik University. Recently he founded the edtech startup Flow Education, based on his research in the Aperio program, which aims to revolutionize the way children learn.

University of Iceland, Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies

Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir and Áslaug Heiður Cassata

Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir is Professor of Medieval Icelandic Literature at the University of Iceland. Her research interests focus on Old Norse literature, specifically fornaldarsögur, chivalric romances, folk tales, ballads and rímur. Some other themes in her research include manuscript studies, the history and narrative role of magic, the history of dancing in Iceland, gender studies, fairy tales, folk poetry, narrative motifs, picture stones and the supernatural. Her publications include the monographs Úlfhams saga, 2001, and Strengleikar, 2006, as well as numerous articles, the most recent being “Reflexes of the fornaldarsögur in Icelandic poetry” in The legendary legacy: Transmission and Reception of the Fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda, 2018. Aðalheiður has compiled a database on Icelandic fairy tales, with the assistance of her students. One of them is Áslaug Heiður Cassata, who worked on the database at the final stage by adding information and coordinating some of the students' contribution.

Iceland University of the Arts, Department of Design and Architecture

Thomas Pausz 

Thomas is a designer working and thinking across disciplines. He graduated from the Masters in Design Products at The Royal College of Arts. Thomas's work engages with a critical reading of material culture, with a specific interest in food production and environmental issues. Thomas creates and materializes future production scenarios, narratives and artefacts based on a mapping of current systems. In parallel to his collaborative studio practice, Thomas curates design exhibitions and writes on the human and ecological aura of technology. Thomas is currently Assistant Professor in Design at the Iceland University of the Arts, and program director of the MA Design: Explorations & Translations.

Inga Kristín Guðlaugsdóttir

Inga Kristín Guðlaugsdóttir is a 2nd year student in product design at the Iceland University of the Art. She is a hairdresser, technical designer and a dressmaker. She has mostly been working freelance in these professions. 








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