SABER Executive Committee

Kelsey MetzgerPresident

University of Minnesota, Rochester, Email:

Kelsey Metzger Profile picture

I've been an active member of SABER for the past 11 years, participating in all but one national meeting and recently presenting at my first SABER West. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of you in my previous roles in the organization on the Steering Committee (2017-2019), co-chairing the inaugural Election Committee (2019), on the Mentoring Committee (2020), chairing the Tenure and Promotion SIG (2018-2022), as the unofficial SABER swag czar, and currently as a member of the Development and Growth Committee (2021-2022). SABER feels like home to me: I have met friends, collaborators, role models, and friendly critics because of SABER, all of whom have been invaluable to me as a DBER scholar committed to seeking and using data to inform practice. My current academic position involves research focused on undergraduate learning; teaching; and service. As a faculty member at a small "startup" campus focused on education innovation that is part of a larger multi-campus university, I have been engaged in an extensive range of service activities across nearly every facet of the institution. Through serving on committees, task forces, and elected positions within university governance, I have cultivated the ability to work effectively alongside colleagues representing diverse stakeholder interests and campus units. These experiences have enabled me to learn a lot about how different groups function and what strategies generally work well to get things done. Over the past several years, I have taken on additional mentoring and faculty development roles, and will begin a new role as Director of Faculty Development at UMR as an extension of my tenured faculty position.

Miriam Segura-Totten, President-Elect

University of North Georgia, Email:

Miriam Segura-Totten Profile picture

Dr. Miriam Segura-Totten is a biology professor and the Harry B. Forester Eminent Scholars Chair in Biological Sciences at the University of North Georgia (UNG). She has an A.B. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. During her seventeen-year teaching career, Dr. Segura-Totten has engaged undergraduates in research within a traditional setting, in courses that integrate her scholarly interests, and as part of national initiatives to infuse research into the curriculum. Most recently, her research interests focus on innovative and evidence-based teaching, particularly on methods that promote critical thinking in undergraduates. Dr. Segura-Totten’s teaching was recognized in 2016 through UNG’s most prestigious honor, the Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2017 through the University System of Georgia Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award (Felton Jenkins, Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award). In 2017, she was honored to be named one of the Inspiring Leaders in STEM by INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine. She has been the Themed Issue senior editor for the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education since 2017. Within SABER, Dr. Segura-Totten is invested in continuing to make the society an inclusive and welcoming environment to all. To this end, she helped to create the PEER (Persons Excluded because of their Ethnicity or Race) Network SABER special interest group in 2020.

Marcos E. Garcia-Ojeda, Past President

University of California, Merced, Email:

Marcos Garcia-Ojeda Profile picture

A founding faculty member at UC Merced, I followed my professional interests and transitioned to a tenured teaching faculty position in 2014, leading me to biology education research. Thanks to Brian Sato and the UC STEM-LEC Network, I discovered SABER, and have been involved with it for 5 years. Since I attended my first meeting in 2017, I have presented 2 research talks (2018, 2020), joined the DEI Committee (Jan 2020), and the PEER Network (Aug 2020). SABER has provided me with a supportive community of scholars who foster and practice BER and fellow professors who use active, inclusive, student-centered, evidence based pedagogical best practices, and has helped me grow into leadership roles in BER on my own campus. SABER's mission to advance BER aligns with my professional activities. Our students at UCM are >50% Latino and >70% 1st gen and face structural barriers to success. I use student-centered, evidence-based practices that benefit these PEERs. I study how different learning spaces influence learning. Dr. Petra Kranzfelder and I collaborated to understand how STEM instructors' discourse moves affect student learning. As co-PI of our HHMI Inclusive Excellence Grant, I design and implement faculty development in Inclusive Pedagogy. I mentor faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students in BER and serve on multiple administrative committees. My teaching, scholarship, and service record makes me a strong candidate for the presidency of SABER. The use of evidence-based practices for inclusive, effective learning is positively transforming the experiences of PEERs and other biology students nationwide. SABER's pioneering work in creating a BER community, and sharing best practices for inclusive, anti-racist education contributes to this transformation. I am committed to sustaining and expanding SABER's impact. As president, I will grow our currently R1/majority-White institution-based membership to include PEER faculty and students at 2- and 4-year Minority Serving Institutions. Beyond the US, I will explore partnerships with BER scholars in Latin America and Asia, extending membership opportunities, hosting transnational exchanges, and building international BER consortia.

Melanie Melendrez-Vallard, Secretary

Melinda Owens, Treasurer

University of California, San Diego, Email:  Melinda Owens profile picture

Melinda T. Owens has been a tenure-track Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of California, San Diego since 2018. Prior to that, she earned a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco and was a postdoc at San Francisco State University in biology education research. Her research focuses, broadly, on developing tools to help faculty understand their teaching and use evidence-based teaching techniques, including active learning and inclusive teaching. She also mentors undergraduates and masters' students in biology education research. Melinda has been attending SABER conferences since her postdoc. Recently, in the wake of George Floyd's murder, she co-led SABER's "Sense of Place" committee to determine where and how we can have the annual SABER meeting to best honor and involve local educational communities of color. As treasurer, she is committed to investigating and implementing ways to lower the cost of participating in SABER activities and broaden SABER's membership to be more inclusive.

Mary Pat Wenderoth, Historian

Mary Pat Wenderoth Profil picture

University of Washington, Email:

Mary Pat Wenderoth is a Teaching Professor in the Biology Department at the University of Washington, Seattle (UW) where she teaches animal physiology courses and conducts biology education research on how students learn biology. Her main research interests focus on assessing implementation of cognitive science principles in the classroom, particularly those associated with conceptual change, use of first principles in constructing conceptual frameworks in physiology and student metacognition. She also does research on academic achievement gaps in STEM and effectiveness of professional development efforts to close those gaps. She received the UW Distinguished Teaching Award in 2001and has served as the co-director of the UW Teaching Academy. She was recognized by the National Association of Biology Teachers as the Biology Education Researcher of 2017. She received the Claude Bernard Distinguished Lectureship of the American Physiology Society Teaching of Physiology Section in 2019. She is co-founder of the UW Biology Education Research Group (UW BERG) and the national Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER). She also served as President of SABER from 2010-2019.  She served as a facilitator at the HHMI Summer Institute for Undergraduate Biology Education from 2007 -2011. Dr. Wenderoth earned her B.S. in Biology from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., a M.S. in Women’s Studies from George Washington University, a M.S. in Exercise Physiology from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in Physiology from Rush University in Chicago.  The Historian role has been created to facilitate communication, both between the executive committee and other SABER committees and with our membership more broadly.

The Executive Committee provides regular updates of their activities.  You can access those reports here.

Former Executive Committee Members

Mary Pat Wenderoth, Past President, 2019-2020, lead SABER visionary, organizer, and champion 2010-2019

SABER Governance

According to the Bylaws, SABER is led by an Executive Committee consisting of five Officers, including

  • President (1 year term, entered after serving as president-elect, except inaugural president)
    • Chief elected Officer of the Society. The president shall supervise and direct the conduct of the business of the Society. In consultation with the Executive Committee, the president shall provide direction and guidance for the formulation of Society policy. The president shall be responsible for ensuring that all affairs of the Society are conducted in a manner consistent with the Bylaws. The President shall call and preside at all regular, and Executive Committee meetings of the Society. The President has automatic succession to the office of Past President.
  • President-elect (1 year term, elected)
    • Works cooperatively with the President in the performance of their duties and assumes those duties if the President is absent or unable to act. The President-Elect has automatic succession to the presidency. The President-Elect is a voting member of the Executive Committee. The President-Elect will perform other duties as assigned by the President or Executive Committee.
  • Past President (1 year term, entered after serving as president)
    • Provides leadership continuity and helps assure strong future officer succession. The immediate Past President is a voting member of the Executive Committee and serves as the Chair of the Nominating Committee. The Past President shall perform other duties as assigned by the President or Executive Committee. The immediate Past President shall assume the duties of the President if both the President and the President-Elect are absent or unable to function. The Past President automatically assumes the title of President Emeritus at the end of their term.
  • Secretary (3 year term, except inaugural secretary who will serve 2 years, elected)
    • Responsible for notifying the membership of all regular and special meetings. The Secretary shall take and keep minutes of all regular, special, and Executive Committee meetings of the Society. The Secretary shall have responsibility for and participate in the maintenance of all corporate records and important Society documents. The Secretary may also oversee the collection, organization, and archiving of any historical materials of interest to the Society. The Secretary is a voting member of the Executive Committee and shall perform other duties as assigned by the President or Executive Committee.
  • Treasurer (3 year term, elected)
    • Chief fiscal officer of the Society. The Treasurer shall oversee the receipt of all moneys paid to the Society as well as the deposit of all such moneys in a bank in the name of the Society. The Treasurer shall oversee the payment of all Society expenditures, scholarships, and grants. The Treasurer shall keep, or oversee the management of, a complete set of financial records for the Society and present financial reports as required. The Treasurer shall prepare a summary of the previous year’s financial transactions prior to September 1 annually. At the end of their term of office, the Treasurer shall turn over all funds and financial records to their successor. The Treasurer is a voting member of the Executive Committee and shall perform other duties as assigned by the President.

The first Executive Committee took office in September 2019.

The Executive Committee will establish and manage the policies and affairs of the Society and shall endeavor to enact the mission of the society.

The Executive Committee is responsible for creating and dissolving committees to manage different aspects of SABER, as well as setting the priorities for these committees.

SABER is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
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