The Program for Learning and Community Engagement (PLACE) at Texas A&M University-Texarkana will get underway Thursday, Sept. 1, with a SuperLecture titled “Scientific racism: How (pseudo)science has been (mis)used to perpetuate discrimination” by Dr. Angela Sikorski, associate professor of Psychology.
The lecture is set for 5:30-6:45 p.m. in University Center 210 on the A&M-Texarkana campus at 7101 University Ave., Texarkana, Texas.
PLACE is a faculty-led program designed to create a community of learners comprising A&M-Texarkana students, faculty, staff and the community at large.
PLACE chooses an annual theme around which to organize a lecture series and other activities that provide focal points for learning and discussion. This year’s theme is “Race and Ethnicity.”
“Science is instrumental to our understanding of ourselves and of our world,” Dr. Sikorski says. “While most scientists behave ethically in their pursuit of knowledge, some have hidden under the shroud of science to not only perpetuate racism and discrimination, but to deliberately harm vulnerable populations.”
Dr. Sikorski’s lecture will describe classic examples of blatantly unethical conduct and discuss how they ultimately led to the National Research Act in 1974, and the Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research (Belmont Report) in 1979.
“While this year’s PLACE theme focuses on a sensitive subject, we believe that the university can and should serve as a catalyst for respectful exploration and exchange of knowledge regarding challenging topics. We approach this opportunity for learning thoughtfully and with civility,” said Dr. Emily Cutrer, president of A&M-Texarkana.
Dr. Sikorski is a neuroscientist who earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Experimental Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the Neurobiology Laboratory at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in 2008, she accepted a tenure-track position in psychology at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.
While at A&M-Texarkana, Dr. Sikorski has earned several teaching awards, received over $530,000 in grant funding, and was named the 2015 Distinguished Faculty Member.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Sikorski serves the university and her profession and is actively engaged in scholarly research. She coordinates the undergraduate and graduate programs in psychology and is the chair of the Institutional Review Board. She also is the program coordinator for the Southwestern Psychological Association.
Dr. Sikorski has spent nearly two decades studying the extent to which experience alters brain morphology, learning and memory, using both human and animal models. Her teaching philosophy is based upon her belief that mentorship is critical to the success of students both during and beyond college. As such, at A&M-Texarkana Dr. Sikorski recruits exceptional students to assist her with her research. Over a dozen students who have worked with Dr. Sikorski have had the opportunity to co-author presentations at both local and national meetings.
Future PLACE events include the following: