Background/Question/Methods Within STEM education there is disproportionate attrition of women and people of color (POC). Persistence in STEM careers is improved by developing one’s scientific identity early in an academic career and by positive student-instructor interactions in foundational courses. Unfortunately, women and POC are less likely (compared to their male and white classmates) to receive this support and are more likely to be discriminated against, either implicitly or explicitly, at the classroom interaction level. Thus, it is important to develop pedagogical methods that foster in all students a positive scientific identity and connection to the field early in their academic career. Given the importance of inter-personal connection, tools that improve classroom interactions are vital. Here I ask the question: does the use of a modified cold-call technique, Random Call, improve students’ perception of the classroom climate, and knowledge acquisition and retention? To assess efficacy, I use attitudinal surveys and pre-/post-lecture quizzes to compare student experiences in lectures that use the Random Call method versus instructor’s baseline method. This pilot study took place in an introductory biology course, primarily in the Ecology portion. The study included four instructors with differing levels of experience, covering 10 lectures with half taught online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Results/Conclusions For student perception of classroom climate, preliminary results indicate that Random Call had a significant (p < 0.05) positive effect when the instructor was of low experience (<5 years) and no effect for a higher experience instructor (>10 years). Qualitatively, the low experience instructor’s Random Call classroom climate results were higher than either of the higher experience instructor’s results. Regardless of instructor experience, on average students felt positively about the classroom climate though there were large variations in their responses. In terms of content knowledge, preliminary results indicate that Random Call lectures saw greater gains (+42%) in knowledge acquisition (post- minus pre-lecture quiz results) compared to the paired Baseline lecture (+30%). However, pre-lecture quiz results for the Random Call lecture were worse than Baseline lecture’s quiz. This discrepancy makes attribution of the differences to the efficacy of the Random Call method more difficult. If these results hold, they indicate that Random Call has a positive impact in the classroom, both in terms of student perception of classroom climate and performance on knowledge assessments.