Educational background:

PhD, Forestry and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior, Michigan State University, 2012

MS, Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, 2004

BS, Biology, Western Washington University, 1999


Department of Teacher Education, MSU

CREATE for STEM Institute, MSU

Research interests:

My background is in forest ecology, researching carbon and nitrogen biogeochemical cycles in hardwood forests, but I have since transitioned into science education research and am affiliated with the Department of Teacher Education and the CREATE for STEM Institute at MSU.

My current research focuses on how students reason about scientific phenomena. I am investigating student reasoning in two different contexts that revolve around the questions: How do students interpret data from scientific investigations and use it as evidence to evaluate claims about a system? and How do students explain everyday phenomena that contain ideas from the fields of biology, chemistry, and physics? I use my training as an ecologist to look for patterns across multiple student responses to identify common themes in the way students’ reason about particular ideas (rather than looking for patterns in ecosystem parameters).

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