Institution/Department/Title: Georgia State University; Department of Middle-Secondary Education & Instructional Technology; Assistant Professor, Science Education
Degrees & Institutions:
-B.S. in Chemistry Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
-M.S. in Science Education, University of Pittsburgh
-Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction with a Science Education emphasis, Pennsylvania State University
Education Career & Background:
I taught high school for 15 years in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, with two brief interruptions while I pursued first my master’s degree, then my PhD degree. During that time, I was a local leader in my school as I initiated a vertical alignment of our science curriculum throughout our district. I was also a regional leader as I was one of two high school teachers on a team associated with Bloomsburg University that was part of a statewide initiative funded through a five-year NSF grant titled the Collaboration for Excellence in Teacher Preparation in Pennsylvania (CETP-PA). Finally, I was a state leader as I was part of a team that revised the state science standards in 2003 – 2004, being the head of the chemistry committee.
Upon completion of my undergraduate degree in chemistry education, I attained a teaching position at Central Columbia High School near Bloomsburg, PA. After six years in the classroom, I took a leave of absence to begin a M.S. degree in Science Education at the University of Pittsburgh. That was an important time because it was just after Benchmarks in Science Literacy had been published, and so I came back to my school empowered to lead our district in an overhaul of the K – 12 science curricula. Shortly after that, I was invited to be part of the local leadership team for a National Science Foundation grant designed to improve science teaching and teacher preparation in the state system schools (CETP-PA). That last experience also opened the door for me to be on the panel that revised the state science standards and I became the chair person for the chemistry group.
By the time that the sequence of events described above had been completed, I was ready for a new challenge and that came in the form of going back to school (at Penn State University) for my Ph.D. in Science Education. Since completing that degree in 2009, I have held positions at first Kennesaw State University and more recently Georgia State University. I have coordinated teacher preparation programs at both institutions, and now at GSU have immersed myself in a number of exciting research projects ranging in focus from conceptual change teaching to implementing Problem-Based Learning in diverse classrooms to supporting pre-service teacher in developing their reflective practices . . . and of course there is this little project I have working with a number of experienced chemistry and physics teachers whom I would like to see have the same kind of opportunities to make a difference in their field that I was given.
Description of role(s) on the project:
My main responsibility is to help guide the development of the professional development experiences for the Master Teaching Fellows. I see this as a tremendously challenging but exciting opportunity. I have to try to balance all of the ideas I have for the kinds of experiences I would like to see the MTFs have with the need to allow these individuals to chart their own course through this program. I hope I can find that balance point; I also hope that those whom my work directly affects will be willing to let me know if that is not the case.
I will also be working with the Teaching Fellows as much as my life allows me. One thing that I am working on right now is trying to have the Noyce TFs at KSU start to interact more with the Noyce TFs at GSU – to grow our local Noyce community. Finally, I am anxious to engage in some collaborative research projects with both the TFs and MTFs so that we may work towards a goal of generating our own knowledge about what ‘quality’ science teaching represents.
What drew you to the Noyce Project? What do you hope to gain from your involvement?
I had no choice . . . Dr. Rushton dragged me in kicking and screaming. Okay, that’s not quite true. One of the things that is quite limited in the educational research base are thoughtful longitudinal studies. To have a forum for working with a group of teachers over an extended period of time, to test out ideas, gather data about their efficacy / impact, and then re-design them to go through the process all over again . . . what more could someone in my position ask for . . . and I get financial support to do it.