Philip Bell (Director) pursues a cognitive and cultural program of research across diverse environments focused on how people learn in ways that are personally consequential to them. He is an associate professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Washington Seattle and holds the Geda and Phil Condit Distinguished Professorship of Science and Mathematics Education. Bell recently served on the Board on Science Education at the National Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on everyday expertise in science and health, culturally responsive science instruction, the use of emerging learning technologies in science classrooms, children’s argumentation and conceptual change in science, and new approaches to inquiry instruction in science. Bell directs the Institute, co-Directs the LIFE research center, directs the Learning Sciences Graduate program at UW, and directs the Everyday Science & Technology Research Group. Bell has a background in human cognition and development, science education, computer science, and electrical engineering.
Andrew Shouse (Associate Director) focuses on equitable science education in formal and informal settings, and communication of research to policy and practice audiences. Shouse's work is informed by a breadth of experiences in practice, including teaching elementary and middle grades, science center administration, and policy analysis. Prior to his appointment at UW Shouse was Senior Program Officer at the National Research Council's Board on Science Education (2003-2008) where he directed two consensus studies and edited the reports Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits (NRC, 2007; with Bell, Lewenstein, and Feder) and Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8 (NRC, 2007; with Duschl and Schweingruber) and authored (with Michaels and Schweingruber) Ready, Set, Science! Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms. Shouse serves on advisory bodies for numerous organizations, including: the National Geographic Society, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, the Pacific Science Center, The Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago), and The NSF Center for Biophotonic Science and Technology at the University of California-Davis. Shouse completed a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy at Michigan State University in 2005.
Carrie Tzou (Collaborating Faculty) has an interest in addressing issues of equity and social justice in science and environmental science education. She is an assistant professor in science education at the University of Washington Bothell. She holds a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University and an M.S. in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in science education from Vanderbilt University.
Senior Researchers & Collaborators
Megan Bang (Collaborating Faculty) focuses her work on two critical components: (1) working at the immediate and practical levels of improving teaching and learning with Indigenous youth and communities with a primary focus on science education (and through this I believe other children and communities), and (2) to conduct transformative research that deepens our understandings of the relationships between culture and cognition in and across learning settings. My research is currently focused on understanding the ways in which culture – understood as a diverse repertoires of practice individuals and community engage in – impact learning, development, and teaching. I am particularly focused on science education as the context in which to study these broader issues.
Aaron Chia Yuan Hung is interested in studying the social practices surrounding emerging technologies, particularly videogames and social media, and how they reshape the lives of youth cultures as well as the ways in which we communicate and make meaningful interaction with one another. In the past he has studied videogames and social interaction among Asian adolescents in New York City using a combination of participant observation and ethnographic methods, and building on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis. He has published this work in a book, The Work of Play: Meaning-making in videogames. He has a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, in Language, Literacy, and Technology; a masters degree from Teachers College in the Teaching of English, and a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in Organizational Behavior.
Jeanne Chowning is a Ph.D. student in the Learning Sciences. Her research interests include student reasoning, argumentation, and justification related to socio-scientific issues. She is also interested in how students learn about scientific practices and current technologies in science across informal and formal settings. Chowning serves as the Director of Education for the nonprofit Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR). For nearly 20 years, she has directed her professional efforts towards improving pre-college science education, fostering a greater understanding of biomedicine and bioethics, and promoting equity in science through expanded opportunities for students. At NWABR, Jeanne serves as the Principal Investigator on science education grants from the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation that focus on preparing young people for a future where science and technology will play an increasingly important role. She directs NWABR's STEM professional development and curriculum design efforts, and has co-authored numerous curricular resources, including a supplement for the NIH Office of Science Education. A former high School science teacher, she earned a B.A. in Biology from Cornell University and a B.F.A in Fine Art from the San Francisco Art Institute. In addition, she received her K-12 Teaching Certification and an M.S. in Biology Education from the University of Washington.
Theresa Horstman is a doctoral student in Learning Sciences whose interests include instructional design methods for digital games and virtual environments, specifically the correlation between metaphor, the creative process and design methods for creating virtual educational experiences. She has 13 years experience as an instructional designer specializing in integrating new technologies for online and distance learning. She received her B.A. with a focus in philosophy from The Evergreen State College and her M.Ed. from the University of Washington.
Elaine Klein is a doctoral student in Learning Sciences. Her research interests include how people learn about complex subjects in Biology through authentic practice, engaging all students in STEM education and career pathways, and integrating pedagogical skills into scientific expertise. She has over five years of experience teaching and developing environmental education curriculum in New York City and Austin, Texas. She earned her M.S. in evolutionary Biology from San Diego State University and a B.A. in Ecology and Environmental Studies from Simon's Rock College of Bard.
Annie Kuo is a doctoral student in the Language, Literacy & Culture program. Her research interests are in Project Based Learning, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) curriculum. She has taught ESOL at the secondary and college level in Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle, and believes in helping immigrant students reach their potential and achieve academic success through fostering learner autonomy. She received her B.A. in English and Chinese from the University of Calirfornia, Santa Barbara and her M.A. in TESOL and Foreign Language Education from New York University.
Lou Ann Lyon has an interest in equity and diversity in the field of computer science. She is a doctoral student at the University of Washington in the Learning Sciences. She holds a M.S. degree in Computer Science from California State University, Chico, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Pomona College in Claremont, CA.
Veronica Cassone McGowan is a doctoral student in the Learning Sciences. Her research interests focus on creating authentic, equitable, and transformative science and environmental science learning opportunities for students across settings. She is a certified teacher with an M.S. in Biology from Florida Atlantic University and a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University. Prior to attending the University of Washington, she worked as a sea turtle biologist and taught biology, environmental science, and sustainability to secondary students in formal and informal learning environments around the country.
Hiroki Oura is a Ph.D. student in the College of Education at the University of Washington. He came to Seattle from Japan in 2008. He is interested in how people learn and develop scientific understanding through problem solving and argumentation and in developing curricula and tools for facilitating such learning activities. Before coming to UW, he worked as a project researcher in The Center for Research and Development of Higher Education at the University of Tokyo and where he worked on educational software research and development. He graduated from Tokyo Institute of Technology with a Masters degree in Engineering with an emphasis on Educational Technology.
Suzanne Perin is a doctoral student in the Learning Sciences program. Her research focuses on how social groups learn together in informal settings, particularly in science centers, museums and aquariums. She is interested in how design, the meanings of objects, prior knowledge and experience intersect in learning environments. Prior to graduate school, she worked in science museum exhibition development and evaluation. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from UC Santa Cruz and an M.A. in Museology (Museum Studies) from the University of Washington.
Giovanna Scalone is a Ph.D. student in the Learning Sciences at the College of Education. Her research interests include understanding the learning and teaching of science and environmental science education across settings for culturally-responsive curricula. Other interests include multimodal teaching and learning in science and argumentation.
Déana Scipio is a doctoral student in Learning Sciences with research interests in the dialectic relationship between formal and informal STEM learning environments; creating spaces for youth to demonstrate or create expertise; architecting community-university partnerships to facilitate STEM learning; and helping scientists build pedagogical capacity. She has a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Biology from the University of San Francisco, a certificate in Education, Environment, and Community from IslandWood, and an M.Ed. in curriculum and teaching from the University of Washington.
Shelley Stromholt is a doctoral student in the Learning Sciences at University of Washington. She studies STEM-related learning and identity development in informal settings. Before pursuing a Ph.D., Shelley taught science and environmental education in informal settings. Most recently she was an educator at a residential outdoor learning center, where she supported graduate students in their teaching practice and coordinated the evaluation of student learning. Shelley has completed a B.S. in Biology at Oregon State University, and a M.Ed. in Science Education at University of Washington.
Paul Sutton is a doctoral student in Teacher Education at the University of Washington. He has an interest in how teachers learn and how their expertise is leveraged within school reform and renewal projects. His current project explores teacher collaboration in problem-based learning design teams. He previously worked as an English and Leadership teacher at Sammamish High School in the Bellevue School District for eight years. Sutton has a B.A. in English from Portland State University, an M.A. in English from York University in the UK, and a M.I.T. from Seattle University.
Katie Van Horne is a doctoral student in the Learning Sciences. She studies youth STEM learning and is interested in understanding how to engage all students in contemporary scientific practices while taking into account their everyday and out of school scientific expertise. She has a B.S. in Biology with a minor in pre-genetic counseling from Washington State University and before beginning the program at UW, she worked as the project coordinator on an NSF Math Science Partnership grant at the American Society of Human Genetics.
Elizabeth "Biz" Wright. Known to her friends and former students as Biz, Ms. Wright is interested in how students experience science in (and out of) the classroom and what their stories, individually and collectively, can tell us not only about our teaching but about how we can better tap into student agency and student voice. Ms. Wright earned a BA in Biology from Northern State University and completed all of the coursework for a Masters in Public Health before changing careers and becoming a teacher. Prior to her work at the UW she taught middle school science for seven years in Weston, MA. Ms. Wright is a third year doctoral student in the Curriculum and Instruction program who entrusted the care of her Red Sox season’s tickets to her friends while embarking upon this academic adventure and misses Fenway almost as much as she misses her friends, family and former students.
Leah Bricker (Assistant Professor—University of Michigan, School of Education)uses lenses from multiple fields (e.g., science education, learning sciences, science studies) to research phenomena of interest in science education (and STEM education more broadly), including social disparities related to youth interest and opportunities associated with STEM learning and practice. Bricker’s other focal interests include the intersections among language, literacy, text, and scientific practice, as well as learning within health-related contexts (e.g., infectious disease and other public health arenas, genomics). Bricker applies anthropological lenses to the study of youth, family, community, and professional STEM-related learning across contexts and timescales. In addition, she uses ethnographic findings and design-based research methods to design and study STEM learning environments. Bricker is also interested in methods associated with youth participatory action research and citizen-science endeavors.
Bricker earned her PhD in the learning sciences at the University of Washington, where she was affiliated with the National Science Foundation-funded Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Center, as well as with the Everyday Science and Technology Group and the Institute for Science and Mathematics Education.
Blakely Tsurusaki (STEM Director—Washington Alliance for Better Schools)has an extensive background in design, implementation, evaluation, and research of curriculum and professional development for K-12 teachers. Prior to joining WABS, she worked at the Institute for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Washington, was an Assistant Professor at Washington State University, and taught informal and formal K-12 science and environmental education. She has experience working in both formal and informal settings, including zoos, aquariums, and science museums, as both a teacher and a researcher. She is interested in how to make better connections between students’ everyday lives and what they learn in school, equity issues in education, and environmental literacy. Dr. Tsurusaki earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy from Michigan State University, a M.Ed. in Science Education from the University of Georgia, and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Puget Sound.
Elly Walsh is a doctoral student focusing on climate science education, the role of disciplinary experts in STEM education, and the incorporation of authentic contemporary science practices into informal and formal science learning environments. She has a M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College.
Hank Clark is an Information Systems, Technology, and Multimedia Production Specialist who has created online curriculum and training materials in coordination with Learning Scientists for over 14 years. His work in learning technology includes projects building custom technology, media, and online curriculum delivery solutions for learning science curriculum design and research projects in k-12 education settings, multiple private companies / corporations, and higher education institutions. Clark helps manage the creation and delivery of multimedia, technology, and communication aspects of multiple Institute projects and helps enable collaboration across multi-disciplinary teams.
Chloe Diamond is the Program Coordinator for the Educurious project at the Institute, providing support for the directors, researchers, and other Educurious staff. Her interests include the intersection of policy, educational equity, and political and cultural systems, as well as the relationship between educational policy-making and processes of teaching and learning. She holds a B.A. in Public Policy with a concentration in Educational Policy from Mills College and an M.A. in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Kathleen Heuring is the Financial Manager for the Institute and the LIFE Center and is responsible for all aspects of grant and contract administration for all PI's. She has over 20 years of administrative experience working in higher education, including 15 years managing the University of Washington Olympic Natural Research Center (College of the Environment), and the University of Puget Sound.
Irene Schleicher is the assistant to Philip Bell, ISME Director and LIFE Research Center Co-Director. She has worked in an executive support role for over 20 years, and has been at the University of Washington for over 10 years. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Beth Strehlo is an administrative assistant for the Institute and the LIFE Center, directly supporting two PI's as well as providing general office support for all faculty, staff, and students. She has more than 10 years of experience in administrative, supportive, and client service roles, including web marketing and document development. In addition to supporting the Institute full time, Beth is currently pursuing a B.A. in English and a certification in Technical Writing and Editing.