Vanderbilt University – Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences
I am a geoscience education researcher primarily focused on understanding the complex relationship between spatial skills (i.e., the ability to mentally manipulate objects) and success in STEM fields. I rely on my years of geological education to conduct this externally funded research, which includes analyzing course sequences and determining optimal learning progressions to improve geoscience student outcomes. My research supports discipline wide efforts described in the Geoscience Education Research Community Framework. I am an expert in quantitative data analysis and management, instrument development and validation, program assessment, training and assessing spatial skills, and situated-expectancy value theory. My research has been nationally recognized as having a substantial impact on the geosciences, as well as STEM fields more broadly, through the NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship and the National Association for Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Emerging Scholar Award.
Both my teaching and research are dedicated to making science classrooms more effective, welcoming, and accessible. I have received several awards to that effect, including the International Association for Geoscience Diversity’s Inclusive Geoscience Education and Research Award and the NAGT Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. In my classes, you will hear continuous student-student and student-teacher conversations. The decade I spent as a Montessori student showed me that the communal sharing of knowledge is one of the greatest ways to learn. I use student-centered, active learning strategies that build on students’ existing knowledge to help them solidify complex concepts and develop new skills, thus keeping them engaged in the course.