My academic research interests include youth racial concepts and stereotype formation, history and science education, student activism and voice, citizen science, education technology, social-emotional development, and environmental justice.  Here are some questions I’ve been pondering lately.

  • How do youth at different stages develop and understand racial identity? When and how are stereotypes formed in different contexts, and how can interventions influence the belief of stereotypes or anxiety in cross-racial relationships? How do are bi- and multi-racial identities different from the current models of racial identity development?
  • How do educators structure elementary and middle school citizen science programs to build not only science literacy and research skills but also student voice and agency for solving environmental issues?  How do strategic partnerships, e.g. universities, community environmental justice organizations, and public-private partnerships, influence the ability of programs to be effective?
  • What are students’ impressions of and experiences with activism in elementary and secondary education?  How are these different when focused on historical movements, such as the Civil Rights Movement, versus present-day movements, like Black Lives Matter?  How do various factors, like teachers’ and administrators’ experiences, impressions, and support, as well as school culture affect these outcomes?
  • What are student impressions of political participation outside of voting? In what ways do schools teach community organizing skills (or activism more broadly) as a means of political participation?  What opportunities exist to practice these skills in a safe and challenging manner that are developmentally appropriate and effective for instructional needs? How can they feel authentically connected to current curricular standards?
  • How are diverse scientific fields and their scientists represented in elementary and secondary education literature?  Fiction?  Non-fiction?  How, if at all, do these results influence interest and impressions of science?  (To put it bluntly, how can we make the all-but-neglected fields of ichthyology, ornithology, herpetology, and others just as sexy as paleontology to students?)