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Center Alumni - Elizabeth Burroughs

Elizabeth P. Burroughs
Generalist (Life Sciences/Mathematics) – May 2012



  • 1994  B.A. English Bryn Mawr College
  • 1999 M.S Forestry  Nicholas School of Environment, Duke University
  • 1999 M.S. Environmental Management  Nicholas School of Environment, Duke University

Thesis Advisor: Susan McKay, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy and Director, RiSE Center and MST Program
Thesis: The Astrobiology Project
Thesis Defense: Elizabeth Burroughs’ Thesis Defense

Research for my thesis involved an astrobiology curriculum that was piloted in Maine middle and high schools in 2008-2009. I used survey data to help determine whether the astrobiology curriculum was more or less effective than traditional science courses for Maine students, both in terms of science learning and attitudes about science; and to analyze teacher responses to the curriculum and the accompanying professional development. I also looked at “self-handicapping” behavior – a performance-avoid goal type that can indicate problems with students’ learning motivations.  Using the astrobiology data, I compared the prevalence of self-handicapping behavior between eighth and ninth grade students and between sexes, and examined whether self-handicapping behavior was correlated with students’ self-efficacy.

Liz has accepted a position teaching mathematics at the Freshman Academy at Ellsworth High School. Best of luck to her!


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