2019 RiSE June Conference- Presenters

Tim Boester

Assistant Professor of Mathematics and RiSE Center Faculty, University of Maine

Tim Boester’s research focus is undergraduate mathematics education. He studies theories of advanced mathematical thinking and learning and how those theories suggest students learn particular mathematical concepts, such as limit, derivative, and absolute value. He is currently working on improving student understanding of function and co-variation. He also studies informal learning environments such as student-tutor interactions.

Mitchell Bruce

Professor of Chemistry and RiSE Faculty, University of Maine

Mitchell Bruce is a Professor of Chemistry and a founding member of the RiSE Center at the University of Maine. Mitchell earned his BS degree in chemistry from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He went on to earn his PhD in chemistry from Columbia University, followed by a postdoc at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. As a chemical education researcher, Mitchell is interested in fostering the skill of thinking at the atomic scale, teacher professional development workshops involving inquiry, and strategies involving active-learning, assessment, and problem-solving. Mitchell plays ice hockey year-round and loves alpine skiing in the winter.

Marisa Castronova

Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Education, Caldwell University

Dr. Castronova works in several educational capacities. She is a science teacher for the Montville Township public schools, a part-time instructor at Caldwell University, and an NGSS Teacher Leader facilitating professional development for teachers across New Jersey. Marisa earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Secondary Science Education from Lehigh University. In 2011, she earned a master’s degree in biology from Montclair State University and recently earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Caldwell University in 2018. Dr. Castronova is the creator of several innovative, grant-funded programs including STEM PALS and the Lazar Honeybee Initiative. As a researcher, Marisa is interested in understanding how teachers learn, especially in the midst of reform. She is an active member of the New Jersey Science Teachers Association (NJSTA), and serves on the Executive board of the Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award Committee, a committee dedicated to providing professional training activities for science teachers.

Ann Cleveland

Professor of Marine Biology, Maine Maritime Academy

Ann Cleveland is a Professor of Marine Sciences at the Maine Maritime Academy, teaching general biology to college freshmen, ecology to college juniors, and seminar to college seniors. Ann has been a marine biologist since she was 18 months old and her parents held her in the ocean for the first time. Ann has both professional and academic experience in ecology, management, and conservation. Prior to beginning her teaching career, she worked for several years as an environmental consultant in Rhode Island on wetland mitigation and restoration, and with the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies group monitoring the environmental effects of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. She also worked as a research diver for The Living Seas at EPCOT Center and as a fisheries observer for the National Marine Fisheries Service. Ann has experience in both tropical (Indo-Pacific, Gulf of California, Panama, Bahamas, Tobago) and temperate/polar (Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea) marine ecosystems as well as freshwater (the Colorado River) and estuarine (Narragansett Bay) environments. Ann’s research focusses primarily on the ecology and evolution of coral reef fishes, but she is also involved in science education.

Jenn Gilman

Middle and High School Mathematics Teacher, East Grand School, Danforth, ME

Jennifer has spent over 20 years in education working with students and adults of all ages. She currently works as the only 6-12 mathematics teacher at East Grand School, a preK-12 school in Danforth, Maine. She is part of a cohort of teachers that implements project/place based education focused on the natural resources. She is part of the team that is currently one of two Maine schools nominated for the SEDTA Student Voices award. Jennifer received a grant to build a VR Lab in her school that is supported by RiSE Center faculty and students. Jennifer has contributed to several programs at the RiSE Center including NSF Coach and Teacher in Residence.

Heather Johnson

Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Heather Johnson is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Colorado Denver. After 13 years teaching high school students mathematics, Dr. Johnson completed graduate work in mathematics education, earning a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University. As a mathematics educator, Dr. Johnson designs digital math tasks to help students learn how graphs work, interacts with students to investigate and measure their quantitative and covariational reasoning, and studies how students’ reasoning can impact their attitudes toward math and their course performance. Dr. Johnson serves on two NSF funded research projects, as PI of the three-year project: Implementing techtivities to promote students’ covariational Reasoning in college algebra (ITSCoRe), and as co-PI of the four-year project: Adaptive pedagogy for elementary teachers: Promoting multiplicative and fractional reasoning to improve students’ preparedness for middle school mathematics (AdPed). Dr. Johnson is committed to connecting research and practice, receiving the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Linking Research and Practice Outstanding Publication Award in 2014. Dr. Johnson is currently editor in chief of the fully online Colorado Math Teacher journal as well as an associate editor of the Mathematical Thinking and Learning journal, and she co-edited a 2017 issue of ZDM Mathematics Education: Mathematical tasks and the student. Find Dr. Johnson online on Twitter, @HthrLynnJ, and at her website, HthrLynnJ.com.

Susan McKay

Director of the RiSE Center and Professor of Physics, University of Maine

Susan joined the faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Maine (UMaine) in 1986. There she served as Department Chair for six years, conducted research in theoretical condensed matter physics and taught many of the department’s graduate physics courses. In 2001, she led a small group of STEM and STEM Education faculty to establish the RiSE Center and the research-based Master of Science in Teaching (MST) Program at UMaine, focused on education research to improve teacher preparation. Since then, she has served as the center’s Director, building strength in STEM education research and advancing evidence-based teaching and learning in the STEM disciplines in Maine schools and at UMaine. She was the Principal Investigator of the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership and the Maine Elementary Sciences Partnership, which led to the formation of the Maine STEM Partnership at the RiSE Center, a statewide STEM education improvement community involving more than 50 Maine school districts and the Maine Department of Education as partners. She is currently the Principal Investigator of an NSF Teaching Fellowship Program, which recruits, prepares, and supports new science and mathematics teachers in Maine’s rural, high-need districts, tapping into the leadership and expertise of experienced Maine teachers. She is also the Principal Investigator of an NSF STEM+C award that has formed a research-practice partnership to integrate computer science into middle school science. Research done as part of this grant will provide knowledge about the supports for teachers that are needed to successfully accomplish this integration. Under Susan’s leadership, the RiSE Center has grown to include 20 UMaine faculty across multiple disciplines, 7 accomplished professional staff with expertise in STEM education, and more than 30 graduate students. Over the years, she has been awarded more than $20 million in federal and state competitive grants to support STEM education research to strengthen learning for students and provide professional learning experiences for current and future teachers. These accomplishments were recognized in 2019 with the University of Maine’s Presidential Public Service Achievement Award.

Susan received her Bachelor’s (Princeton University), her Master’s (University of Maine), and her Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in physics. She completed requirements for secondary teaching certification in mathematics and physical sciences through Princeton University’s Teacher Preparation Program and worked as an engineer before joining the faculty at UMaine. Her research interests in teaching and learning support the goal of providing a rigorous and exciting education in the STEM disciplines for all Maine students, including those from groups currently under-represented.

Bill McWeeny

Middle School Mathematics and Science Teacher, Adams School, Castine, Maine

Bill McWeeny has been a science teacher for almost five decades. With degrees in Biology and Chemistry Bill has focused his work on environmental science in the classroom and beyond. Bill’s teaching is project oriented often integrating science with language arts and social studies and always including mathematics. From the Cell Play to the Culturing Project, and from Family Tree Research to the VAMP (Velocity, Acceleration, Momentum Project) Project, Bill leads students on adventures in learning that stick with them throughout their lives. For 15 years Bill has been the Principal Investigator for an after school club called The CALVIN Project. The Project is supported by the New England Aquarium. Bill has been a volunteer scientist since 1983 every summer in the Bay of Fundy for the Right Whale Research Team. The students in the Project study right whales by attending science conferences, going on whale watches and reading articles about the world’s most endangered large whale, the North Atlantic right whale. His students educate people about the problems right whales are having and how to solve them with PowerPoint presentations. Bill is now a member of the Editorial Board of the new student peer reviewed science journal, “Findings from the Field” which he helped to establish.

David Meltzer

Associate Professor in Science and Mathematics, Arizona State University

David E. Meltzer received a doctorate in theoretical condensed matter physics from SUNY Stony Brook in 1985, and went on to complete six years of postdoctoral work at the University of Tennessee and the University of Florida. He then joined the faculty at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond and turned his focus to physics education research, moving to Iowa State University in 1998. From 1998 to 2005 he was the director of the Iowa State University Physics Education Research Group. He later taught at the University of Washington in Seattle and joined the faculty at Arizona State University in 2008. Meltzer has taught more than two dozen different university courses on physics, science, and science education, and also taught hundreds of middle-school science classes over a five-year period. He has more than 25 years of experience in physics education research and curriculum development, and has been principal investigator on 10 projects funded by the National Science Foundation. He has published more than 30 papers in refereed journals, edited seven books, and given more than 100 invited presentations in six countries. He has been a consultant to the American Physical Society and the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC), and was senior consultant to the National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics.

Casey Murphy

STEM Integrator and Director of Technology, All Saints Catholic School, Bangor, ME

Casey Murphy is a STEM Integrator and Director of Technology at All Saints Catholic School (preK-8) in Bangor, Maine. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Smith College, a Master of Divinity from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and a Master of Science in Teaching from the RiSE Center at the University of Maine. Casey enjoys coaching VEX robotics teams at All Saints, and has a marked investment in encouraging girls in technology and science. In her free time, Casey loves to hike, read, sing, and investigate questions that may or may not have answers.

Tiffany Neill

Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Oklahoma State Department of Education

Tiffany Neill served as the Director of Science and Engineering Education at the Oklahoma State Department of Education for five years before assuming her current role as the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. In her time as the Director of Science and Engineering Education she led several efforts to promote Science and STEM education including the revision of the state science standards, the development of a state strategic plan for STEM and the development of the Oklahoma STEM Framework. She is also the Past- President for the Council of State Science Supervisors, an organization comprised of state leaders for science education. Tiffany is the Co-Principle Investigator for the National Science Foundation Project, ACESSE, working directly with thirteen states to promote equity and coherence in state science education systems. In her role at the Oklahoma State Department of Education, she works to support districts and educators in aligning their curriculum and instruction to standards and supports thirteen curriculum directors in similar efforts with various disciplines. In addition to her work at the state and national level, Tiffany is also completing a Ph.D. in science curriculum and instruction at the University of Oklahoma.

Glenn Powers

Middle School Science Teacher, Center for Teaching and Learning, Edgecomb, ME

Glenn Powers has been teaching at the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb for fourteen years having worked previously in public schools in East Harlem and Queens in NYC. Glenn’s students always engage in the authentic work in the content areas, and have been published in local newspapers, won national writing contests, conduct real scientific research along side mentor scientists, and have participated in GMRI’s Vital Signs missions. Glenn was one of the teacher members of the editorial board of GMRI’s online peer reviewed student science journal, “Findings from the Field,” creating mini-lessons and training teachers to bring authentic scientific writing into their classrooms.

Jennifer Ross

Director of Pre-Calculus, University of Illinois at Chicago

Jenny Ross is the Director of Pre-Calculus at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she oversees all undergraduate math and statistics courses before Calculus. This involves curriculum development, and overseeing and training of Teaching Assistants, Learning Assistants, and Lecturers. She also runs the math department’s Summer College, assists with placement, and teaches a range of undergraduate courses. She served on several campus-wide Student Success Initiatives, and implemented multiple departmental changes.

Caroline Stabile

Assistant Director, GEMS-Net Project, University of Rhode Island

GEMS-Net is a Research-Practice Partnership that has been partnering with public school districts throughout the state to integrate literacy and STEM education in grades K-8 since 1995. Prior to her role with the GEMS-Net team, she was a 7th and 8th-grade science teacher in Rhode Island. Caroline is also a PhD candidate whose research focuses on learning more about how teachers understand the sensemaking practice of scientific modeling and how they are able to engage their students in this work. In addition, Caroline enjoys her work with elementary and middle school pre-service teachers as an instructor of Science and English Language Arts methods classes.

Marcy Towns

Professor of Chemistry and Director of General Chemistry, Purdue University, Indiana

Dr. Marcy H. Towns is a Professor of Chemistry and Director of General Chemistry at Purdue University. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement, a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2019. In 2019 she received the Nyholm Prize in Education from the Royal Society of Chemistry. She received the 2017 ACS Award for Achievement in Research for the Teaching and Learning of Chemistry and the 2017 James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry from the Northeast Section of the ACS. She has been recognized with Purdue University’s most prestigious honors for teaching. Her research has focused undergraduate chemistry laboratory including the development and implementation of digital badging to assess hands-on skills, argumentation practices, student understanding of mathematics in chemistry in thermodynamics and kinetics, and student understanding of the chemistry of climate science. Trained as a physical chemist, she developed a passion for research at the interface between mathematics and chemistry that continues to inspire her to this day. She is a member of IUPAC’s Committee on Chemistry Education and was an author on the IUPAC technical report that contributed to the landmark decision to redefine the mole. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Chemical Education, focusing on manuscripts pertaining to chemistry education research. Towns began her career as secondary math and chemistry teacher after graduating from Linfield College with a BA in chemistry and mathematics. She holds an M.S. and Ph. D. from Purdue University in Chemistry having carried out research in chemistry education (masters) and physical chemistry (doctorate).

Christine Voyer

Science Education Program Manager, Vital Signs, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, ME

Christine joined the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in January of 2011. As part of the GMRI’s education team, Christine supports teachers as they engage students in authentic science investigations through professional development, curriculum development, and through GMRI’s citizen science efforts. Christine is driven by a commitment to providing relevant and authentic experiences that inspire and empower learners to make a difference in the world. She has a background in science research and science teaching and has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management and Master of Arts in Teaching, both from Cornell University.

Franziska Peterson

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education and RiSE Center Faculty, University of Maine

Franziska Peterson is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Maine. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Secondary Education with double majors in mathematics and English in Germany. In 2016, she received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Mathematics Education) from the University of Wyoming.

Professor Peterson’s research centers on quantitative reasoning and mathematical literacy. Her dissertation concentrated on preservice elementary teachers (PSET) and their use of language when reasoning about box-and-whisker plots. In particular, she used function language analysis to analyze students’ use of language, which investigates the use of grammar as well as the semantics being conveyed. During her doctoral work she was part of a quantitative reasoning research team on an NSF funded grant focusing on learning progressions for environmental science. This STEM project led to the development of a quantitative reasoning learning progression for 6th through 12th grade. The research involved multiple iterations of qualitative research cycles as well as quantitative research analysis.

Currently, professor Peterson is investigating PSET’s understanding of statistical representations by engaging PSETs in a semester-long data collection, analysis, and interpretation project. Additionally, she is working on investigating the role of language in interdisciplinary contexts. Students sometimes display difficulties transferring mathematical concepts to their science classrooms or vice versa. The use of language and terminology can be an important factor in creating interdisciplinary bridges.

Kate Cook

STEM Education Specialist, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance

Kate Cook is a STEM Education Specialist at Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, where she supports formal and informal educators in effectively engaging learners in high quality STEM learning experiences. She is particularly passionate about supporting educators and educational leaders in developing the necessary skills and knowledge to engage students in three-dimensional science learning. Prior to joining MMSA in April 2019, Kate taught high school life sciences at a STEM school in Ohio and undergraduate and graduate education courses as an Assistant Professor at Thomas College. Kate has also been involved in a number of STEM initiatives and projects including NGSX, NextGenStorylines, and OpenSciEd. She has served as a consultant for a variety of organizations including the Teaching Channel and the Dayton Regional STEM School Training Center. Kate currently serves as a member on the board of the Maine Science Teachers Association (MSTA) and the Western Maine Play Museum. Kate earned a B.A. in Neuroscience and Music History/Theory from Oberlin College, an M.S.Ed. in Secondary Science Education from Northwestern University, and an Ed.D. in Organizational Studies (Learning Organizations) from Wright State University. In her free time, Kate likes to spend time with her family and dogs in the outdoors, particularly if it involves being on a mountain (hiking or skiing)!