- Research Associate
Michigan State University
Dr. Melanie Cooper
- Ph.D. (2016)
The Scripps Research Institute
- B.A. (2010)
I grew up in Jackson, Michigan, a town known mostly for being the meeting place of two major interstate highways. My undergraduate studies were conducted at Albion College, where I worked in the lab of Andrew French.
I earned my Ph.D. from the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) under the guidance of William Roush. While enrolled in graduate school, I was appointed a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the Board on Science Education at the National Academy of Sciences. In this role, I contributed to the preparation of background and research materials for consensus studies on teacher professional learning, indicators of success in STEM, and impacts of authentic laboratory experiences on undergraduate STEM achievement.
During my post-doctoral studies with Melanie Cooper at Michigan State University, I worked on several projects related to teaching and learning in chemistry. I led a team of teachers and researchers in designing, assessing, and refining curricular materials for a high school chemistry curriculum aligned with nationally deployed science standards. Additionally, I conducted several studies examining student use-of-knowledge in the context of organic chemistry coursework. In particular, I examined student engagement in argumentation from spectral evidence (a practice similar in many ways to diagnosis). Finally, I served as part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers focused on transforming introductory science courses at Michigan State University to better embody best-practices in teaching.
At UW-Madison, I will continue to leverage ideas encompassed under the heading of “3-dimensional learning” to design, assess, and refine learning environments. This work will be dedicated to the practical goal of improving student learning in enacted environments, and to refining the theoretical commitments upon which chemical education research could and should be based. I hope to assemble an interdisciplinary group of scholars interested in tackling complex problems related to chemistry education at all levels. If you would like to know more about any of the ideas presented in this brief overview, please send me a note!