Research Interests and More About Me

I am a PhD Candidate at Penn State University in the Science Education department, working on the Science 20/20 Project under Dr. Carla Zembal-Saul.  

Research Interests:
I am interested in looking at how white, monolingual teachers’ engagement with new immigrant, emergent bilingual (EB) families impact how they perceive and teach students from these backgrounds. Specifically, I want to look at how teachers’ micromessages, language, and teaching practices with nondominant students change over time as students engage in science and are positioned as knowers, and as teachers develop relationships with these students’ families through ongoing family engagement in science. I am interested in better understanding the nuances between engagement that changes versus reinforces negative stereotypes and deficit perspectives around new immigrant populations. 

About Me:

My interests in science education began during my junior year as an English Literature major at Northeastern University. After falling in love with geology through a field experience in Iceland, I subsequently minored in environmental science and went on to earn a master's degree in science education from the University of Texas at Austin. I went on to teach 6th-8th grade science at O.Henry Middle School in Austin, Texas for 6 years. I subsequently taught 9th grade Earth Science at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School (BPCS) in Brooklyn, New York for two years. Following the birth of my daughter, I became a STEM coach at BPCS for a year, and then moved to State College, Pennsylvania, where I worked as an educational equity consultant for the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) as a consultant and curriculum projects manager and continued coaching science teachers. I now live in State College with my husband, daughter, and son.

Picture of Michelle with daughter