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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Science Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

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Biosketches

 

Adam Gamoran (Chair) was named president of the William T. Grant Foundation in 2013. He came to the Foundation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he held the John D. MacArthur Chair in Sociology and Educational Policy Studies. His research career, which he developed over the course of three decades, focused on understanding educational inequality by attending to such challenging issues as academic tracking, racial segregation, school organization, and curriculum reform. His work has been recognized and published nationally and internationally, for example serving as lead author of Transforming Teaching in Math and Science: How Schools and Districts Can Support Change (Teachers College Press, 2003) and as co-editor of Stratification in Higher Education: A Comparative Study (Stanford University Press, 2007). He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was twice appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Board for Education Sciences.   Now in his second period of service to BOSE, he was appointed as chair in 2014. Previously, he chaired the Independent Advisory Panel of the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education for the U.S. Department of Education.   In his new role as president of the William T. Grant Foundation, he has prioritized supporting research to deepen our understanding of the programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequality in youth outcomes, and to understand and improve the use of research evidence in decisions that affect youth.  

Megan Bang is a Professor of the Learning Sciences and Psychology at Northwestern University and is currently serving as the Senior Vice President at the Spencer Foundation. Dr. Bang’s research focuses on understanding culture, learning, and development broadly with a specific focus on the complexities of navigating multiple meaning systems in creating and implementing more effective and equitable learning environments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Dr. Bang is especially focused on science education that is responsive to and prepares citizens for 21st century socio-ecological demands. Megan approaches her work through rigorous mixed methods – utilizing experimental design in her foundational cognition and development studies, to community based participatory design work in which she co-designs learning and teaching with communities, families, and youth as well as engages in the collaborative study of such environments. She conducts research in both schools and informal settings. She has taught in and conducted research in teacher education as well as leadership preparation programs. Dr. Bang has won several awards including the AERA early career award in Indigenous Education as well as the Division K early career award in Teaching and Teacher Education. She has published in leading outlets such as Cognition & Instruction, Science Education, and Educational Psychologist. She is currently serving on the editorial boards of several top journals.

Vicki L. Chandler (NAS) is dean of faculty at Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute, a new undergraduate liberal arts college. Prior to joining Minerva she was chief program officer of science, at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. While at the Moore Foundation she and her team launched a number of new programs, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute- Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Plant Biology Investigator Program. Dr. Chandler’s research on paramutation, a transfer of gene expression patterns from one generation to another, revealed it was epigenetic and mediated by RNA-directed changes to chromatin. Dr. Chandler has been president of the Genetics Society of America and the American Society of Plant Biologists. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002 and was appointment by President Barack Obama to the National Science Board in 2014. Other honors include the Presidential Young Investigator Award, Searle Scholar Award, American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, election to the American Philosophical Society and receiving the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. She has served or currently serves on advisory boards and panels for the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Paul G Allen Foundation, and SoAR Foundation. Dr. Chandler has chaired numerous conferences and served on the editorial boards of several journals. She studied biochemistry for her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco, with Dr. Randy Schekman and Dr. Keith Yamamoto, respectively. She then pursued postdoctoral research at Stanford University in maize genetics with Dr. Virginia Walbot and was on the faculty at the University of Oregon and the University of Arizona.

Sunita V. Cooke is the superintendent/president of the MiraCosta Community College District. She has been a community college educator and administrator since 1993, and a president since 2007. A recognized community college leader, Dr. Cooke came to MiraCosta from Grossmont College, located in El Cajon, California, where she served as president from 2007 to 2014. Dr. Cooke is a collaborative and innovative leader with a strong dedication to the promotion of community colleges and workforce development. Since 2012, she represented all of the San Diego and Imperial Counties community colleges on the Workforce Investment Board and is now the liaison with the State Chancellor's Office regarding economic and workforce development efforts at the regional and state level. She is the chair of the statewide "Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy" campaign, a community college and industry collaboration that aims to close the skills gap. She is a board member of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego Economic Development Corporation, Biocom, and the San Diego Workforce Investment Board. Dr. Cooke received her bachelor's degree in biology and a teaching certificate from American University in Washington, D.C. After being awarded a doctorate in biology at Georgetown University, she completed a postdoctoral training program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, in the molecular aspects of cell adhesion and metastasis. She then became a founding faculty member of Lone Star-Montgomery College in north Houston. She has taught full and part time for more than 13 years and continues to teach each summer in the San Diego State University Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership.
 
Rush D. Holt is the chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and executive publisher of the Science family of journals in February 2015. In this role, Holt leads the world's largest multi-disciplinary scientific and engineering society. Before joining AAAS, Holt served for 16 years as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New Jersey's 12th Congressional District. In Congress, Holt served as a senior member of the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. From 1987 to 1998, Holt was assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), a Department of Energy national lab, which is the largest research facility of Princeton University and one of the largest alternative energy research facilities in the country. At PPPL, Holt helped establish the lab's nationally renowned science education program. From 1980 to 1988, Holt served on the faculty of Swarthmore College, where he taught courses in physics and public policy. Holt is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and he holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from New York University.
 
Matt Krehbiel is the Science Director at Achieve and coordinates their work to use implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as a lever to improve science education for all students. He previously served as the state science supervisor in the Kansas State Department of Education, leading Kansas’ participation as a lead state in developing the NGSS. Mr. Krehbiel also served on the Board and later as President of the Council of State Science Supervisors, an organization that serves to coordinate and support efforts of the state science supervisors of all states. He is a member of the Board on Science Education for the National Research Council and, in that role, was on the committee that wrote the Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards. Mr. Krehbiel began his career in science education as a high school science teacher in Kansas, where he taught a wide range of high school science courses over ten years. He earned his B.A. in biology and natural sciences and his secondary teacher certification in general science, biology, and physics from Bethel College. He earned his M.S. in curriculum and instruction with a focus in science education from Kansas State University.
 
Cathryn A. Manduca has nearly two decades of experience leading national programs to improve geoscience education and undergraduate STEM education. She is the Director of the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College and the Executive Director of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. This work supports communities of educators in learning together and collaborating to create resources supporting widespread improvement. The 30,000+ pages comprising the SERC websites are visited by more than 5 million visitors per year. Dr. Manduca’s research focuses on understanding faculty learning and the impact of professional networks on educational practice. She serves on the Board on Science Education and the LabX Advisory Board for the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, and has served on the elected leadership for the American Geophysical Union and AAAS Education Section in the past. She is a fellow of the AAAS and Geological Society of America, and past recipient of the American Geophysical Union award for Excellence in Earth and Space Education. She received her B.A. in Geology from Williams College and her Ph.D. in Geology from the California Institute of Technology.
 
John C. Mather (NAS) is a senior astrophysicist at the U.S. space agency's (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and adjunct professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Mather won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite (COBE) with George Smoot. COBE was the first experiment to precisely measure the black body form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation, helping to cement the Big Bang theory of the universe. In 2007, Dr. Mather was listed among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World. Dr. Mather is also the senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, a space telescope to be launched to the Sun-Earth Lagrange point L2 in 2014. He was a member of the NRC Board on Physics and Astronomy; he served on the Committee on Physics of the Universe. He earned his B.A. in Physics from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tonya M. Matthews is the Director of STEM* Learning Innovation and Associate Provost for Inclusive Workforce Development for Wayne State University. Her role includes leadership of WSU’s new STEM Innovation Learning Center (SILC) opening in Fall 2020 and the challenge of conceiving a fully interdisciplinary STEM driven learning and teaching space for the WSU’s academic community – that also supports K-12 pipeline experiences for greater Detroit. Dr. Matthews is the founder of The STEMinista Project, the data-driven initiative supporting middle schools girls in exploring tools and careers in STEM. The initiative uses collective impact program design, engages a global role model database, and works with partners to open access to 1000+ hours of STEM experiences for participants every year. Previously, Dr. Matthews was President and CEO of the Michigan Science Center and has led its climb to becoming the STEM Hub for greater Detroit and the state of Michigan. Under her leadership, the center was positioned as the hub of STEM education garnering status and recognition by hosting critical convenings such as the release of Nation’s Report Card on Technology and Engineering Literacy, the roll out of the Governor’s Marshall Plan for Talent, and the kick-off for Kresge-Kellogg Foundation Detroit early childhood initiative. Furthermore, Dr. Matthews and her team developed the first comprehensive STEM enrichment partnership with Detroit Public Community Schools encompassing all students across entire grade levels, and laid the groundwork for expanding the program to surrounding districts. Prior to her work in Detroit, Dr. Matthews served as the vice president of museums for Cincinnati Museum Center, directing the education, research and community engagement footprints of a multi-site museum and research institution. During her time in Cincinnati, she was instrumental in positioning the museum as a thought leader in STEM education and engagement. She created the Museum Center’s signature program in early childhood educator training in science that annually trains more than 150 teachers throughout the region with measurable classroom impact. Dr. Matthews began her career in informal, community-based science education and community engaged science advocacy at the Maryland Science Center as manager of BodyLink, an innovative, multimedia education center focused on biotechnology. While at the Maryland Science Center, she created an outreach lab program for city high school students through formation of an institutional partnership between the science center, the National Institutes of Health, the University of Maryland and the Baltimore City Health Department. Dr. Matthews received her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her B.S.E. in biomedical and electrical engineering from Duke University. She is the recipient of a Whitaker Foundation Award for Engineering Excellence and an alumni member of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society for Women Engineers. She is currently Vice-Chair for the National Assessment Governing Board, the body that guides the Nation’s Report Card on student progress. Matthews is the principal and founder of SRCA, LLC., an equity and inclusion infrastructure and transformation consulting group, specializing in STEM workforce development, corporate diversity, and diverse education pipeline supports and expansion.

Stephen Pruitt is president of the Southern Regional Education Board and former commissioner of education in Kentucky. In addition, he served as an Senior Vice President of Science at Achieve, Inc from 2010 to 2015. During this time he led the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, Achieve's international benchmarking and analysis work, and other content-driven research and development as well as state technical assistance. Dr. Pruitt began his career as a high school Chemistry teacher in Georgia, where he taught for 12 years. In 2003, he joined the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) as the Program Manager for Science, served in that role for four years before becoming Director of Academic Standards, in 2008 he became the Associate Superintendent of Assessment and Accountability and in April 2009 became Chief of Staff to State School Superintendent, coordinating the work of the agency and a variety of projects such as Georgia's third-ranked Race to the Top application. Dr. Pruitt held a number of positions including Chief of Staff to the Commissioner of Education at Georgia Department of Education. Dr. Pruitt earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from North Georgia College and State University, a master’s in science education from the University of West Georgia, and a doctorate of philosophy in chemistry education from Auburn University.
 
K. Renae Pullen has been an educator in Caddo Parish Public Schools for over 17 years. Currently, she is the K-6 Science Curriculum Instructional Specialist for Caddo Parish. She previously taught both third and fourth grades at Herndon Magnet and Riverside Elementary in Shreveport, and she has been an adjunct professor for Louisiana Technical University (teacher leadership) and LSU-Shreveport (elementary science methods). Ms. Pullen has received numerous awards and honors including Walmart Local Teacher of the Year, Caddo Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year, a Fund for Teachers fellowship to study in Spain, a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to study the American skyscraper in Chicago, IL, numerous grants to support STEM instruction, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching in 2008. Ms. Pullen is dedicated to professional service. She has served on several local, state, and national committees and presented at numerous district, state, and national workshops and conferences. In 2011, she participated in the White House Champions of Change Event: Women & Girls in STEM. Ms. Pullen has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Northwestern State University, a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Louisiana State University in Shreveport, and she is certified as a Teacher Leader by the State of Louisiana.
 
K. Ann Renninger is the Dorwin P. Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action, and professor of educational studies at Swarthmore College. Her research interests include: (a) the role of interest in learning and development; (b) the relation between interest and other motivational variables; (c) change in the cognitive and affective functioning of learners; and (d) links between theory, research and practice as these pertain to changed understanding. Her research program focuses on the role of interest in learning and conditions that support the development and deepening of learner interest. Her studies are typically undertaken in collaboration with practitioners, and have been conducted with participants who range in age (preschoolers through teachers involved in professional development), across a variety of contexts both in and out-of-school. She co-edited the American Educational Research Association volume, Interest in Mathematics and Science Learning (AERA, 2015), and The Cambridge Handbook of Motivation and Learning (2019). She also is co-author of The Power of Interest for Motivation and Engagement (Routledge, 2016). She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. (Human Development) from Bryn Mawr College.
 
Marshall ‘Mike’ Smith is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He is a former senior counselor to Secretary Arne Duncan and director of international affairs at the U.S. Department of Education (DoEd). He was under-secretary and acting deputy secretary in the DoEd during the Clinton administration. Recently he was a visiting scholar with the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Smith previously served as a director of education programs at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. While at the Hewlett Foundation he funded projects focusing on education technology, California state education policy reform, and college readiness. He is also a former dean of the School of Education at Stanford University. Dr. Smith served as a member of the advisory committee for the NRC Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; advisory board of the NRC’s Center for Education; and the committee on improving learning with information technology. Dr. Smith earned an A.B. in psychology from Harvard College and an Ed.M. and Ed.D. in measurement and statistics from Harvard Graduate School of Education.
 
 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 of Science, a fellow of the American Chemical Society, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Her research has focused on undergraduate chemistry laboratory skills including the development and implementation of digital badging to assess hands-on skills, argumentation practices, visualization, and student understanding of the chemistry of climate science. Trained as a physical chemist, her interest in student understanding of mathematics in chemistry has led her to carry out research on student understanding of kinetics and thermodynamics. She developed a passion for research at the interface between mathematics and chemistry that continues to inspire her research. She has received awards for outstanding research and teaching from the American Chemistry Society in addition to numerous teaching awards from Purdue University. Dr. Towns began her career as a high school math and chemistry teacher after graduating from Linfield College with a B.A. in chemistry and mathematics. She holds an M.S. in chemistry and Ph. D. in physical chemistry from Purdue University.

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