B.S. Wofford College, 2011
Ph.D., MIami University, 2015
2015 Dissertation Scholar, Miami University Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
2013 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention
Dissertation Research: Measuring Students' Views of Cognitive and Affective Learning in the Chemistry Laboratory.
A review of the research on laboratory learning demonstrates the need to understand student perspectives in order to improve laboratory teaching and learning. Novak's Theory of Meaningful Learning states that the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains must be integrated for meaningful learning to occur. While the psychomotor domain is obviously integral to the teaching laboratory, the extent to which cognitive and affective processing are present is less certain. For meaningful learning to occur in the laboratory, students must actively integrate both the cognitive domain and the affective domains into the “doing” of their laboratory work. Our research questions include: What cognitive and affective experiences do students identify as meaningful to their learning in an undergraduate chemistry laboratory course? In what ways do these experiences change as students learn more chemistry? What are the implications for promoting meaningful learning and designing instruction in the undergraduate chemistry laboratory? The research used a mixed-methods design to collect both qualitative and quantitative data for three years from ~4500 students at multiple universities across general and organic chemistry laboratory courses. We have designed and pilot tested the Meaningful Learning in the Laboratory Instrument (MLLI) to quantify cognitive and affective experiences. Using a pre-post design, we are comparing students' expectations with their actual experiences. To explore how students identify and describe cognitive and affective experiences in the chemistry laboratory, 20 student volunteers were digitally recorded performing one of their regular laboratory experiments and subsequently interviewed as they watched and narrated episodes from their recording. Students were asked to describe their behaviors and comment upon specific experiences in their laboratory course. Manuscripts describing the development of the MLLI and manuscripts reporting the findings from a national study and findings from a longitudinal study have been published in the Journal of Chemical Education. Manuscripts reporting the cluster analysis results and the use of action cameras to capture video episodes in the undergraduate chemistry laboratory have been published in Chemistry Education Research and Practice. A manuscript reporting students’ perceptions of control and responsibility in the laboratory was published in the Journal of Chemical Education. An analysis of faculty goals in laboratory versus meaningful learning was published in an ACS Symposium Series.
Cognate Research: Paper Chromatography and UV-Vis Spectroscopy to Characterize Anthocyanins and Investigate Anti-oxidant Properties in the Organic Teaching Laboratory.
A variety of fruits and vegetables (including blueberries, concord grapes, blackberries, eggplant, and red cabbage) contain flavonoid compounds known as anthocyanins. This group of compounds is responsible for the red-blue color and the astringent taste associated with such foods. In addition, anthocyanins exhibit a wide range of chemical properties such as radical scavenging, metal chelating, pH-dependent color changes, and intramolecular stabilization. A series of experiments have been developed using the unique properties of these anthocynanins from multiple fruits in order to teach students the skills of compound extraction, isolation, TLC analysis, UV-VIS spectroscopy, and quantification of anti-oxidant
properties. A manuscript was published in the Journal of Chemical Education.