joined Bretz Group in September 2010
B.S. Howard University, 2002
M.S. Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007
Ph.D. University of Arizona, 2010
Development and Assessment of a Diagnostic Tool to Identify Organic Chemistry Students' Alternative Conceptions Related to Acid Strength
The central goal of this study was to create a new diagnostic tool to identify organic chemistry students' alternative conceptions related to acid strength. Twenty years of research on second and college students' conceptions about acids and bases has shown that these important concepts are difficult for students to apply to qualitative problem solving. Yet, few published studies document how students' prior knowledge of acids influences their understanding of acid strength in organic chemistry contexts. We developed a nine-item multiple-tier, multiple-choice concept inventory to identify alternative conceptions that organic chemistry students hold about acid strength, to determine the prevalence of these conceptions, and to determine how strongly these conceptions bias student reasoning. We identified two significant alternative conceptions that organic chemistry students hold about acid strength. Students who answered items incorrectly were more confident about their answers than peers who answered items correctly, suggesting that after one semester of organic chemistry, students do not know what they do now know. A manuscript was published in the International Journal of Science Education. A second manuscript was published in the Journal of Chemical Education.
Evaluation of an NSF Program to Recruit and Retain Underrepresented Students in Chemistry
In 2004, the National Science Foundation Scholarships for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) Program was created. S-STEM grants were award to institutions of high education that aim to increase the number of Americans in STEM fields by making higher education economically accessible for talented undergraduate or graduate stduents. Miami University Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry was awarded a grant in 2008 to recruit, retain, and graduate underrepresented students with chemistry and biochemistry degrees. In concert with institutional initiatives, the grant resulted in an increase in the number of chemistry and biochemistry majors at Miami who identified as racially, ethnically, and/or socioeconomically underrepresented, and in the retention of these students. The grant also facilitated the identification of academic support structures needing improvement. This report summarizes the outcomes based upon the findings of the evaluation through the 2011-2012 academic year.