In my research, I seek to contribute to an enhanced understanding of the psychological and cognitive aspects of learning. I aim to apply this knowledge to the design of equitable educational interventions in multiple settings, both in and out of school. The main project I am currently working on is the Inquiry Hub Project, a research-practice partnership between CU-Boulder and a large urban school district. Central to this work is the creation of a digital platform, which provides Algebra teachers with resources to help align their teaching to the Common Core as well as curricular supports for Biology teachers aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. I am also involved in the Synergies Project, a collaboration with Oregon State University looking at how students' interest in science evolves over time, and the Learning in the Food Movement Project, an investigation into how learning occurs within the context of a local social movement.
Teaching is one of my favorite activities. I have taught many subjects over the years, including a stint as a high school chemistry teacher and five years teaching 8th Grade Science and Rocketry at the largest middle school in Colorado, a school where I also served as department coordinator. So far in graduate school, I have had the pleasure of being a co-instructor for the Maymester course Educational Psychology for Secondary Schools where I developed inquiry-based science lessons utilizing theories in educational psychology and aimed at teaching undergraduates pedagogical skills and how to apply theory in practice.
Service & Outreach
As a scholar, I believe my work should serve the community. I see my work in graduate school as a continuation of my past activities of using education to bring about changes in the community and people's lives. Whether this was as a secondary school science teacher at a Title I school in Aurora, CO or as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer working with people living with HIV/AIDS in the Bay Area of CA, I have witnessed and firmly believe in the power of education to instigate positive change.
MA+ Curriculum & Instruction + Secondary Science Licensure, University of Colorado Boulder, 2007
BA Fine Arts - Studio Art, University of Colorado Boulder, 2003
BA Neuroscience, University of California-Santa Cruz, 2002
Awards & Honors
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in STEM Education (2014 - 15)
Miramontes Scholar Fellowship Recipient (2012 - 2016)
In my research, I seek to contribute to an enhanced understanding of the psychological and cognitive aspects of learning. I aim to apply this knowledge to the design of equitable educational interventions in multiple settings, both in and out of school.
Co-Instructor/Teaching Assistant, EDUC 4112/PSYC 4114, Educational Psychology for Secondary Schools (2013), CU-Boulder
Science Department Coordinator and 8th Grade Science Teacher, Prairie Middle School, Aurora, CO (2007-2012)
Chemistry Teacher, New Vista High School, Boulder, CO (2007)
Service & Outreach
Student Ambassador for the Educational Psychology & Learning Sciences Program (2014 - Present)
Representative for School of Education on the Institute of Cognitive Science Graduate Student Committee (2013 - Present)
Severance, S., Leary, H., & Johnson, R. (2014, June). Tensions in a Multi-Tiered Research Practice Partnership. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Boulder, Colorado.
Severance, S., Penuel, W.R., & Leary, H. (2014, April). Negotiation of Joint Work in a Research-Practice Partnership. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.