University of Colorado at Boulder


Senior Associates

Anne-Barrie Hunter, co-director

Anne-Barrie Hunter is co-director of and senior professional researcher with E&ER. Since 1991, she has collaborated with group members to conduct qualitative research and evaluations of STEM initiatives seeking to improve college science education. Beginning with her work on the research study by Seymour and Hewitt that produced Talking about Leaving: Why Undergraduates Leave the Sciences (1997), she has also played a major role in evaluations for ChemConnections, the College Board, Project Kaleidoscope, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory internship program.

Most recently, she served as lead researcher and analyst of a large, eight-year qualitative study to establish and explore the benefits and costs of undergraduate research (UR). Based on results from this study, she collaborated to develop URSSA (Undergraduate Research Student Self-Assessment), a research-grounded, web-based instrument for UR program evaluation.

Hunter has also cooperated on and conducted evaluations of several UR programs, including Louisiana State University’s LA-STEM Scholars program, Carleton College’s Off-Campus Marine Biology Seminar, the Society of Physics Students internship program, the University of Colorado’s Biological Sciences Initiative, and the SOARS program (UCAR, Boulder). Aside from publications on undergraduate research and its contributions to students’ education, she is also co-author (with Seymour) of Talking about Disability: The Education and Work Experiences of Graduates and Undergraduates with Disabilities, in Science, Mathematics and Engineering (1998), the first study of STEM students with disabilities. She has taught a senior-level undergraduate course in qualitative research methods in the Women and Gender Studies Department at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Current research interests include issues of women and underrepresented groups in STEM education and career pathways, faculty and graduate student professional development, and organizational change and development in higher education. Hunter has an M.A. in journalism and mass communication research.

Sandra Laursen, co-director

Sandra Laursen earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and maintains interests in both research and practice in science education. As co-director of Ethnography & Evaluation Research (E&ER), she leads research and evaluation studies focusing on education and career paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Particular research interests include the underrepresentation of women and people of color in the sciences, professional socialization and career development of scientists, teacher professional development, and organizational change in higher education. She is also interested in inquiry-based teaching and learning, and the challenges of improving STEM education in and out of the classroom and across organizations.

As a research associate at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), she collaborated with scientists and K-12 teachers to communicate science effectively to students and the public. She has developed inquiry-based teaching materials and led professional development workshops and courses for educators and scientists on a wide range of topics in Earth and physical science and inquiry-based teaching and learning.

Previously, Laursen taught chemistry at Kalamazoo College in Michigan and conducted atmospheric science research at the NOAA laboratories in Boulder. She has published chemistry curriculum manuals, journal articles in chemistry, education, gender studies, and the Journal of Irreproducible Results; co-directed a documentary film; and recorded a CD with Resonance Women’s Chorus. She is a faculty associate at CU's Center for the American West.  Laursen joined E&ER in 2000 and has been co-director since 2007.

Heather Thiry, researcher

Heather Thiry received her Ph.D. in Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice from the University of Colorado Boulder. She has conducted research and evaluation studies on the underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM disciplines, the professional socialization of graduate students, and pedagogical reform initiatives in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Her research interests include the social and cultural factors that enhance or hinder educational reform, scientific career paths and career decision-making, and the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the sciences. She has published journal articles on the professional development of education-engaged scientists and the overrepresentation of women scientists in teaching and outreach.

Thiry has taught educational foundations and policy courses for pre-service teachers. She has also run several programs at the K-12 and community college levels, providing case management and social services for low-income youth and first-generation college students. Thiry joined E&ER in 2003.

Current Associates

Tim Archie, professional research assistant

Tim Archie received a Master’s degree in Agriculture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is currently a Ph.D. student in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University. The focus of his graduate research has examined “sense of community” in relation to student outcomes in experiential based natural resource higher education programs. Archie joined E&ER in 2012.

Melissa Arreola-Peña, undergraduate research assistant

Melissa Arreola-Peña is a first generation undergraduate student (class of 2015) at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is planning to earn a degree in Ethnic Studies with a Political Science minor. Melissa is interested in expanding her research experience and knowledge to later pursue her research on underrepresented populations. She wants to do research on how to close the education gap in societies to be able to build a better and stronger America. She is very passionate about being able to give back to her community and learning how to increase underrepresented populations in higher education. Melissa joined E&ER in 2012.

Marja-Liisa Hassi, researcher

Marja-Liisa Hassi has a Master’s degree in mathematics and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Helsinki, Finland. She serves as an adjunct professor for the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Helsinki.

Hassi has conducted research seminars and taught courses in mathematics education, educational psychology and education research methods for undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests include mathematics learning and problem solving, affective factors and learning, motivational processes, and self-regulated learning. She has studied these topics both theoretically and empirically. Her current focus is on studying and evaluating inquiry-based learning in undergraduate mathematics. Additional research interests relate to adults’ skills in and learning of basic mathematics. She has collaborated internationally with education and mathematics education researchers, presented at international conferences, and published articles in conference proceedings and journals of mathematics education. She has also served as a referee for education and mathematics education journals, conference programs, and post-doctoral applicants. Hassi joined E&ER in 2007.

Chuck Hayward, professional research assistant

Chuck Hayward received a Master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and has taught secondary mathematics in Philadelphia and Denver. Chuck is currently researching faculty development for inquiry-based mathematics, as well as teacher development and undergraduate research in the biological sciences. He joined E&ER in 2012.

Marina Kogan, professional research assistant

Marina Kogan has a Master’s degree in sociology from the University of Illinois and undergraduate degrees in sociology and computer science.  Her current research and evaluation portfolio includes studies of student learning outcomes and faculty development for inquiry-based learning in undergraduate mathematics classes, and an examination of virtual and in-person networks for professional development and career support of early-career women scientists. She joined E&ER in 2010.

Heidi G. Loshbaugh, researcher

Heidi G. Loshbaugh graduated from the University of Denver with a Ph.D. in American Literature. She has worked in higher education in Colorado in various capacities, including as research, administrative, and teaching faculty. Her STEM-related research includes examining the experiences of undergraduate engineering students through the NSF-funded Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education at Colorado School of Mines (CSM), and the study of professionalization practices for science doctoral students through E&ER. Loshbaugh was the architect of a diversity initiative for CSM and she remains deeply interested in diversity and inclusion in higher education, both as research and professional undertakings. For the Journal of Engineering Education, she has written on career decision-making processes for graduates of engineering colleges and has a number of conference papers on experiences of undergraduate engineering students.

From 2006-2008, Loshbaugh served as the Director of the Academic Management Institute, an American Council on Education (ACE)-affiliated leadership development series for women in higher education in Colorado and Wyoming. In 2008, she became the Statewide Coordinator for the Colorado Network of Women Leaders, also ACE-affiliated. Loshbaugh is an active community member in Denver. She has served as the vice-president of the Hispanic Education Advisory Board for Denver Public Schools (DPS), communications chair and vice-president of Amigos de Sandoval, a fundraising board for a DPS dual-language Montessori school, and the vice-chair and chair of the Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, a City-Council appointed position. Loshbaugh joined E&ER in 2007.

Elaine Seymour, director emerita

Elaine Seymour was co-founder and, for seventeen years, director of Ethnography & Evaluation Research (E&ER). Her research and evaluation work has focused on issues of change in STEM education and careers (Seymour, 2001, 2006, 2007), including evaluation of initiatives seeking to improve quality, access, and diversity in these fields. In recognition of her work on women in science, Women in Engineering Program Advocates Network awarded her their 2002 Betty Vetter Award for Research. Her best-known work, co-authored with Nancy M. Hewitt, Talking about Leaving: Why Undergraduates Leave the Sciences, (1997), is widely cited for its contribution to the nationwide effort to improve undergraduate education in the sciences. In 2005, Seymour and E&ER members published Partners in Innovation: Teaching Assistants in College Science Courses,drawing on their science education studies. Seymour has written widely and testified before Congress on trends and needs in the reform of STEM education. Her work has pioneered and established the value of qualitative inquiry in understanding complex issues in this field.

In response to the learning assessment needs of classroom innovators, Seymour designed two online resources: the Field-Tested Learning Assessment Guide (FLAG),, and the widely-used Student Assessment of their Learning Gains (SALG) online instrument She has led E&ER’s comparative, longitudinal inquiry into the nature, benefits, and costs of summer research experiences for both students and faculty, and the processes whereby gains are achieved (Seymour et al., 2004; Hunter et al., 2007). A book that discusses the findings from this study was published by Jossey-Bass in 2010. In “retirement” she is helping to organize a national endeavor, “Mobilizing STEM Education for a Sustainable Future.” She is a sociologist and a British-American whose education and career have been conducted on both sides of the Atlantic.

Past Associates

Jean Buscherhof
Carolie Coates
Clint Coburn
Rebecca Crane
Tracee DeAntoni
Kristine De Welde
Richard Donohue
Carrie Liston
Robyn Marschke
Ginger Melton
Liane Pedersen-Gallegos
Bill Rocque
Elisabeth Sheff
Steve Smith

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