Professor and Program co-chair
Science Education

Valerie Otero is professor of science education. Dr. Otero’s research explores the dynamic nature of the learning environment and how it influences (and is influenced by) the evolution of students’ ideas. She also studies prospective and practicing teachers’ conceptions of students’ prior knowledge, and teachers’ conceptions of the use of students’ prior knowledge for teaching and learning. Her teaching interests are in the areas of elementary science methods, the nature of science, and physics for prospective elementary teachers.

Dr. Otero is a member of several professional organizations such as the American Association of Physics Teachers, National Science Teachers Association, National Association of Research on Science Teaching, and the American Educational Research Association.


PhD Physics Education, University of California, San Diego & San Diego State Universities, 2001
MS Geophysics, University of California, San Diego, 1995
BS Physics, University of New Mexico, 1991