Perspectives from many fields enrich our insights and broaden the span of research methods we can deploy. Our group has included people with expertise in sociology, education, communications, psychology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, biology, natural resources, environmental studies, geography, philosophy, nursing, women's and gender studies, ethnic studies, history, and literature.
Anne-Barrie Hunter is co-director of and research associate 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 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 senior research associate and 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 visibility 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 CDs 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 became co-director in 2007.
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.
Tim Archie received a Master’s degree in Agriculture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a Ph.D. in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources from Colorado State University. His graduate research examined “sense of community” in relation to student outcomes in experiential natural resource higher education programs. At E&ER, he has studied out-of-school science for youth, faculty outreach work, and women's career paths in the Earth sciences. Archie has worked with E&ER since 2012 in a variety of roles. He served as Director of Student Affairs Assessment and Research at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and conducted research for IDEA Education. At E&ER, Tim currently works on evaluation and research studies to understand outcomes, processes and measurement of instructor professional development in college mathematics.
Melissa Arreola Peña is a first generation college graduate (class of 2015) from the University of Colorado Boulder. She earned a degree in Ethnic Studies with a Women and Gender Studies minor. Melissa is interested in expanding her research experience and knowledge to later pursue her research on underrepresented populations. She wants to help 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. With E&ER, Melissa has studied out-of-school-time science programs for youth, university outreach programs, and science teacher professional development. She also worked on a participatory action research project with CU Engage, examining the engagement of students of color in CU campus life. Melissa joined E&ER in 2012 and graduated from CU in 2015. She has worked as a parent organizer for Padres y Jóvenes Unidos and on family and community engagement for the Denver Public Schools.
Devan Daly graduated with honors from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2020. Her academic interests include plant biology, environmental journalism and law, and ecological restoration with an emphasis on reforestation practices. Devan grew up in Virginia and has spent the majority of her life on the east coast, attending the New School in NYC and working as an administrative assistant in Washington, DC, before making her way out to Colorado in 2016. When not out enjoying Boulder’s natural beauty, she enjoys spending time reading, doing crossword puzzles, and playing with her two cats, Basil and Professor. Devan joined E&ER in 2018 as student worker, and stayed on as a PRA after graduating in 2020. She studies professional development and instruction in college mathematics, working with workshop leaders and analyzing data from participant surveys and classroom observations. She also supports conference logistics, manages data sets, builds websites, and wrangles university red tape.
Zachary Haberler received his doctorate in Education, Society, and Culture from the University of California Riverside in 2013. Zachary has been a part of several large research projects focusing on both the higher education and K-12 educational levels, including studies focusing on the promising practices of California community colleges in addressing the achievement gap, the experiences of faculty of color in California community colleges, and the experiences of K-12 teachers with creating and implementing their own curriculum-oriented professional development. His research interests include the history of academic freedom and academic professionalization in the United States, the history of academic disciplines, the history of curriculum in higher education and public schooling, and professionalization and professionalism of faculty and K-12 teachers.
Zachary previously served as a lecturer at the University of California Riverside where he taught masters and credential-level courses for current and pre-service teachers that explored the impact of race, class, gender, and culture on school structures, cultures, and individual actors, particularly teachers and students. As Academic Coordinator for Teacher Professional Development Programs at UCR, he served as a liaison between the university and the Riverside County Office of Education related to induction programming for pre-service teachers. Haberler joined E&ER in 2014 and has worked on a study of educational reform in higher education and on evaluating professional development of teachers and researchers. He is currently an institutional research analyst at Colorado Mountain College.
Raquel Harper earned a Ph.D. in Public Communication and Technology from Colorado State University. She also has a B.S. in Physical Therapy from Western Washington University and an M.S. in Technical and Scientific Communication from Colorado State. She has expertise in mixed methods, science education and communication, and training in public health. She has published articles in science- and communication-related publications and is also co-author on the soon-to-be-released book, Talking About Leaving Revisited, about a national study on undergraduate student retention and attrition in STEM. Her current project examines diverse undergraduate students’ pathways to STEM degrees between two- and four-year institutions. Previously, Harper was an assistant professor of science and technical communication in New Zealand and worked in science and health communication roles for the Department of Energy, the National Cancer Institute, and the magazine Biophotonics International. Harper joined E&ER in 2018 and has been a research associate at CU Boulder since 2015, previously in the Center for STEM Learning.
Chuck Hayward joined E&ER in 2012. His work with E&ER has focused on faculty development in college mathematics through evaluating workshops, researching what makes professional development effective, and developing new tools to assess instructional change. He has infused technology throughout his projects by developing new methods for remote data collection, automating data coding procedures, and creating appealing data visualizations. Other projects with E&ER have included studying K-12 science teacher professional development and undergraduate research experience advising. Recently, Chuck has been using the techniques of social network analysis to understand instructional change and how it spreads in professional networks.
Chuck earned a Master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining E&ER, he worked as a psychology researcher and taught secondary mathematics in Philadelphia and Denver. He has also served as as Assistant Director of the Digital Learning Solution Network for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
Dana Holland Zahner holds a joint Ph.D. in education and sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. She has expertise in qualitative and ethnographic research, higher education, STEM education, and organizational change. Her research has been published in a number of academic journals and she is a contributor to Talking About Leaving Revisited. Current research interests include underrepresented students’ experiences in STEM programs, the influence of STEM departmental climate on student persistence, and students’ simultaneous pursuit of STEM and arts and humanities interests. Holland has recently served as a proposal reviewer for the NSF S-STEM program and for Science Education and Anthropology & Education Quarterly.
Previously, Holland was an assistant professor of social science at the American University of Afghanistan, where she led a group of undergraduate researchers in an investigation focusing on youth, high education, and social change and consulted with several research organizations and government ministries. She also previously worked on policy research projects for the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. She received an M.A. in applied anthropology from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. Dana joined CU Boulder in 2015.
Glenda Russell, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist whose work spans clinical practice, teaching, research and activism. Areas of special interest include diversity and inclusion, classism, organizational development and group dynamics, contextual influences in psychotherapy, and LGBT issues. Her book Voted Out: The Psychological Consequences of Anti-Gay Politics (2000) documents the psychological impact of anti-gay legislation on the gay community, illustrating the range of reactions that such legislation can engender—from depression, anger, and anxiety to a sense of empowerment and a desire to mobilize. Glenda joined E&ER in 2015; she is currently working with Carol Taylor on an LGBT history of Boulder. More about Glenda.
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. E&ER's 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.
Carol Taylor is currently Associate Director of the Boulder History Museum. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree in librarianship from the University of Denver and recently completed a certificate program at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Carol was librarian at the Daily Camera for nearly a decade where she nurtured her interest in local history while preserving and maintaining the 75-year collection of clippings, photographs and ephemera held in their archives. She has written a column on Boulder County history for the Daily Camera since 2008 and prior to that compiled a column, “From the Archives,” for the Daily Camera for six years. Carol’s local history interests include social justice history, women in Boulder County, University Hill, mid-century modern architects, and Boulder’s regional historical artists. Carol is working with Glenda Russell on an LGBT history of Boulder.
Tim Weston is a frequent collaborator with E&ER on survey design and validation, advanced quantitative methods, and data analysis. He is a research associate for CU Boulder’s Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS) where he specializes in program evaluation for educational technology interventions and new STEM curricula. Weston also designs and develops assessment instruments and surveys for evaluation and testing. In this capacity he has worked to develop and improve the Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) survey and website, the Undergraduate Research Student Self Assessment (URSSA), and ICARE reading assessment. He is an affiliated researcher with the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) at CU Boulder. Recent projects with E&ER have examined undergraduate STEM students' persistence and development of measurement tools for undergraduate mathematics instruction. Weston holds a Ph.D. in research and evaluation methods in education from the University of Colorado Boulder, and he has taught graduate statistics and research methods.