NOTE: This page is archived. It is no longer being maintained or updated and information may not be accurate or complete.

Stephanie Chasteen :: (303) 775-3277 :: » Papers Stephanie Chasteen focuses on STEM educational reform, with a focus on faculty adoption of evidence-based teaching practices and institutional change. She is the associate director of the Science Education Initiative and is a current research associate with the Center for STEM Learning. She is the PI of the TRESTLE project which aims to broaden the use of research-tested teaching practices at the University of Colorado.  In her consulting work, she provides evaluation for national educational projects including the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and many universities around the country.  


Joel Corbo :: (303) 492-8759 :: Joel is a post-doctoral researcher working on institutional change projects with the CU-Boulder Center for STEM Learning. He is interested in both understanding and implementing processes within STEM departments that can sustainable shift their cultures towards being more student- and learning-focused. He received his Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley, where he conducted theoretical and computational studies of ultracold atomic gases. He also helped to found and lead the Berkeley Compass Project (, a diverse, collaborative student community formed to improve undergraduate physics education and increase retention of students, especially those typically underrepresented in the physical sciences.


Melissa Dancy :: (303) 735-0458 ::



Mike Dubson :: (303) 492-4938 :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Mike is a senior permanent instructor dedicated to the improvement of physics education at CU. He has studied student conceptual mastery in the upper division sequence (mechanics, E/M and quantum), is a master of the personal response ("clicker") system and its productive use. He is also a Flash programmer for PhET.


Dimitri Dounas-FrazerDimitri Dounas-Frazer :: Dimitri Dounas-Frazer studies three aspects of physics laboratory coursework: (i) students’ use of model-based reasoning while working on experimental physics tasks, (ii) instructors’ beliefs and practices regarding teaching and learning laboratory skills, and (iii) classroom factors that support students in feeling ownership of their final projects. His research interests also include students' development of non-cognitive skills, like resilience to failure, through self-reflection and personalized feedback. In addition, Dr. Dounas-Frazer is an active member of local and national physics diversity initiatives in the United States. He earned his Ph.D. in 2012 from the University of California Berkeley, where he performed high-precision measurements of weak nuclear effects in atomic systems.


Noah Finkelstein :: (303) 735-6082 :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Noah is a professor of PER in the department and creates and studies conditions which promote students' interest and ability in physics, education and the intersection of these domains.  He is deeply committed to blending research, teaching, and community partnership. He is involved in studies of student learning in informal and undergraduate environments, technologies in learning, identity, and institutional change.  On the programmatic side he is involved in PISEC (informal education), SITAR (institutional change), the Center for STEM learning, and national work with the Am. Phys. Society, AAAS, AAU, APLU, the Higher Learning Commission, and the Network or STEM Education Centers.


Julian Gifford :: Julian is a graduate student in the physics department.  He received his BS in BioPhysics from the University of Washington – Seattle in May 2015, where he worked with P.E.G. on tutorial development and studied student understanding of the electric properties of conductors and potential difference.  Julian has a passion for teaching, and spent a year at Punahou School teaching AP Physics before beginning his graduate work at CU.  He is currently working on projects in Mathematical Sense Making and Dynamic Student Ontologies in the context of Quantum Mechanics.  Julian is also interested in the ways physics is used and discussed outside of the physics community, and particularly in increasing the accessibility and utility of physics to students who do not follow traditional STEM trajectories.


Jessica HoehnJessica Hoehn :: Jessica is a graduate student in the Physics Department at University of Colorado Boulder, and is currently studying student reasoning in Modern Physics courses. Specifically, her research focuses on the dynamics of students' ontological conceptions of quantum phenomena. Jessica grew up in Denver, and received her BS in Physics from University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Simone Hyater-Adams :: Simone is a physics student from Pennsauken New Jersey. She recently earned her BS in Physics from Hampton University on May 11, 2014, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and with Departmental Honors. Her interests in research have blossomed over the years, starting in her freshmen year at HU when she began the STEM Bridge Program with the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. She has been involved with many NASA programs including the Un-Conference for the STS-135 Launch in the summer of 2011. During the summer of 2012, she also interned at NASA Langley as a part of the Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars (LARSS) program, where she worked with Russell DeYoung on LIDAR research and developed a new interest in science education. In the summer of 2013, she went back to Langley to work with Dr. Margaret Pippin in the Long-term Engagement in Authentic Research with the NASA (LEARN) program for a year. Simone completed her Undergraduate capstone thesis research in laser spectroscopy with Dr. Uwe Hommerich at Hampton. She is continuing her education in the ATLAS Ph.D program at the University of Colorado Boulder to study Physics Education Research. She currently works for an outreach program through the JILA PFC on CU's campus doing research that focuses on the connections between the development of physics identity and racial identity for students of color.
Ed Johnsen :: Ed holds a BS in Physics from Colorado State which led to his work as a professional math and physics tutor before he accepted a position editing and developing math and physics content for charter schools. Ed’s current passion is Education Technology implementation and development with a focus on a Complete Education Framework intended to unite education research, policy, and practice.


Allie Lau :: Allie is a first year graduate student in the Department of Physics.  She recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Physics. She completed the first senior thesis in physics education research at her college, studying student ability to relate vector representations of a physical situation to alternate representations of that same situation. Currently, she is busy learning what everyone in the group is working on, and hopes to get involved in a specific project soon.


Heather Lewandowski :: » Papers Heather is an associate professor of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics and PER in the department and a JILA Fellow. Her research interests include interactions of cold molecules and using a research-based approach to transforming physics lab courses particularly at the advanced undergraduate level (NSF TUES).
Emily B. Moore :: » Papers Emily is Coordinator of Research for the PhET Interactive Simulations project. She leads research on the design and use of interactive chemistry simulations in classroom contexts from middle school to college. Her interests include the implementation of guided-inquiry activities with interactive simulations, and the ways simulation design features affect how students interact with, experience, and learn from interactive simulations. Before joining the PhET project, Emily studied the crystallization of supercooled water in the Henry Eyring Center for Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Utah.
Valerie Otero :: (303) 492-7403 :: » Papers Valerie is an associate professor of science education in the School of Education. The focus of her research is content-specific K-16 teacher preparation which is guided by the belief that teacher preparation begins in the College of Arts and Sciences. Supporting content-based faculty in teacher preparation and course transformation is the overarching goal of her work and K12 teacher recruitment, preparation, and induction is a valuable component of this research. She is involved in the Colorado STEM-TP project, the CU PET project and the Colorado PhysTEC project.
Ariel Paul :: Ariel is the Director of Development for PhET Interactive Simulations, overseeing design and software development for the project. During his graduate work at JILA, he studied enhancement of EUV light produced via high harmonic generation and its applications to coherent lensless diffractive imaging. Before joining the PhET program, he spent three years completing an apprenticeship as an Instrument Maker for the JILA Instrument Shop.


Kathy Perkins :: (303) 492-6714 :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Kathy is Director of the PhET Interactive Simulations Project and Director of CU’s Science Education Initiative. She is also an Associate Professor Attendant Rank in Physics, specializing in PER. Her work in science education research has focused on: pedagogically-effective design and use of interactive simulations; sustainable course reform; students' beliefs about science; and institutional change. Before arriving at CU, she was trained as an experimental physicist and atmospheric scientist at Harvard University, and transitioned to physics education research in January 2003 as a post-doctoral researcher with Carl Wieman.
Ben Pollard Ben Pollard :: Ben is a post-doctoral researcher in the PER group. He studies various aspects of teaching and learning in upper-division laboratory courses. He earned his Ph.D. in 2017 from the University of Colorado Boulder in the field of nano-optics, using near-field infrared imaging and spectroscopy to study heterogeneous soft matter materials. Ben has also been involved in community building and organization aiming to promote diversity and inclusion in STEM.


Steven Pollock :: (303) 492-2495 :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Steve, a professor in PER, has been described by his students as a human electron. He has implemented "Tutorials in Introductory Physics" at CU, supporting and investigating TA and Learning Assistants' pedagogical development (NSF LATEST). He is actively involved in studying student learning in large and small scale classes (NSF CCLI), including the constraints and opportunities of replicating "proven" curricular practices, and extending educational models to the upper division.
Carl Wieman :: (303) 492-6963 :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Carl is a Distinguished Professor of Physics and is the Founder and Chairman of the PhET (Physics Education Technology Project). He also directs the Science Education Initiatives at University of Colorado (SEI) and at University of British Columbia (CWSEI) that are devoted to widespread transformation of science education. In addition to his distinguished career in atomic physics (Nobel Prize in 2001), Wieman has been active in science education and its improvement at many levels. His work has been recognized with the NSF Distinguished Teacher Scholar award, the Carnegie/CASE 2004 Professor of the Year award, and election to the National Academy of Education in 2008. He is Chair of the NAS/NRC Board on Science Education and has worked on a variety of programs at CU that have successfully transformed physics courses and faculty teaching practices.
Bethany Wilcox :: (303) 492-8759 :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Bethany is a post-doc in the physics department. Her current research includes the validation and anlaysis of an epistemological assessment for physics labs.  Her graduate research included understanding student difficulties in upper-division physics courses with particular emphasis on the use of sophisticated mathematical tools in complex problem solving. She adapted a free-response conceptual assessment for the upper-division into a multiple-choice format in order to to increase the utility of the instrument as a large-scale assessment tool.


Affiliates/Alumni and Visitors of the Physics Education Research Group at CU

Wendy Adams :: (303) 735-0627 :: » Papers » Talks/Posters » Dissertation Wendy was the Co-Director of PhET (Physics Education Technology Project) and the Director of Research for the CU Science Education Initiative (SEI). Previously a faculty member at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research interests included assessment instrument development – she led the development of the widely-used Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) and developed the Colorado Assessment of Problem Solving. She had also done extensive research on simulation design. Her underlying motivation was to better understand how students engage in problem solving and learning. What are the specific cognitive processes used when engaged in learning and understanding?


Charles Baily :: » Papers » Dissertation Charlie was a post-doctoral researcher involved with the ongoing transformation of upper-division Electricity & Magnetism courses taught at the University of Colorado. His graduate studies at CU focused on the changes in students' epistemic and ontological perspectives as they make the transition from learning classical physics to learning quantum physics; and the impact on student thinking of varying instructional approaches with respect to interpretive themes in modern physics courses. He is also interested in the historical development of quantum mechanics, and its various physical interpretations.


Jack Barbera :: Jack worked as a graduate student with Carl Wieman on Chemical Education. He modified the CLASS survey to address some chemistry specific areas and developed interactive lecture tutorials for undergraduate physical chemistry. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Northern Colorado. When not working Jack likes to ride his motorcycle FAST.


Marcos "Danny" Caballero :: Danny was a post-doctoral researcher involved in the transformation of sophomore and junior level Classical Mechanics courses taught at the University of Colorado. He completed his PhD work in the Physics Education Research group at Georgia Institute of Technology. His research interests include understanding student difficulties in complex problem solving, developing students' computational modeling skills and the epistemological underpinnings of skill acquisition. He is now an Assistant Professor of Physics at Michigan State University. His website is


 Yuen-ying Carpenter :: Yuen-ying was a post-doctoral researcher with the PhET Interactive Simulations project, and spent her time designing interactive chemistry simulations and researching their use in the college classroom. She is interested in how students use simulations to communicate and refine their ideas and practices in both chemistry and applied energy sciences, as well as how faculty (or TA) facilitation and activity design influence student simulation use. Before joining the PhET team, she studied the synthesis of cationic polyphosphorus compounds at Dalhousie University.


Turhan Carrol :: Turhan participated as a research member of the PER@C during Summer 2006 through CU's REU program. Turhan's projects included studying the effects of running Tutorials in a summer session course and developing and running a summer camp for middle school students participating in the I Have a Dream Foundation programs.


Julia Chamberlain:: Julia was a postdoc with the PhET project, researching and designing simulations for college and high school chemistry. Her research interests included using interactive simulations to address student difficulties in general chemistry, as well as implementation of inquiry learning with simulations in classroom settings. Before joining the PhET Team, Julia studied solid state inorganic chemistry at Northwestern University, synthesizing new materials for lithium ion batteries in medical devices.


Michael Fuchs :: Michael Fuchs served as Teacher in Residence in the Physics Department for the 2005-2006 academic year as part of the Colorado PhysTEC program. He teaches physics at Boulder High School and continues collaborations with the PER@C group.


Steven Goldhaber Steve was a senior teaching fellow (STF) funded through the Science Education Initiative. Steve brought a diverse background (high energy particle theory, high performance computing, teaching high school physics) to the PER group where he worked to help improve student learning in upper-division quantum mechanics.


Kara Gray :: Kara was currently a graduate student in the School of Education after receiving her Masters degree in physics from Kansas State University.


Danielle Harlow :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Danielle completed her PhD in Science Education at CU-Boulder in 2007. Her dissertation work focused on how elementary teachers used what they learned about physics and inquiry when teaching science to K-5 students after completing a professional development course based on the Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum. She is currently an assistant professor of science education at the University of California at Santa Barbara.


Karina Hensberry :: Karina was a post-doctoral researcher with the PhET project. Her research focused on equity and culture in mathematics teaching and learning. In particular, she investigated best practices for supporting marginalized student to learn mathematics through the use of research-based interactive computer simulations, as well as the types and supports teachers need to effectively integrate simulations into their instruction. 



Katie Hinko :: (303) 492-0869 :: Katie is a post-doctoral researcher studying the impacts of educational community partnerships on both K-12 students and the university scientists that participate in such programs. She is the JILA Director of Outreach and heads the PISEC after-school program. Her PhD work at the University of Texas at Austin was in biophysics.



Chris Keller :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Chris received an MS in Physics in 2006, writing a thesis on the use of PhET computer simulations in various introductory university environments. After completing his graduate work, he worked jointly with the PER group and i>clicker studying the use (and misuse) of clickers at CU to determine how clickers can be more effectively used in lecture environments. Chris is currently a curriculum developer for SEPUP (Science Education for Public Understanding Program) at the Lawrence Hall of Science and UC Berkeley.


Pat Kohl :: » Papers » Talks/Posters » Dissertation Pat graduated with a PhD in 2008 following his studies on student assessment and integration of different representations of physics content. He is currently a lecturer in the physics department at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.


Lauren Kost-Smith :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Lauren received her PhD in physics in 2011. Her graduate work focused on modeling gender differences in the introductory, calculus-based physics courses at CU. She is currently teaching physics at William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois.


Ron LeMaster :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Ron was a senior software design engineer for the PhET program and was responsible for many of the cool computer simulations you see at the PhET site.



Christine Lindstrøm :: Christine Lindstrøm is currently a postdoctoral researcher and Fulbright visiting scholar at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her current research project, led by Heather Lewandowski in collaboration with Saalih Allie at the University of Cape Town, focuses on developing a graduate introductory research course for Black African students from Historically Black Universities in South Africa who are working towards research degrees in astrophysics. Christine is an Associate Professor of Science in the Faculty of Teacher Education at Oslo and Akershus University College (HiOA) in Oslo, Norway, where she taught physics and science education to pre-service science teachers 2012–2015. Her research in Norway has focused on improving the science teacher education program at HiOA, the largest teacher education institution in Norway. Christine undertook her tertiary studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science (Honours), Master of Education and PhD in Physics. Her PhD project was in Physics Education Research, where she focused on improving the first year physics course by developing and implementing ‘Link Maps’, as well as synthesising an understanding of physics student learning by integrating a variety of theoretical backgrounds, from neuroscience via cognitive psychology to educational theories. Christine also holds a position as Adjunct Associate Professor of University Pedagogy at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where she teaches short courses on university teaching to PhD students and researchers

Laurel Mayhew :: Laurel was a post doc working with Noah Finkelstein on the impacts of educational community partnerships on scientific expert and non expert participants. She was also the JILA Director of Outreach.


Sam McKagan :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Sam was a postdoc at CU from 2005 to 2008, working on student understanding of quantum mechanics. Her projects at CU included designing simulations for the PhET project, writing a conceptual survey of Quantum Mechanics, and course reform and curriculum development in modern physics. She is now the editor of the PER User's Guide, a project to help increase awareness of physics education research among physics educators.


Archie Paulson Archie was a postdoc from 2007 - 2009 working on the research base of the PhET project and on the development of new simulations (sims). Following his Physics PhD from CU-Boulder and a Geophysics postdoc at UC-Berkeley, he began working in Physics Education Research in September, 2007. He is interested in (among other things) the creation of Physics tutorials to best exploit the innovative features of the PhET sims, what features of the sims prompt learning, and the design of new sims.


Rachel Pepper :: Rachel was a science teaching fellow (STF) funded through the Science Education Initiative, working to understand student difficulties in junior-level E&M and developing and validating transformed course materials for this course. Her website is


Noah Podolefsky :: (303) 735-0627 :: » Papers » Talks/Posters » Dissertation Noah was a postdoc working on the PhET project designing and researching computer simulations. He received his PhD in physics from CU-Boulder in 2008, specializing in physics education research. His dissertation was on theoretical and empirical studies of analogy and representations in teaching and learning physics. He continues to consider the application of his dissertation work in the design of computer simulations and analyzing their use by students learning physics.


Danny Rehn:: » Honors Thesis Danny is a 2011 graduate of the University of Colorado with a B.S. in Engineering Physics. His research focuses on student use of computer simulations in a variety of environments, and specifically addresses the question of how to integrate assignments with simulations. His work resulted in an honors thesis that provided a list of "heuristics" to follow when creating assignments, as well as a framework for how those heuristics can be implemented within different contexts. In addition to his research on computer simulations, Danny has been involved in other education outreach programs, including PISEC, MESA, math tutoring, CU tutoring, and Computers to Youth.
Sam Reid :: » Papers » Talks/Posters Sam is a graduate student in the Computer Science Department studying something to do with computers. He is a lead programmer in the Physics Education Technology project and has got a fine sense of humor.


Daniel Reinholz :: » Papers Daniel is a post-doctoral researcher working on an institution-wide STEM education transformation project sponsored by the AAU. His research focuses on the use of peer-review and reflection as tools to promote deep understanding and lifelong learning skills. Daniel completed his PhD in mathematics and science education at the University of California, Berkeley.


Mike Ross :: Mike teaches half-time at Centaurus HS and postdocs half time with the Physics and Everyday Thinking - High School project. Since receiving his doctorate in science education from CU in 2013, Mike has been involved in high school physics curriculum development and conducts research into broadening access to physics, particularly for those groups historically underrepresented in science.

Qing Ryan :: Qing was a post-doctoral researcher working on the course transformation of upper-division electrodynamics taught at the University of Colorado. Her research involved investigating student difficulties and developing a conceptual assessment and curricular materials. She completed her PhD work in the Physics Education Research group at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cites.


Benjamin Spike :: Ben completed his graduate work at CU after a BS in physics and mathematics from the University of Wisconsin. His research was centered on the beliefs and practices of physics recitation instructors (Teaching Assistants and Learning Assistants), as well as the professional and pedagogical development of TAs and LAs. Ben was the graduate co-director of the PFP program at CU.
Roberta Tanner :: Roberta served as Teacher in Residence for the 2006-2007 academic year as part of the Colorado PhysTEC program. She teaches physics and engineering at Loveland High School and continues to collaborate with the PER@C group.


Darren Tarshis :: » Honors Thesis Darren studied physics as an undergraduate at CU. His senior honors thesis was in PER, and researched how the hidden curriculum influences student attitudes and beliefs about science. He was introduced to teaching and education while working as a learning assistant in the applied math and physics departments, as part of the STEM program. Darren is now working to end educational inequity as a 2008 Teach For America corps member. With this program, he is teaching high school physics in Atlanta for the next two years.


Chandra Turpen :: » Papers » Talks/Posters » CV Chandra Turpen was a graduate research assistant in the field of Physics Education Research working towards a PhD in Physics. She wrote her dissertation for graduation in May 2010. Her dissertation addressed the following research questions: As physics instructors engage in using new educational technologies, such as Peer Instruction and Tutorials in Introductory Physics, how are classroom practices altered? Does the use of new educational technologies impact how faculty members talk about the nature of teaching and learning physics? What institutional and departmental changes support or impede course transformation? She approached these research questions using mixed methodologies, namely quantitative classroom assessments and extensive qualitative data collection through participant observations of classroom practices and interviews. She was also involved in establishing empowering outreach opportunities for undergraduate physics students who are interested in teaching.

Ben Van Dusen :: » Papers Ben is a former high school science teacher with a BA in physics from UC Berkeley and an MEd in Educational Leadership from the University of Oregon. He was a doctoral candidate examining the role that tools can play in rearranging classroom cultural practices to create engaging and motivating physics class experiences. Ben focused his research on instantiations of technological tools in science classes located in communities primarily composed of historically underrepresented backgrounds. Ben is also an active organizer and researcher for the Streamline to Mastery teacher professional development project. 


Benjamin Zwickl :: (303) 492-6956 :: » Papers Ben was a science teaching fellow (STF) funded through the Science Education Initiative, JILA, and an NSF-TUES grant (PI Heather Lewandowski, Physics/JILA). He was continuing a tradition of upper-division research-based course transformations at CU by focusing his efforts on the senior-level optics and modern physics lab. He combined his enthusiasm for education and teaching with his experimental experience in cavity optomechanics in Jack Harris's lab at Yale.