Researcher Biography Projects
Picture of Chuck Keeton
Chuck Keeton

Charles Keeton, Faculty Director, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  After earning a B.A. from Cornell University and Ph.D. from Harvard University, Professor Keeton did research at the University of Arizona and the University of Chicago before joining the faculty of Rutgers University in 2004. He studies how gravity bends light to investigate dark matter and black holes, using the Hubble Space Telescope as well as observatories around the world. Chuck Keeton's research has been featured on National Public Radio,, and in New Scientist magazine.  In 2010 he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama for his innovative work in the integration of research and education.

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Picture of Clark Chinn
Clark Chinn

My research teams are current working on two interconnected lines of research. In the first line of research (the Epistemic Education project), we are exploring new approaches to conceptualizing and investigating epistemic cognition. Our goal is then to develop instructional methods that help students reason more effectively in authentic situations such as reasoning about information found on the Internet. The second project is the PRACCIS project (Promoting Reasoning and Conceptual Change In Science), an ongoing collaboration with Ravit Golan Dunca.  In this project, we investigate scaffolds that promote growth in reasoning in middle school science classes. We have developed curricula that are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and that promote conceptual change and model-based reasoning in the life sciences. More information can be found under the “research initiatives” link below.

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Picture of David Shernoff
David Shernoff

Dr. Shernoff is an educational psychologist who conducts applied research in schools, after-school settings, technology-supported environments, and other learning environments. He is interested in educational and other holding environments supportive of positive development. Specific areas of research relate primarily to the motivation and engagement of youth, engagement and learning in game-based, digital learning environments, and mentoring in early career development. He has served as Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on over 12 research projects on community engagement, student engagement, or teacher professional development. His research has yielded 5 authored or edited books, and over 35 other publications. He serves on several editorial boards and as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation. He served as chair and program chair of the Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

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Picture of Elisa Shernoff
Elisa Shernoff

Dr.Shernoff’s work centers on developing and testing interventions to enhance the use of evidence-based instructional and classroom management practices among teachers working in high poverty schools. Her primary focus is on mental health promotion and resilience by enhancing the capacity of teachers, particularly early career teachers, to accomplish their goal of supporting student learning, behavior, and development. In addition, Dr. Shernoff’s work focuses on ensuring school psychologists enter the workplace prepared to deliver and support high quality, effective services through developing effective training in evidence-based practices and consultation.

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Eugenia Etkina

Eugenia Etkina is a physics educator (a former high school physics teacher) who directs the physics teacher preparation program and works in the field of Physics Education Research (PER). The physics teacher preparation program prepares is one of the largest in the US and is unique in a way it trains teachers. Eugenia's research focuses on physics, student reasoning, epistemology, language, and representations. In her teaching Eugenia believes that every student can learn physics and she models interactive inquiry-based physics instruction in multiple physics teaching methods courses that are a part of the program. She advises doctoral students both in the GSE and in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

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Picture of Janice Gobert
Janice Gobert

Dr. Gobert received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (1994) in Cognitive Science and her Masters from McGill University, also in Cognitive Science. Her specialty is in technology-based with visualizations and simulations in scientific domains. She and her group developed Inq-ITS (Inquiry-Intelligent Tutoring System;  which is an intelligent tutoring and assessment system for science. With Inq-ITS, the group conducts research on: learning with visualizations, performance assessment of inquiry skills via data-mining of log files, inquiry skill acquisition, and interactions between skill acquisition and learner characteristics. She has been principal investigator on many projects that address technology-based science learning and assessment. From 2000 to December 2007, Janice served as North American Editor for the International Journal of Science Education.

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Picture of Janice Mcdonnell
Janice Mcdonnell

Janice is currently serving as the Science Engineering & Technology Agent for the department of 4-H Youth Development at Rutgers University where she supports county 4-H Agents in promoting STEM in their communities. She hosts a variety of on-campus programs designed to engage young people in Rutgers University science and engineering programs. In addition, Janice helps university faculty to develop innovative and effective broader impact statements in accordance with NSF’s Criterion II. Scientists and Engineers are engaged in a wide variety of education and outreach initiatives designed to educate the public about STEM disciplines. Janice works with scientists to translate their research into educational products that can be used by K-16 students, teachers and the general public. Finally, Janice is interested in program evaluation and works with a range of external collaborators to conduct a range of program assessments.

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Picture of Jeff Buechner
Jeff Buechner

Dr. Jeff Buechner received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University (New Brunswick), the top department in the world for philosophy of mind. He works primarily in the philosophy of mind and psychology, but explores connections between these areas and mathematics and computer science. In particular, he is interested in how results in computational complexity theory can be used in adjudicating issues in the philosophy of mind. His book Gödel, Putnam and Functionalism (MIT Press, 2008, 345pp) is a defense of cognitive science against Hilary Putnam's well-known attacks upon it.

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Mary Emenike
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Picture of Ravit Duncan
Ravit Duncan

My research interests focus on thinking and learning in science. I am specifically interested in the role of domain-specific knowledge in the development of scientific literacy. In my dissertation work I studied student cognition in genetics, and the ways in which our understanding of students' reasoning can inform the design of more effective learning environments.

During my doctoral studies I have also done extensive work on the role of technology in science learning and the development of design guidelines for software scaffolds.

Currently I am studying pre-service teachers' understandings of the nature of science, and the development of these understandings during the course of their preparation program. In particular, I examine the ways in which teachers' knowledge of biology informs their understandings of the nature of science more generally.

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