The following team member biographies demonstrate the rich, comprehensive, and diverse knowledge, skills, and backgrounds that comprise the professional experience and expertise of our team.
Rena Dorph, Ph.D.
Rena provides leadership and support for the Lawrence Hall of Science community as well as for organizations who contract with the Research Group. Rena has worked in the field of educational research and evaluation for over 15 years. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, Rena served as director for research, policy, and technology in the Teacher Education and Professional Development unit of the University of California Office of the President; as an educational consultant for California schools, districts, and county offices of education; as the Lead Researcher and Coordinator for the SB1274 School Restructuring Study based at the University of California, Berkeley; and for the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching at Columbia University/Teachers College in New York City. Rena’s research focuses on the relationship between learning experiences and outcomes, paying consistent attention to issues of equity and impact. Rena received her master’s degree in the sociology of education from Teachers College at Columbia University and her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in Educational Policy, Organization, Measurement, and Evaluation.
Ardice Hartry, Ph.D.
Ardice has conducted research and evaluation of PK-16 educational and community-based programs for more than 10 years. At the Research Group she is leading a statewide study of the current condition of science education in California. In addition, she oversees multiple evaluations of science professional development initiatives and an evaluation of a support program for underrepresented minority students in science disciplines. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, Ardice was a senior researcher with one of the nation’s leading education program evaluation and research firms. There, she led many different research projects, from a randomized control trial of an afterschool reading initiative to an evaluation of a national science education resource center funded by National Science Foundation. She also has been a director of research and evaluation for a large school district in California. She holds a master’s degree in anthropology and received her doctorate in political science from Claremont Graduate University.
Mac Cannady, Ph.D.
Mac provides research design and statistical analysis expertise to several projects within the Research Group. His work aims to improve the internal validity and enhance the effectiveness of quantitative research and evaluation projects. Currently, his work includes investigating pathways and barriers to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, analyzing the effectiveness of professional development programs, and reviewing research on teacher education. Prior to coming to the Lawrence Hall of Science, Mac evaluated several formal and informal educational initiatives, including elementary engineering programs, pre-algebra curriculum and professional development of history teachers. He taught physics to high school students for several years after earning a bachelor's degree in engineering physics from Santa Clara University. Mac received his doctorate from Boston College in Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation.
Celia Castillo, B.A.
Celia supports lead researchers on multiple projects, doing qualitative work such as data collection, data analysis and assisting with the distribution of reports. Celia received her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with a minor in interdisciplinary studies in early childhood from the University of California, Berkeley.
Bernadette Chi, Ph.D.
Bernadette has extensive experience in research and evaluation of K-12 educational and community-based programs. She currently is leading a multiyear evaluation of a National Science Foundation-funded initiative, as well as other projects, related to professional development and science curriculum development for afterschool settings. She is interested particularly in exploring how science education can be made more relevant to students, especially as a means of fostering scientific competence and commitment to environmental and social issues. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, she worked in youth and education program administration, grants management, and program evaluation at the local, state, and national levels. Bernadette received her bachelor's degree in public policy from Stanford University and her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Education in Policy, Organizations, Measurement, and Evaluation.
Joo Chung, B.A.
Joo assists in survey design, data collection, and quantitative data analysis across a variety of research and evaluation projects. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and is interested in research methodology and statistical analysis.
Michael Davis, Ph.D.
Michael leads research and evaluation efforts related to K-16 mathematics education. Throughout his career, he has taught students of all age groups and from a wide array of racial/ethnic, linguistic, and social backgrounds. Michael is devoted to helping schools more successfully serve all of their students. Because of the role mathematics and science education plays in future education and career opportunities, he has focused his work on these subjects. His research interests include identity, social/emotional functioning, perceptions of learning, and how these areas relate to each other and achievement. Michael received his doctorate in educational psychology from Stanford University.
Rebecca Deutscher, Ph.D.
Rebecca has expertise in evaluating various technology-related programs in formal and informal settings. At the Research Group, she evaluates the multimedia components in the Full Option Science System (FOSS) curriculum. She also works on various other educational technology projects including user testing of various technology tools and impact studies on learning and motivation. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, Rebecca worked at a charter school researching and evaluating programs on parent involvement, motivation, achievement, hands-on learning, and teachers’ perspectives on the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope program (a kids hands-on astronomy program). She also worked for a company where she was responsible for making learning more individualized by incorporating learning styles and personality factors into a computer system. Rebecca received her bachelor's degree in psychology from University of California, Davis, her master’s degree in clinical psychology from San Diego State University, and her doctorate in educational psychology from Arizona State University.
Yael Galinson, Ph.D.
Yael is the research coordinator for the Science Learning Activation Lab at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Yael has worked in the field of education as a researcher, classroom teacher, and teacher educator. Her areas of expertise include language acquisition and literacy development with a particular focus on multilingual populations. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, Yael taught deaf students at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont and bilingual students in the Oakland Unified School District. Most recently, she was a supervisor and lecturer for the Developmental Teacher Education Program at the University of California, Berkeley. Yael received her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.
Kimberly N. Harris, Ph.D.
Kimberly has more than 10 years of experience in the North Carolina Community College System where she served as an instructor and administrator. She has expertise in research and evaluation of post-secondary academic programs as well as science programs geared towards middle school females. Her primary role at the Research Group is to work as both a quantitative and qualitative researcher in the Science Learning Activation Lab. Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in economics and African studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a master's degree in business administration from the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business at Campbell University. She earned her doctorate in education research and policy analysis with a concentration in organizational psychology from North Carolina State University. Her research interests include institutional-level decision making impact on graduation rates and choice of majors, international programs, soft-skills curricula, minority admissions in graduate and professional schools, and campus consolidation.
Shirley Lee, M.A.
Shirley began her career in the classroom, teaching prealgebra and algebra to middle school students, first in New York City and then in Cambridge, MA. While teaching, Shirley became interested in how children understand the number system and connect their knowledge to new mathematical ideas. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, she worked at an educational research firm focusing on standards-based mathematics curriculum implementation and teacher professional development. Currently at the Research Group, Shirley researches teaching practices, curriculum, and classroom environments that support teaching and learning in science and mathematics classrooms. Shirley received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cornell University and her master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University.
Vanessa Lujan, Ph.D.
Vanessa assists with evaluation efforts and serves as an evaluation coordinator. She develops and implements the BaySci professional development program for educators in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as provides ongoing program and evaluation support to district administrators, participating teachers, and partnering research and informal science institutions. Her research interests include understanding the intersection of ethnic and gender identity within the sciences and cultural diversity as it relates to science teaching and learning. Vanessa’s previous experience includes teaching high school and undergraduate science, developing undergraduate science curriculum, and program leadership of a comprehensive district community and parent involvement program. Vanessa received her doctorate and master’s degree in science education from the University of Texas, Austin and her bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University.
Erik coordinates and provides quality control support for data entry activities. In addition, Erik manages large data sets and works with the Research Group and other centers within the Lawrence Hall of Science to provide recommendations for developing the technical and formatting aspects of scan-ready templates for research and evaluation projects.
Kristin Nagy Catz, Ph.D.
Kristin specializes in the development, scoring, analysis, and refinement of student science learning assessments. She has taught high school, undergraduate, and graduate courses. Kristin is devoted to helping teachers, curriculum developers, and administrators improve the measurement of the depth and extent of student understanding. Her research interests focus on how best to accurately measure and demonstrate increases in achievement for all students. Kristin received her doctorate in science education from Vanderbilt University, her master’s degree in biology from The University of Cincinnati, and her bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University.
Lisa Newton, B.A.
Lisa supports a variety of qualitative research and administrative projects. She assists with data collection, data analysis, and project coordination. Lisa received her Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology with a minor in education from the University of California, Berkeley.
Scott Randol, Ph.D.
Scott leads research and evaluation efforts related to science education in informal environments. He has been involved in the study, evaluation, and practice of education in museums, zoos, aquariums, and science centers for more than 10 years. Scott conducts various educational and visitor research studies and serves as lead evaluator on several nationally funded projects. His research interests include the development of early scientific processes, inquiry in informal settings, the impacts of mediated experiences on visitors, and innovative methods for assessing the visitor experience. Scott received his master’s degree in physics from University of Washington, Seattle and his doctorate in science education from the University of California, Berkeley.
Leah Reisman, B.A.
Leah contributes to various aspects of the research process, including protocol development, data collection, data analysis, and project coordination. She received her bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago, and she worked in education and visitor research in a variety of museums including the Field Museum in Chicago and San Francisco's de Young Museum. Leah has also designed and conducted independent research at a science museum in Chicago and an art museum in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her interests include qualitative research methods and the intrinsic impacts of informal learning experiences in museums and science centers.
Valeria Romero, M.A.
Valeria supports research and evaluation projects related to science professional development initiatives and programs aimed to increase underrepresented minority students in science disciplines. Prior to joining the Research Group, Valeria worked at the Greenlining Institute and the Chicana Latino Student Development Office at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was able to address issues of access to education among underrepresented minority and low-income communities. She received her master's degree in educational leadership from Mills College.
Betsy Ross, M.A., M.P.A.
Betsy specializes in project management and data collection coordination. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, she coordinated research studies at public schools, medical centers, universities, and private clinics about the effectiveness of a software training program for language and reading. She has an interdisciplinary Master of Arts degree in the social sciences with an emphasis in cross-cultural psychology, education, and language learning from the University of Chicago, and a Master of Public Administration degree from San Francisco State University. Her interests include the use of technology in the classroom and literacy.
Jami has extensive experience gathering, analyzing, preparing, and summarizing recommendations for data collection plans including annual resource allocation approaches, trended future requirements, operating forecasts, sources and uses for the centers within the Lawrence Hall of Science. Jami provides support for the preparation and submission of multimillion dollar proposals as well as supporting academic personnel recruiting and hiring. Prior to working at the Lawrence Hall of Science, Jami worked for the Research, Policy, and Technology unit and the New Standards Project at the University of California Office of the President.
Juna Z. Snow, Ph.D.
Juna possesses a formal background in environmental science and 15 years of experience in education as a curriculum designer, technology developer, and instructional trainer and teacher in formal and informal settings. During the past 10 years, Juna has honed her expertise in applied social science research including learning assessment, outcomes measurement, and program evaluation. Juna currently serves the American Educational Research Association as the Chair of the Research on Evaluation Special Interest Group and is a reviewer for the American Evaluation Association. At the Research Group, Juna contributes as a methodologist and project leader on studies with innovation in education as a primary focus. She received her master's degree in ecology and her doctorate in science and technology in education with specialization in program evaluation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Lynn Tran, Ph.D.
Lynn has various research and teaching interests in science education. She has taught science in natural history museums and science centers. She explores the pedagogical practices and professional knowledge of educators who teach science in informal learning environments such as museums, nature centers, and aquariums. Lynn also investigates children’s understanding of the ocean and currents through their conceptions of the water cycle and density. At the Lawrence Hall of Science, Lynn divides her time between the research department and as the manager for the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence-California (COSEE-CA). She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from University of California, Los Angeles, her master’s degree and doctorate in science education from North Carolina State University, holds a teaching license in middle grades from North Carolina, and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship with the Center for Informal Learning and Schools at King’s College London.
Maia Werner-Avidon, M.A.
Maia has extensive experience in museum research, exhibit development, and project management and has worked in the science museum field for more than 10 years. At the Research Group, she evaluates and researches a range of informal science education exhibits and projects. She also managed a nationwide curriculum development field trial and efficacy study involving over 300 teachers. Maia earned her bachelor’s degree from Macalester College and Master of Arts degree in museum studies from John F. Kennedy University, and previously served as the Deborah A. Carey Research and Evaluation Intern at the Institute for Learning Innovation.