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Sehoya CotnerSehoya Cotner, Associate Professor

I am passionate about both biology and biology-education research. My research interests have been, and continue to be, broad in scope and mission. I’ve published papers on teaching with technology, barriers to teaching and learning evolution, and gender disparities in the sciences. I have also published articles on strategies for engaging students in large lectures, including work with the Active Learning Classrooms project at the University of Minnesota. Current work involves identifying which elements of course-based research experiences (CUREs) are key to promoting scientific literacy; identifying and countering barriers to learning science; evolution education in Gal├ípagos; and facilitating meaningful group interactions in the large-lecture setting.

Cissy BallenCissy Ballen, Postdoctoral Researcher

My research centers on strategies to reduce attrition of historically underrepresented groups in STEM fields. I became interested in this topic as an undergraduate teaching assistant in zoology at the University of Minnesota. Sehoya Cotner and I co-wrote a paper published in the Journal of Science Teaching that demonstrated female students largely benefit, disproportionately from men, by having a female role model teaching their Biology class. While the research has broad applications, the results also rang true on a personal level. At the University of Minnesota I will continue my work on institutional biases and solution-oriented strategies to promote diversity in the sciences.

Jonathan AndicoecheaJonathan Andicoechea, Graduate Assistant

I'm working on understanding what qualities of a learning environment help students acquire the content knowledge and skills needed to be scientifically literate. More specifically, I'm interested in how social factors and collaborative learning tasks mediate learning in an undergraduate science course for non majors.


Seth ThompsonSeth Thompson, Graduate Assistant

I am passionate about bringing high level science to students at a young age. I believe that students do not get nearly enough instruction on the nature and process of science at a young age and in turn this handicaps their abilities to understand how science works later in life. I am interested in designing and implementing new educational techniques to bring these concepts to younger students and to work with K-20 schools to have an impact on the way we approach science education for students of all ages.

Connor NeillConnor Neill, Undergraduate

My research interests include the behavior and ecology of fish. Specifically, I study parasite-mediated behavior in fathead minnows at the Lake Itasca Biological Field Station. My other interests include the conservation of coral reef ecosystems, fish cognition, and the teaching of field biology.


Clay MazurClay Mazur, Undergraduate

As a senior at the UMN pursuing a B.S. in Biology, I have had the opportunity to pursue many diverse research interests. These interests include marine biology, behavioral ecology, evolution education, identity protective cognition, and pedagogy. In the summer of 2016, I studied planktonic predator-prey interactions as part of the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates. In addition to teaching the Biology of Sex course, I have done research on course-based undergraduate experiences (CUREs) in a marine system and am currently investigating what motivates tourists to visit the Galapagos.

Lucas JenoLucas Jeno, Collaborator

My research interests include meta-analysis on teachers motivational style, students motivation and achievement; experiments on m-learning and achievement; Prospective and longitudinal studies on student achievement and dropout. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Bergen.


Steven WallaceSteven Wallace, Undergraduate

I’m currently assisting with research that is seeking to understand what factors may play a role in in-class participation. Going forward I’d like to do a similar study, but with a focus on students that are part of minorities that are underrepresented in the sciences. In the future I’d also be interested to see how adding more “activity” in active learning classrooms may influence students’ performance.

Olivia TrudeauOlivia Trudeau, Undergraduate

I am a junior biology major and French minor as well as a Biology 1009 TA. I'm studying gender-biased participation as a function of instructor gender. Specifically, I observe and analyze data from introductory biology lab courses. I will be extending this project during my study abroad in Montpellier, France this spring 2017. I am also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and the Pre-Genetic Counseling Club.

Dahsol LeeDahsol Lee, Undergraduate

I am interested in student engagement and confidence in the life sciences — both in the classroom social environment and the course content itself. My current projects seek to measure and study group dynamics in class, accessibility and sensitivity in course content, student demonstrations of course knowledge and confidence, as well as any biases or misconceptions that are barriers in life science education. 

Mai VangMai Vang, Undergraduate

I am a junior majoring in biology with a minor in neuroscience. My current research focuses on classroom involvement. Specifically, I am observing how the gender of the instructor influences classroom participation and how gender ratios within groups influence participation in the larger group. 


Christine LianChristine Lian, Undergraduate

I am a junior majoring in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development. My primary research projects look at the relationship between gender and confidence in STEM fields in relation to instructor gender. Recently I have been observing science courses with male dominated student populations. 


Morgan BurkhartMorgan Burkhart, Undergraduate

I am engaged in research that addresses the role of gender on participation in notoriously male dominated STEM classrooms. This research lead me to Bethel University, a small private college, where I observed an introductory biology class. The data collected at Bethel served as a comparison to data collected at large, public universities affiliated with the project. Currently, I am observing upper-level CSE classes at the University of Minnesota. My hope is that this research will aid in eliminating institutional biases and encourage women to pursue degrees and careers in STEM fields!