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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 Galápagos; 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.

Lorelei PatrickLorelei Patrick, Postdoctoral Researcher

I’m examining how teaching identity and self-confidence develop in teaching assistants. Science education research has focused almost exclusively on undergraduate students and faculty instructors; relatively little research and resources have been devoted to understanding how TAs perceive teaching, how their teaching identity and confidence develop, and how to best train them to use evidence-based teaching practices. I’m also interested in how research self-efficacy develops in course-based undergraduate research experience participants and graduate students. In addition, I investigate faculty, student, and teaching assistant perceptions of active learning and how these differ among STEM disciplines. Finally, I’m interested in the roles of environment, phylogeny, functional traits, interspecific interactions, and resource partitioning in structuring natural communities of organisms, particularly bats.

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




Olivia TrudeauOlivia Trudeau, Undergraduate




Mai VangMai Vang, Undergraduate



Christine LianChristine Lian, Undergraduate




Morgan BurkhartMorgan Burkhart, Undergraduate




Azariah YonasAzariah Yonas, Undergraduate


Brandon VanderbushBrandon Vanderbush, Undergraduate


Grace LelandGrace Leland, Undergraduate

Jake PetersonJake Peterson, Undergraduate

Meredith SongMeredith Song, Undergraduate

Neelam ChandiramaniNeelam Chandiramani, Undergraduate

Sergio MolinaSergio Molina, Undergraduate

Zoe KothZoe Koth, Undergraduate