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Physics Education Research Conference 20/20 PERC Plenary Panelists

Geraldine L. Cochran, Rutgers University

Dr. Geraldine Cochran is an Assistant Professor with a joint position in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Office of STEM Education at Rutgers University. Cochran is a physics education researcher. Her research spans a variety of topics including course transformation in introductory math and physics courses, broadening participation in STEM, and creating collaborative and inclusive classroom spaces. Cochran is committed to equity and social justice and is active at local and national levels in addressing inequities and injustice in STEM.

Institutional website

Joseph Krajcik, Michigan State University

Joseph Krajcik serves as director of the CREATE for STEM Institute and is the Lappan-Phillips Professor of Science Education at Michigan State University. In his role as director of CREATE, he works with faculty, teachers and researchers to improve the teaching and learning of science, mathematics and engineering kindergarten through college by engaging in innovation and research. Joe served as president of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching from which he received the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education Through Research Award in 2010.  In 2014 he received from Michigan Science Teachers' Association the George G. Mallinson Award for overall excellence of contributions to science education. He was honored to receive a Distinguished Professorship from Ewha Woman's University in Seoul, South Korea in 2009, Guest Professorships from Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China in 2002 and 2018, and the Weston Visiting Professor of Science Education from Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel in 2005.  In 2019 Joe has been elected to the National Academy of Education, an honor received for the nation's most outstanding scholars in education.

Sarah B. McKagan, Alder Science Education Association

Sam McKagan is the creator and director of PhysPort, a website that supports physics faculty in using research-based teaching and assessment in their classes and departments. She also serves as design and development director for the Living Physics Portal, an online community for sharing and discussing materials for physics for life sciences, and the editorial director for the Effective Practices for Physics Programs (EP3) project, which is developing a guide to support physics department chairs in using effective practices for the ongoing review and improvement of their programs within the context and constraints of their local environment. She consults for universities and professional societies across the country on user-centered design,  faculty professional development, and video analysis of physics classrooms.

Alder Science Education Association

Valerie K. Otero, University of Colorado at Boulder

Valerie Otero is a professor of Science Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is co-founder (with Richard McCray) and executive director of the Colorado Learning Assistant (LA) program and the International LA Alliance. She has co-authored several physics curricula including Physics through Evidence, Empowerment through Reasoning (PEER Physics) and Physics and Everyday Thinking. Otero has advised the NAS, NASA, and APS on issues in physics education and physics teacher preparation. She has published broadly on physics education research and the history of physics education reform. Otero's programs use science to help learners advocate for themselves through the use of evidence. Otero is a Chicana, first generation college student, committed to building and sustaining equitable and relevant science learning environments.

Susan R. Singer, Rollins College

Prior to becoming Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Rollins, Susan Singer was Division Director for Undergraduate Education at NSF and Gould Professor of Biology at Carleton, where she directed the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching. She pursues a career integrating science and education aimed at improving undergraduate education at scale, including research on networks of organizations working to advance undergraduate STEM education. Susan is a AAAS fellow, and recipient of the American Society of Plant Biology teaching award and Botanical Society of America Charles Bessey award. She is past-chair of AAAS' Education Section and serves on the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine's Roundtable on Systematic Change in Undergraduate STEM Education and the Board on Life Sciences. She chaired the several National Academies' studies, including Discipline-based Education Research.


Robert H. Tai, University of Virginia

Robert H. Tai is an associate professor of education at the Curry School of Education and Human Development at University of Virginia. Prof. Tai has focused his research agenda on understanding how to better engage youth in science and science learning. Through his work, he has developed tools for measuring youth science engagement in both formal and informal settings. He is currently involved with several research studies including collaborations with the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. His work has been published in journals such as Science, Science Education, and Journal of Science Research and Teaching. In Summer 2018, the National Afterschool Association name Dr. Tai among its "Most Influential in Research and Evaluation." He is currently Co-Editor of the Science Educator and on the editorial board of the Journal Science Education and Technology.