STEM Education Students and Alumni Spotlights

Meet STEM Education Students

Robert Hayes

Robert Hayes (contact me)
PhD in STEM Education

Tufts education has a uniquely student centered research orientation that makes sense of sense-making. Being in this environment, and constantly in dialogue with child development researchers, discipline experts, and critical scholars, has revolutionized how I think about education. Together I believe we can shift people's perspectives to value more contextual and dynamic accounts of learning.

I earned my BS in Mechanical Engineering and BA in Applied Mathematics from Tufts University in 2013. I worked as a curriculum developer and teacher at a computer science education company called TechSmartKids for two years.

Dipeshwor Man Shrestha

Dipeshwor Man Shrestha (contact me)
MS in STEM Education, 2020; PhD in STEM Education

Tufts has helped me navigate not just academia, but also the "messiness" that comes with real world implementations of design. The feedback that I have received from my instructors and my peers have helped me clarify my thoughts and refine my ideas. Additionally, the assigned readings and in-class discussions have introduced me to ideas of access, inclusion, diversity, and equity, which are often missing in STEM discussions.

I earned my bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Tribhuvan University, Nepal and I am currently working as a researcher at Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO). After I graduate, I plan to return to Nepal and continue my work at Karkhana, a Kathmandu-based education company and a makerspace that designs learning experiences for school students.

Tyrine Pangan

Tyrine Jamella Pangan (contact me)
PhD in STEM Education (Target Graduation: 2025)


During my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to participate in Engineering Education research and was quickly inspired to pursue a PhD in the field. While I always knew that I would be attending graduate school, I didn’t really know where I wanted to continue my higher education. I spent some time looking into different programs across the country but immediately fell in love with the STEM Education program at Tufts. I was drawn to its interdisciplinary approach in engineering education and the amazing work being done at the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach. While I have only been in the program for a couple weeks, I have learned so much from not only my courses, but from my interactions with both the faculty and my peers. I am excited to see how much I’ll grow as a researcher by the time I graduate.

I earned my BS in Software Engineering from Arizona State University (Polytechnic). Before coming to Tufts, I spent almost two years working as a Management Intern for the STEAM LabsTM Center for K-12 Research and Engagement, continuing the work I did as an undergraduate research assistant. I primarily spent time helping wrap up our pilot for a culturally-responsive engineering design curriculum for middle schools in the Navajo Nation.

Meet STEM Education Alumni

Steve Cogger

Steve Cogger (contact me)
PhD in STEM Education

I started my second career as a Middle School Engineering teacher. Licensure requirements lead me to Tufts where my initial plan, to take graduate courses in education, lead to my enrollment in the STEM Education PhD program. My courses and research, focused on students' sense making and development of prior knowledge, have helped me develop meaningful curriculum and research-based learning experiences for my students.

I have a BS Electrical Engineering from Cornell, an MBA from Rutgers, and an MS in STEM Education from Tufts. I hold Massachusetts teaching licenses in Physics, Engineering, and Middle School Math/Science. Presently, I teach Computer Science and Engineering at Manchester/Essex Regional High.

Joy Stark

Joy Stark (contact me)
MS in STEM Education, 2020

I am a recent alumni of the MS STEM Education program. After earning my BS in Math Education from Oral Roberts University in 2015, I taught high school algebra for 3 years near Tulsa, OK. I love teaching math and returned to my home state of MA for Tufts' STEM Education program to hone my skills with like-minded learners. The program has challenged me to expand what I recognize as productive thinking in my classroom to better reach all learners.

I am interested in mathematical mindsets and how students approach and think about mathematics. I am also interested in the actions teachers take at the beginning of the school year to encourage collaborative student-centered learning in math classrooms. After graduating, I look forward to returning to the high school math classroom with new vision and knowledge.

Jennifer Radoff

Jennifer Radoff
PhD in STEM Education, 2017

Jen Radoff is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Maryland in College Park. Professionally, she spends her time studying the interplay between emotions, cognition, and epistemology in science learning; working with educators to notice and minimize status differences in their classrooms; partnering with elementary teachers to co-design inquiry lessons on socio-scientific phenomena; and thinking about the harms of meritocracy and technocracy in STEM education and in the world more broadly. On any given day you may find her collaborating with her wonderful colleagues, knitting a sweater, or playing with her puppy, Penny.

Lama Jaber

Lama Jaber (contact me)
PhD in Science Education, 2014

I am an associate professor in science education at Florida State University in the School of Teacher Education and the FSU-Teach program. I study learners' engagement, emotions, and sense-making in science. I am also interested in the design of responsive teaching classrooms that promote students' disciplinary engagement. My experience in the STEM Education program at Tufts was no doubt one of the most transformative experiences in my life. Working with amazing mentors and distinguished scholars and participating in various research projects helped me develop the knowledge, tools, and dispositions that are core to my work today and ignited my passion for learning and for new ideas. For this and much more, I am forever grateful.

Chunhua Liu

Chunhua Liu
PhD in STEM Education, 2012

Chunhua Liu is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, Tianjin Normal University. Her research is on learning and teaching in STEM fields, mainly physics and mathematics. She is focused on students' scientific arguments, teachers' responsive teaching and teachers' and students' reasoning about quantities in mathematics.

Christopher Wright

Christopher Wright
PhD in STEM Education

Christopher G. Wright is an Assistant Professor in the Teaching, Learning, & Curriculum Department within the School of Education at Drexel University. His research interests include the design and examination of learning environments that support engineering and science learning for minoritized young people. Dr. Wright's previous research has focused on ethnographic accounts of learning environments that support (or not) positive engineering identities for K-12 students and/or teachers, as well as situating students' participation in engineering and science practices within frameworks of community cultural wealth. Dr. Wright's current research projects include two NSF-funded projects entitled, (a) Engineering Expansive Learning Spaces for Boys of Color: A Focus on Practice & Identity and (b) Using Culturally Sustaining Learning Environments to Explore Computational Learning & Identity.

Aaron Price

Aaron Price
PhD in STEM Education, 2011

I am currently the Manager of Research and Evaluation at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. I manage a team of four who study the impacts of our exhibitions, digital media, after school, teacher education and student experiences programs. Since we study a large number of programs with very different goals and populations, it is important to have a wide variety of methodological tools, experiences and philosophies. The multidisciplinary nature of the MSTE program, along with its emphasis on learning multiple methods of research, has prepared me to be flexible yet still adhere to rigorous research practices.

Kristen Wendell

Kristen Wendell (contact me)
PhD in Science Education, 2011

I am Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Education at Tufts University, where I lead a research group at the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach. My first faculty position was at the University of Massachusetts Boston in its College of Education and Human Development. My research, supported by the National Science Foundation, focuses on characterizing and designing learning environments for equitable student access to engineering practices in K-8, teacher education, and undergraduate contexts.

I am not exaggerating when I say that every single day, I use knowledge, skills, and habits of mind developed during my time as a PhD student in the STEM Education program at Tufts. My courses and research experiences grounded me in theories of learning across the distinct STEM domains, nurtured my interdisciplinary interests, and exposed me to the ins and outs of running an externally-funded research project. Most importantly, Tufts provided (and still does!) a vibrant and joyful intellectual community where I could grow not only as a scholar but also as a person.