I entered the CSTL program in 2010 after studying chemistry for four years at Beijing Normal University (BNU) in Beijing, China. My advisor, Dr. Richard C. Anderson gave me tremendous support during last three years to help me adjust to a new academic field. He helped me develop expertise in children’s reading and reasoning and strengthen my ability to do both quantitative and qualitative studies. With his professional guidance and inspirational encouragements, I completed my master thesis on English language learner’s oral narratives. This study investigated how collaborative group work promotes Hispanic children’s language production, storytelling, and thinking and reasoning. My second study investigated children’s ability to organize text information and bridging inferences into coherent causal chains, a process we call multi-link reasoning. We found that children who participated in collaborative group discussions were more likely to generate longer chains of reasoning. These two studies built my interests in self-directed knowledge construction process and the development of transferrable skills. I will continue studying how multi-link reasoning skill transfers in different tasks and how children integrate background knowledge, text information, and inferences into coherent mental models.
I enjoy doing educational research, but I also want to find a way to use what I learn. In the summer of 2012 I volunteered for Dream Corps International, a nonprofit organization devoted to improving the environment for learning and development of children in rural China. We built a library for the local elementary school and introduced a rich variety of high quality books to underprivileged children. I hope I can be more involved in this kind of activities.
In my free time I like to write novels, play piano, go to museums and art galleries.
I am a PhD Student in Educational Psychology (CSTL) at the College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently I serve as Graduate Research Assistant on multiple projects working with faculty from Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Psychology, Physics, and Engineering. I have a M.A. in Educational Psychology from Wichita State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with endorsements in both mathematics and science from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. I have 11 years of math and science teaching experience at the middle school, high school, and technical college levels.
I have many diverse research interests. At Wichita State I focused on the interaction of epistemological beliefs and anxiety and the effect of these constructs on math learning, as well as the development of nature of science beliefs among graduate students. I am currently focusing on issues from both STEM education and cognitive science. My research interests involve investigating the role of individual differences (e.g., epistemology, metacognition, and identity) on student performance in STEM courses. I am also investigating the ways in which embodied experiences affect learning crosscutting concepts within STEM. Recently I have investigated differences in perception and categorization between experts and novices in Physics. He has published journal articles in Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research, Journal of College Science Teaching, and the Journal of Education and Training Studies among others. I am a member of the American Education Research Association, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, and the American Association of Physics Teachers.
I have a 4-year-old son, so my free time involves a lot of playing with matchbox cars and watching cartoons. We have recently been going to the planetarium quite often. I also enjoy cooking and sports.