Who Are We?

Dr. Thomas F. Shipley, PI
Personal Website

Dr Shipley's research broadly focuses on spatial cognition and learning. He applies formal methods from his previous research on object and event perception to understand the perceptual and cognitive processes subserving navigation and visualization. His recent work on perception and learning in spatial visualization is part of a project that aims to support undergraduate geology education with a longer term goal of understanding the cognitive processes that are critical for spatial reasoning and thus support STEM education in general for both K-12 and undergraduate students.



Dr. Alexandra Davatzes, Co-PI

Personal Website

Dr. Davatzes' research interests include planetary geology, sedimentology, early Earth processes and geoscience education. Her current research focuses on studies of Precambrian meteor impacts and the implications for early Earth. She is the PI of an NSF CAREER grant to research these impact deposits in Western Australia and South Africa. She is Co-PI on an NSF GP-IMPACT grant to promote career pathways for urban geoscientists. She also collaborates with cognitive scientists on understanding spatial reasoning in the geosciences as part of the NSF Science of Learning Center.



Dr. Nicole D. LaDue, Co-PI
Personal Website

Dr. LaDue's research involves combining methods from psychology and education research to study how students learn in the geosciences. Her current work targets introductory level students to better understand how spatial thinking and visual representations influence their understanding. She is also involved with projects focused on interest development and student recruitment into the geosciences.



Dr. Doug Lombardi, Co-PI

Personal Website

Dr. Lombardi's areas of research interest include cognitive judgments and reasoning, conceptual change, epistemic cognition, and climate change education. He is the PI of an NSF-funded project examining students' scientific thinking when confronted with controversial and/or complex Earth and space science topics.



Dr. Michael Brudzinski
Personal Website

Dr. Brudzinski is a Professor at Miami University. His research focuses on the origins of hazardous earthquakes. He has maintained nearly a decade-long field experiment in southern Mexico to investigate how tectonics plates collide. His educational focus is on developing active, engaging, e-learning courses, through assessment of inquiry-based training, student engagement, and authentic scientific experiences in virtual classrooms. He is currently working on an NSF-Funded project investigating fracking and seismicity.



Dr. Kim Anne Kastens

Personal Website

After an early career in marine geology, Dr. Kastens worked towards the goals of understanding how strike-slip plate boundaries develop and evolve, and learn about the fundamental accretion processes and architecture of the oceanic crust. She has led or participated in 26 major oceanographic research cruises and 3 GPS geodesy campaigns. Her professional goals include improving the public's understanding and appreciation of Earth systems. She also helps to develop the Community Review System of The Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE).



Dr. Carol J. Ormand
Personal Website

Dr. Ormand is a Science Education and Research Associate at Carleton College in the Science Education Research Center (SERC). Her work supports the mission of SERC by moving towards improving science and education at the college and university level. The components of her work include: 1) conducting research on learning (specifically, on spatial thinking) in the undergraduate science classroom, 2) developing curricular materials that incorporate what we know from research on learning, and 3) faculty professional development. Along with her involvement in the GET-Spatial project, she is the PI on the Spatial Thinking Workbook project and involved in research with the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC).



Dr. Basil Tikoff

Personal Website

Dr. Tikoff is a Professor at The University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies Structural Geology and Tectonics. He uses a simultaneous combination of field geology, geophysical methods, physical (analog) models, and numerical models to understand three-dimensional deformation. He is involved in a variety of on-going projects, including granite emplacement and magmatic arc processes, strike-slip tectonism, deformation of the lithospheric mantle, and more.



Dr. Steven J. Whitmeyer
Personal Website

Dr. Whitmeyer is a Professor at James Madison University whose studies Structural Geology, Tectonics, and Geospatial Analyses. His research interests include building global tectonic reconstructions and developing associated educational resources, development of digital mapping techniques and visualizations and incorporating them into field geology curricula, and bedrock mapping and structural characterization of the Mid-Atlantic region.



Dr. Allison Jaeger, Post Doctoral Researcher

Personal Website

Dr. Jaeger's work focuses on understanding how individual differences in cognitive capacities, such as spatial thinking skills and working memory capacity, contribute to successful learning in STEM. In particular, she is interested in developing instructional manipulations that can help students with lower levels of these cognitive capacities to perform better in STEM. Her work has looked at the role of visualizations such as diagrams and animations, analogies, self-explanation, and sketching as tools for promoting learning.


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