SERC > SERC Staff and Collaborators > Kristin O'Connell

Kristin O'Connell

Evaluation/Education Specialist
Science Education Resource Center- Carleton College
koconnell at carleton dot edu
(507) 222-7938

The principles that influence my work and life are modeling and promoting: respect, inclusion and social justice, and evidence-based practices. I see the most meaningful improvements occurring not by simplifying, but by seeking to understand our dynamic, interconnected, and multifaceted selves and world. As an evaluator at SERC, this drives me to work collaboratively to build creative, useful, informative, and inclusive projects where I draw on my lived experience as a geologist, education researcher, mentor, and evaluator. I help to design and implement evaluation of educational projects and conduct research related to the assessment of student learning with the ultimate goal of improving higher education student outcomes and building evaluation capacity. The project-foci vary from innovative curriculum development projects, professional development programs, student support programs, and websites that increase collaboration and inclusive student-centered teaching and learning.

Prior to my current role, I worked at Carleton's TRIO/Student Support Services as the Quantitative Skills Coordinator and as an adviser. I collaborated with students, staff, and faculty to develop research-based strategies and programming to help support TRIO students' success at and beyond Carleton. This work incorporated student support as well as institutional change strategies.

In the past with SERC, I have also been involved with On the Cutting Edge workshops and website design; the Carleton Interdisciplinary Science & Math Initiative (CISMI), including the broadening access cohorts (FOCUS, CSSF, and CSSI) evaluation; Sustainability Improves Student Learning project management; GeoPRISMS project assistance and evaluation, InTeGrate website and assessment manager, inaugural Earth Educators' Rendezvous project manager, and more.

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I have acted as a project manager for the inaugural Earth Educators' Rendezvous. In this role, I developed the website with Matt Lauer, organized and attended planning committee meetings, helped invite, track the status of, and work with 40 workshop leaders, managed distribution and progress of workshop website tasks, served on Contributed Program Committee to organize all abstracts into oral and poster sessions, helped inform conference chairs of progress on all fronts to help move things forward, and helped with on-site logistics and advertising. The website and chrome are designed to help effectively manage a large-scale, multi-year conference, anticipating the need of a flexible program view to a number of crosscutting audiences in a professional and logical manner for use both prior and during the event. The website leverages current and new Serckit tools from Matt Lauer and Sean Fox.
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I have worked with the GeoPRISMS community to bring MARGINS research into the classroom in a number of capacities. In particular, I assisted the leadership team with project planning, webinar and workshop planning, working with curriculum author teams, and website design. The author teams worked over a two year period to design, test, and publish teaching materials that highlight important MARGINS research findings. The website is designed to help the user easily access these materials and navigate between the materials.
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The On the Cutting Edge front page re-design aims to:
  • Continue to provide easy to follow links to all Cutting Edge materials
  • Provide easy access to the NAGT/On the Cutting Edge professional development workshop schedule and results
  • Emphasize the pivotal roll of the geoscience community in the Cutting Edge program and strong teaching materials
  • Feature the peer-reviewed exemplary activities teaching collection
  • Highlight the supporting role of program contributors and NAGT membership


University of California, Davis, MS 2009, Thesis: Sedimentology, Structural Geology, and Paleomagnetism of the Ghost Rocks Formation; Kodiak Islands, Alaska. My research has focused on large-scale tectonic movements, combining tectonic, structural geologic, sedimentologic, and paleomagnetic data.

Carleton College, Northfield, MN, BA 2004, Thesis: Ages, geochemistry, and field relationships of mafic dikes along the Wrangell Transect, Southeast Alaska.

Selected Presentations and Publications