SERC > Kristin O'Connell

Kristin O'Connell

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Geoscience Education and Evaluation Associate
Science Education Resource Center- Carleton College
koconnell at carleton dot edu
(507) 222-4368

I am part of the wonderful SERC web and evaluation teams composed of dynamic, hardworking, flexible people able to manage a large number of simultaneous projects that leverage our collective expertise. Through website development, professional development, education research, assessment, and evaluation, we aim to understand and improve STEM education. One of the strengths of our office is our ability to work together to provide collaborators with effective workshop, website, and working design ideas to help maximize impact and reach of their science education and research projects.

For me, this includes collecting, managing and analyzing data from student assessments and surveys; supporting the planning, implementation, and products of face-to-face and virtual workshops and meetings; developing websites on teaching materials, active pedagogic techniques, and research on learning; and troubleshooting day-to-day operations. I have 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.

Sample Work

I have helped design and re-design a number of webpages, each with unique audiences and intents. All of the designs have benefited from the input of the SERC webteam, relevant project teams, and from updated CMS design features from Sean Fox and Matt Lauer.

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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

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The NAGT Teaching Resources, Teaching Undergraduate Geoscience, and Workshops page re-designs are aimed at increasing visibility and access to all NAGT sponsored geoscience education teaching materials and professional development pieces. Many materials were originally created by different project teams and grants, and the new site design makes it easier to access all of the materials and easier to move between the materials. This will also be supported by new a recommender system (designed by Matt Lauer) that will allow users to easily find relevant content.

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The InTeGrate Materials Development Timeline page is an example of a webpage that I helped design to support an internal group. In this case, a large group of faculty are authoring new teaching materials in teams, and the website provides support and documentation of that process for a number of audiences (authors, team leads, assessment team, project team, external evaluation team, and administrative team).

Sample Figure design and drafting (click to enlarge)


I have a passion for teaching and geoscience education, and have taught high-school Earth Science and Marine Science formally, and have informally taught everywhere else (in coffee shops, while hiking, while leading canoe trips, in the teachers lounge, etc). As a contracting geologist for the National Museum of Natural History, at the Smithsonian Institution, I helped manage and update the Meteorite Research Collection for improved preservation and accessibility, responded to public meteorite identification requests, and helped design educational displays for the exhibit hall. I also have a limited background in geotechnical engineering, where I was mostly involved with landslide mapping, fault trenching, and monitoring public infrastructure.


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