The following biographies demonstrate the rich, comprehensive, and diverse knowledge, skills, and backgrounds that comprise the professional experience and expertise of our team.
Rena Dorph, Ph.D.
Rena provides leadership and support for the Lawrence Hall of Science community as well as for organizations who contract with the Research Group. Rena has worked in the field of educational research and evaluation for over 15 years. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, Rena served as director for research, policy, and technology in the Teacher Education and Professional Development unit of the University of California Office of the President; as an educational consultant for California schools, districts, and county offices of education; as the Lead Researcher and Coordinator for the SB1274 School Restructuring Study based at the University of California, Berkeley; and for the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching at Columbia University/Teachers College in New York City. Rena’s research focuses on the relationship between learning experiences and outcomes, paying consistent attention to issues of equity and impact. Rena received her master’s degree in the sociology of education from Teachers College at Columbia University and her doctorate in Educational Policy, Organization, Measurement, and Evaluation from University of California, Berkeley.
Ardice Hartry, Ph.D.
Ardice has conducted research and evaluation of PK-16 educational and community-based programs for more than 10 years. At the Research Group, she led a statewide study of the current condition of science education in California. In addition, she oversees multiple evaluations of science professional development initiatives and an evaluation of a support program for underrepresented minority students in science disciplines. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, Ardice was a senior researcher with one of the nation’s leading education program evaluation and research firms. There, she led many different research projects, from a randomized control trial of an afterschool reading initiative to an evaluation of a national science education resource center funded by National Science Foundation. She also has been a director of research and evaluation for a large school district in California. She holds a master’s degree in anthropology and received her doctorate in political science from Claremont Graduate University.
Mac Cannady, Ph.D.
Mac provides research design and statistical analysis expertise to several projects within the Research Group. His work aims to improve the internal validity and enhance the effectiveness of quantitative research and evaluation projects. Currently, his work includes investigating pathways and barriers to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, analyzing the effectiveness of professional development programs, and reviewing research on teacher education. Prior to coming to the Lawrence Hall of Science, Mac evaluated several formal and informal educational initiatives, including elementary engineering programs, pre-algebra curriculum and professional development of history teachers. He taught physics to high school students for several years after earning a bachelor's degree in engineering physics from Santa Clara University. Mac received his doctorate in educational research, measurement, and evaluation from Boston College.
Celia Castillo, B.A.
Celia manages and supports a variety of research and evaluation projects within the Research Group by collecting, organizing, tracking, and analyzing data. Celia assists with the recruitment of study participants and contributes to the development of data collection instruments. She also manages, prepares, and submits grants to funding agencies on behalf of the Research Group. Celia received her bachelor's degree in sociology with a minor in interdisciplinary studies in early childhood from the University of California, Berkeley.
Bernadette Chi, Ph.D.
Bernadette has extensive experience in research and evaluation of K-12 educational and community-based programs. She currently is leading multi-year evaluations of National Science Foundation-funded initiatives and other projects focused on elementary teacher professional development in science education, STEM in afterschool and summer settings, and outdoor science and environmental education programs. She is interested particularly in exploring how science education can be made more relevant to students, especially as a means of fostering scientific competence and commitment to environmental and social issues. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, she worked in youth and education program administration, grants management, and program evaluation at the local, state, and national levels. Bernadette received her bachelor's degree in public policy from Stanford University and her master’s degree and doctorate in Educational Policy, Organization, Measurement, and Evaluation from University of California, Berkeley.
Joo Chung, M.S.
Joo assists in survey design, data collection, and quantitative data analysis across a variety of research and evaluation projects. He received his bachelor's degree in psychology from University of California, Berkeley and his master’s degree in statistics from California State University, East Bay.
Michael Davis, Ph.D.
Michael leads research and evaluation efforts related to K-16 mathematics education. Throughout his career, he has taught students of all age groups and from a wide array of racial/ethnic, linguistic, and social backgrounds. Michael is devoted to helping schools more successfully serve all of their students. Because of the role mathematics and science education plays in future education and career opportunities, he has focused his work on these subjects. His research interests include identity, social/emotional functioning, perceptions of learning, and how these areas relate to each other and achievement. Michael received his doctorate in educational psychology from Stanford University.
Lisa Newton, M.A.
Lisa leads and supports research and evaluation projects related to informal science and engineering education, including museum exhibits and out-of-school programs. She enjoys working closely with educators and program developers to think about and improve the alignment of program goals, implementation, and outcomes. She is also interested in examining issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in education, museums, and evaluation practice. Lisa earned her bachelor's degree in anthropology with a minor in education from University of California, Berkeley and her master's degree in museum studies from John F. Kennedy University. Her master’s project focused on culturally responsive evaluation in museums.
Valeria Romero, M.A.
Valeria leads and supports research and evaluation projects related to science professional development initiatives and programs aimed to increase underrepresented minority students in science disciplines. Prior to joining the Research Group, Valeria worked at the Greenlining Institute and the Chicana Latino Student Development Office at University of California, Berkeley, where she was able to address issues of access to education among underrepresented minority and low-income communities. She received her master's degree in educational leadership from Mills College.
Kalie Sacco, B.A.
Kalie works across a variety of projects in the Research Group by supporting participant recruitment, collecting and analyzing data, developing data collection instruments, communicating findings, and providing administrative support to Research Group staff. She also works in the Hall’s Learning Design Group. Before joining the Research Group, Kalie was the Program & Community Manager for the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE), a National Science Foundation-funded resource center for informal science education professionals and stakeholders. Prior to CAISE, she got her start working at the Hall in the Research Group and as the membership manager for the Coalition for Science After School. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and classical civilizations from the University of California, Berkeley.
Vera Zhang, M.S.Ed
Vera supports the research group by collecting data, conducting STEM education related program evaluations (summer camps, field trips, museum visits, etc.), conducting literature reviews, and communicating findings with clients. She is passionate about working with education practitioners to improve formal and informal STEM learning experiences for students. Prior to to working at the Hall, Vera worked for the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions on research projects to elevate minority serving institutions and promote minority students’ success, and worked for a Philadelphia non-profit organization to examine the effectiveness of after-school programs. Vera received her bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in China, and her Master’s of Science degree in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania.