The following team member 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 from the University of California, Berkeley in Educational Policy, Organization, Measurement, and Evaluation.
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 is leading 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 from Boston College in Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation.
Celia Castillo, B.A.
Celia supports lead researchers on multiple projects, doing qualitative work such as data collection, data analysis and assisting with the distribution of reports. Celia received her Bachelor of Arts 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 a multiyear evaluation of a National Science Foundation-funded initiative, as well as other projects, related to professional development and science curriculum development for afterschool settings. 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 from the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Education in Policy, Organizations, Measurement, and Evaluation.
Joo Chung, B.A.
Joo assists in survey design, data collection, and quantitative data analysis across a variety of research and evaluation projects. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and is interested in research methodology and statistical analysis.
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.
Yael Galinson, Ph.D.
Yael is the research coordinator for the Science Learning Activation Lab at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Yael has worked in the field of education as a researcher, classroom teacher, and teacher educator. Her areas of expertise include language acquisition and literacy development with a particular focus on multilingual populations. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, Yael taught deaf students at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont and bilingual students in the Oakland Unified School District. Most recently, she was a supervisor and lecturer for the Developmental Teacher Education Program at the University of California, Berkeley. Yael received her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.
Shirley Lee, M.A.
Shirley began her career in the classroom, teaching prealgebra and algebra to middle school students, first in New York City and then in Cambridge, MA. While teaching, Shirley became interested in how children understand the number system and connect their knowledge to new mathematical ideas. Prior to joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, she worked at an educational research firm focusing on standards-based mathematics curriculum implementation and teacher professional development. Currently at the Research Group, Shirley researches teaching practices, curriculum, and classroom environments that support teaching and learning in science and mathematics classrooms. Shirley received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cornell University and her master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University.
Erik coordinates and provides quality control support for data entry activities. In addition, Erik manages large data sets and works with the Research Group and other centers within the Lawrence Hall of Science to provide recommendations for developing the technical and formatting aspects of scan-ready templates for research and evaluation projects.
Lisa Newton, B.A.
Lisa supports a variety of qualitative research and administrative projects. She assists with data collection, data analysis, and project coordination. Lisa received her Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology with a minor in education from the University of California, Berkeley.
Scott Randol, Ph.D.
Scott leads research and evaluation efforts related to science education in informal environments. He has been involved in the study, evaluation, and practice of education in museums, zoos, aquariums, and science centers for more than 10 years. Scott conducts various educational and visitor research studies and serves as lead evaluator on several nationally funded projects. His research interests include the development of early scientific processes, inquiry in informal settings, the impacts of mediated experiences on visitors, and innovative methods for assessing the visitor experience. Scott received his master’s degree in physics from University of Washington, Seattle and his doctorate in science education from the University of California, Berkeley.
Leah Reisman, B.A.
Leah contributes to various aspects of the research process, including protocol development, data collection, data analysis, and project coordination. She received her bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago, and she worked in education and visitor research in a variety of museums including the Field Museum in Chicago and San Francisco's de Young Museum. Leah has also designed and conducted independent research at a science museum in Chicago and an art museum in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her interests include qualitative research methods and the intrinsic impacts of informal learning experiences in museums and science centers.
Valeria Romero, M.A.
Valeria 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 the 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.
Juna Z. Snow, Ph.D.
Juna possesses a formal background in environmental science and 15 years of experience in education as a curriculum designer, technology developer, and instructional trainer and teacher in formal and informal settings. During the past 10 years, Juna has honed her expertise in applied social science research including learning assessment, outcomes measurement, and program evaluation. Juna currently serves the American Educational Research Association as the Chair of the Research on Evaluation Special Interest Group and is a reviewer for the American Evaluation Association. At the Research Group, Juna contributes as a methodologist and project leader on studies with innovation in education as a primary focus. She received her master's degree in ecology and her doctorate in science and technology in education with specialization in program evaluation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Maia Werner-Avidon, M.A.
Maia has extensive experience in museum research, exhibit development, and project management and has worked in the science museum field for more than 10 years. At the Research Group, she evaluates and researches a range of informal science education exhibits and projects. She also managed a nationwide curriculum development field trial and efficacy study involving over 300 teachers. Maia earned her bachelor’s degree from Macalester College and Master of Arts degree in museum studies from John F. Kennedy University, and previously served as the Deborah A. Carey Research and Evaluation Intern at the Institute for Learning Innovation.