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Lab members at the 2018 Phi Sigma spring banquet. Pictured left to right: Amanda Klingler, Rebekka Darner, Eric Walsh, Kara Baldwin, Rachel Sparks.​​​​

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Current Lab Members

Tanya Josek, Ph.D.

TJosek.pngDr. Josek earned her doctoral degree in entomology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Her dissertation explored the embryology and host-seeking mechanisms of the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis), and she developed and evaluated an NGSS-aligned secondary-level curricular unit on I. scapularris and Lyme disease, which she co-taught with a high school teacher. Dr. Josek began her involvement in the RESIST Lab in 2019 as the Project EDDIE post-doc. In this capacity, she is developing a questionnaire that measures college-level science instructors' pedagogical orientation along a spectrum of instructional approaches from didactic direct, active direct, guided inquiry, to open inquiry. 



Kara Baldwin

Kara_Presenting.JPGKara began the biology doctoral program in 2016, and her passion is curriculum development and building bridges between informal and formal learning settings. Kara's master's thesis focused on teacher motivations for choosing environmental field trip planning, and she is broadly interested in how teachers are implementing the Next Generation Science Standards and how they use community resources to do so. Kara's dissertation examines how pre-service STEM teachers' research experiences influence their understanding of their disciplines' practices (as defined by the NGSS and the CCSS).


Rachel Sparks

Rachel.JPGRachel began the biology graduate program in 2016 after teaching high school science for three years, and transferred to the doctoral program in the fall of 2017. Rachel is interested the conceptual development of evolution in pre-service teachers and students who are not biology majors. Rachel's dissertation investigates an introductory biology course that follows the Teaching for Transformative Experiences in Science model. She is identifying how students' developing evolutionary understanding transforms how they understand natural phenomena outside of class, how they come to appreciate knowledge of evolution, and how they come to actively use their evolutionary understanding outside of class. Rachel is also the graduate student lecturer for BSC 101 and will join the biology teacher education team in spring 2019, teaching one section of BSC 231. 

Eric Walsh

Eric.JPGEric began the master's program in 2018 and is interested in the applications of complex systems theory (CST) and embodied cognition (EC) on undergraduate anatomy instruction. Eric's thesis research investigates how anatomy instruction guided by CST and EC influences how students organize their anatomical knowledge and their appreciation for anatomical knowledge in general. Eric is a lab instructor and head TA for BSC 182: Human Physiology & Anatomy II. This course serves as the context for his research.





Iresha Jayasinghe

Iresha began the master's program in 2018 and is the research assistant for the ADESSA (Asynchronous Discussions to Engage Students in Scientific Argumentation) project. Iresha is interested in conservation education. Her thesis examines the relationships between students' relationship to nature and the quality of scientific argumentation they engage in about environmental issues. 


Amanda Klingler

Amanda2017.JPGAmanda is an undergraduate zoology major expected to graduate in 2020. Amanda starting working in the RESIST Lab during her freshmen year and examined how biology majors evaluate the ubiquitous graphic depicting a chimpanzee transforming into a modern human, using their evolutionary understanding. Amanda presented this work at the 2017 University Research Symposium. After working as one of the ADESSA research assistants, completing an internship at the Miller Park Zoo, and influential REU experiences at Georgetown University and the University of California - Berkeley, Amanda is now completing a study on zoo visitors' relationship to nature for her senior thesis research, in addition to her senior thesis in Dr. Nate Mortimer's lab.



Past Lab Members

​John Jadrich
John.jpgJohn was anthropology who graduated in 2019. John assisted Kara Baldwin in conducting ethnographies of research lab spaces to better understand how undergraduate research experiences contribute to pre-service STEM teachers' understanding of their disciplines' practices.









Britt Speagle

Britt.JPGBritt began participation in our lab as an elementary education major but switched to biology and is expected to graduate in 2021. She was mentored by doctoral student, Rachel Sparks, and investigated how students select and evaluate scientific information regarding socioscientific issues. 






Ranija Turner

Ranija.jpgRanija is a biology teacher education major who will be graduating in 2019. She is excited to begin teaching in the Peoria Public School District. Ranija began working in the RESIST lab in 2017 as a research assistant on the ADESSA project. She developed her own study that investigated scientific literacy among lower-level students who were non-science majors. Ranija presented her researach at the 2018 University Research Symposium.


Sydney Olshak

Sydney (2).jpgSydney is a psychology major expected to graduate in 2021. She was mentored by doctoral student, Rachel Sparks, to investigate pre-service teachers' awareness of and attitudes toward cultural diversity in their future classrooms. 







Julia Martin
Julia2017.jpgJulia investigated variational and transformational explanations of evolutionary phenomena​ in students' written work from a biology course. This work was presented at the University Research Symposium in 2018. Julia has entered the ISU School of Biological Sciences master's program, mentored by Dr. Alysia Mortimer​.






Dyani Delgado

Dyani2017.jpgDyani investigated how preservice elementary teachers develop understanding of the implicit nature of unconscious bias and how such bias emerges in the STEM classroom in the form of diminished teacher expecations for girls and students of color. Dyani is now attending Roosevelt University's Clinical Psychology master's program.



Kristen Corco​ran

Kristen2017.JPGKristen graduated from the biology teacher education program as a Noyce scholar. After completing her Noyce research internship in Dr. Vickie Borowicz's lab​, Kristen joined the RESIST lab as one of the ADESSA research assistants. Kristen is now a high school science teacher in Duplin Early College High School in North Carolina.


Jordan DePerez-Rasmussen

Jordan began the biology master's program in 2015. Jordan's thesis explored biology majors' understanding of the central dogma. Jordan graduated in 2017 and now works at OSF Hospital.

Will Davis

Will joined the lab in 2014 because, as a pre-medical student interested in preventative medicine, he was interested in how people learn. Will conducted a research project that investigated medical educators' perspectives on including evolutionary biology in medical school curricula. Will graduated in 2015 and is attending the University of Tennessee's medical school.

Andrew McDevitt

McDevitt 1.jpgAndrew joined the biology master's program in the fall of 2014. His thesis focused on how field work and other hands-on experiences contribute to motivation toward choosing a career in field-based biology. Andrew successfully defended his thesis in 2016 and is pursuing his doctoral degree at the University of Colorado-Denver.



Elizabeth Quinn

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Lizzie graduated in 2015 with her bachelor's degree in biology. Lizzie worked in the RESIST lab since she was a sophomore and contributed to several projects examining problem-based learning, pre-service teachers' self-efficacy, and the influence of lab activities on students' ability to make evidence-based claims. Lizzie presented her work at the Teaching & Learning Symposium at ISU and the annual National Association for Researchers in Science Teaching conference. Lizzie is now a science teacher at Princeville High School.

Janet Stomberg

Janet.jpgJanet graduated with her master's degree in 2016. Janet's thesis examined how students apply their ecological and evolutionary ideas when solving conservation problems. This work was published in American Biology Teacher



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​Spring 2016 lab members pictured left to right: Rebekka Darner, Andrew McDevitt, Janet Stomberg, and Jordan DePerez-Rasmussen.

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Lab members being silly at the 2017 Phi Sigma spring banquet. Pictured left to right: Jordan DePerez-Rasmussen (MS 2017), Kara Baldwin, Rachel Sparks, Rebekka Darner.


Lab members gather for our annual game night, preceding the Phi Sigma winter potluck. Bottom row, left to right: Rebekka Darner, Karina Soto-Darner (honorary lab member). 2nd row, left to right: Dyani Delgado, Julia Martin, Rachel Sparks. 3rd row, left to right: Sydney Olshak, Kristen Corcoran, Ashley Waring (honorary lab member). 4th row, left to right: Amanda Klingler, Kara Baldwin, Ranija Turner, Eric Walsh.