Graduate Programs

On Campus Science Education Ph.D. Students

Julia Alexander

Julia Alexander (Entered 2012)
I started my teaching career at Columbia Public Schools, as an elementary science specialist which I did from 1999 through 2009. During that time, I received my Master’s degree in Science Education from the University of Missouri. I am currently teaching seventh grade science at Smithon Middle School while pursuing my doctoral degree. My area of emphasis at right now is writing in the science content area. I would love to work with teachers in some capacity, either in curriculum or professional development, so I am still unsure what my area of research will be. I enjoy Mizzou football, and basketball games which I attend with my husband (Steve) of 34 years, and hiking in our beautiful state parks in Missouri. I also enjoy spending time with my two grown sons, and my other family members in our Michigan summer home.

Ellen Barnett

Ellen Barnett (Entered 2011)
After earning a B.S. in pre-professional zoology and an M.S.Ed. in secondary science education from Northwest Missouri State University, I taught for eight years. I enjoyed every day from my first nervous moments teaching seventh grade science to my last years teaching high school biology. I particularly enjoyed working with pre-service teachers as a mentor teacher with MU’s SMAR2T program, and entered the doctoral program with plans to become a science methods professor. I love to read, swim, try new foods, travel, and spend time with my wonderful husband, and two beautiful children by whom I am so blessed!

Shannon Burcks

Shannon Burcks (Entered 2010)
I earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a M.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Missouri State University. During my Master’s program I taught Introduction to Biomedical Science labs and Physiology labs. After completing my Masters I worked at the University of Missouri in a research lab for five years. During that time I began teaching online and hybrid biology courses. In this format, I have taught Environmental Science, Introduction to Biology and Human Anatomy. I am interested in how students make decisions on socio-scientific issues, and how technology can be used to address these issues. I enjoy baking, reading, watching movies, and spending time with my husband, Chris and two daughters, Alyssa and Hailey.

Mustafa Cansiz

Mustafa Cansiz
I earned my B.S. degree from science teaching program at Middle East Technical University in Turkey. Same year, I started my integrated PhD program at the same department. I also have research assistantship at METU. I am visiting scholar for a year (until August, 2013) and very happy to be here at Science Ed at MU. I am interested in integrating historical materials into classroom environment. In my free times, I love to see new places with my friends and especially with my wife.

Nurcan Cansiz

Nurcan Cansiz
I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Science Education from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. After that I began integrated Ph.D. program in elementary education. At the same time I work as a research assistant in Middle East Technical University. My assistant courses changes for each semester. My interests are socioscientific reasoning and argumentation. Here, my status is a visiting scholar. I will be studying with you for a year till to August 15, 2013. I love reading, walking, visiting new places and meeting new people.

Gina Ceylan

Gina Ceylan (Entered 2010)
Hello! I’m a blind doctoral student here at MUSEC, and I aspire to teach geoscience at the university level, and communicate it to the public through outreach. I earned my BS in Geology at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and have an MS in marine geophysics from Mizzou. I have a fascination for Earth Science, and a strong commitment to expanding scientific and educational frontiers through non-visual, adaptive approaches to pursue and share my knowledge. I love appreciating life through a unique perspective, traveling, exploring, listening to music (preferably live, or on vinyl), audiobooks, running, camping. I try to come indoors only when its absolutely necessary.

Ya-Wen Cheng

Ya-Wen Cheng (Entered 2007)
I earned my BA degree in Management Information System in Taiwan. In the last two years of my undergraduate studies, I designed and participated in a computer-based learning system which was focused on elementary science. It was a turning point when I decided to change my major from business to education. I received my MEd in Educational Technology from MU. I am interested in applying educational technology in science education to help teachers and students to learn science more effectively. I love traveling, finding fossil, reading and cooking in my free time.

Suleyman Cite

Suleyman Cite (Entered 2011)
I earned my B. A. in Elementary Science Education (specifically for 6-8 grades) from Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey in 2007. After graduation, I was awarded a scholarship to pursue my graduate education in the US. Then, I earned my masters in Science Education from University of Missouri in 2011. My interests include problem solving, argumentation, technology in science education, and nature of science. My long-term goal is to get a faculty position emphasizing on research in science education. In my free time, I like watching historical films and hanging out with my friends.

Jaimie Foulk

Jaimie Foulk (Entered 2012)
I hold a BS in Food Science & Human Nutrition and an MS in Education, and I worked as a clinical dietitian and nutrition educator before entering the education field. I taught high school science for ten years, in both traditional and online classrooms, participating in professional development programs for science teachers each summer. In 2009 I joined the staff of MU’s Physics First program, where I work as a curriculum editor, PD instructor and classroom coach for high school freshman physics teachers, and I am now involved in pre-service teacher preparation, as well. I am interested in making research accessible to in-service teachers through reform-based teacher development activities, especially in the area of classroom assessment. My personal interests include heirloom gardening, cooking and baking, attending concerts and traveling with my husband and children.

Kemal Izci

Kemal Izci (Entered 2009)
I graduated in 2006 from a chemistry teaching program at Selcuk University in Konya, Turkey with a dual degree: Bachelor of Science and Master of Education (B.Sc. & M.Ed.). Afterwards, I started my M.Sc. degree in organic chemistry at Selcuk University. I did not complete this program because the Turkish Ministry of Education awarded me a scholarship to attend MU to earn a doctoral degree in science education. I received one year of English education at the University of Philadelphia before attending. I’ve also taught one year of high school chemistry. I am thus interested in the professional development of high school teachers, as well as the use of educational technologies in science education. In my free time, I like to travel, play soccer and table tennis, read science related books, and spend time with my friends and family.

Eun LeeEun Lee (Entered 2010)
I received my BA and MA in Psychology from Yonsei University in Korea. I worked as an elementary teacher for several years in Korea. After I earned M.Ed in Elementary Education from MU, I entered the doctoral program in Science Education. My interests include pre- and in-service elementary teacher education, curriculum development for exceptional students, and assessment development for the Nature of Science. I am also a managing editor for the Journal of Elementary Science Education. When not busy with school, I enjoy spending time with my four wonderful children.

Michele LeeMichele Lee (Entered 2004)
I am a doctoral student minoring in educational policy who came to MU with teaching experience at the elementary and high school levels. I also was an instructor in the Department of Teacher Preparation at The Johns Hopkins University and a professional developer for Project 2061, the science, mathematics, and technology education reform initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). I hold an Ed.M. in Learning and Teaching from Harvard University and a B.A. in Biological Sciences and English from Wellesley College. My reseach interest is science teacher education policies. I was drawn to the numerous research, teaching, and learning opportunities that the MU science education department affords to graduate students and am delighted to be a part of its learning community.

Nicholas Linke

Nicholas Linke (Entered 2012)
After completing my undergraduate experience at MU with a dual major in Biology and Philosophy, I took a year to find my direction. During that year, I substitute taught in the schools around Columbia and found my affinity for teaching. The next year, I returned to obtain a masters through the SMARRT program at MU. Now, after three years of teaching in Vandalia, MO, I have returned to MU once again with interests in evolution education, bioethics of socio-scientific issues, and the nature of science. In my spare moments, I like to read, paint, cook, and write fiction. I also love to spend time watching shows with my wife, Kristina, and playing with my son, Bryson.

Deepika Menon

Deepika Menon (Entered 2008)
I graduated from my undergraduate program with a dual degree: Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education (B.Sc. & B.Ed.) from the Regional Institute of Education in Bhubaneswar, India. I then completed an MS in physics at Guru Nanak Dev University. I was lucky to be selected by a public school committee in Punjab India where I taught science in grades K-5 (general science) and 6-12 (physics). During five years of K-12 teaching, I realized that students held a quantitative view of learning science. This analysis prompted me to complete my MS in education at Punjab University. I am proud to be a doctoral student in science education at MU, which is like a dream come true.

Jay Meyers

Jay Meyers (Entered 2008)
I have been the secondary science coordinator for the St. Joseph school district since 1999. In this position I coordinate secondary science curriculum writing and revision projects, develop and administer professional development opportunities for secondary science teachers, direct the Jr. High Mid America Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and supervise benchmark test development for all science courses in grades 7-12. My professional interest is to work with pre-service science teachers at a university as well as teach undergraduate biology classes. My research interests are in the areas of inquiry and instructional strategies related to inquiry. My hobbies include hunting, fishing, and camping with the family. I especially enjoy watching my daughters compete in gymnastics and my son compete in football and baseball.

Chris Murakami

Chris Murakami (Entered 2010)
I was born and raised in Castro Valley, CA, a suburb in the East San Francisco bay area. I earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California, where I was fortunate enough to study at the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies on Catalina Island. After graduation, I joined Teach For America and taught 8th grade science for three years at the California Academy for Liberal Studies in North East Los Angeles. I am interested in finding ways to use science education to address food insecurity, childhood obesity, climate change, peak oil, fresh water shortages, and the achievement gap. In my free time I enjoy gardening, cooking, playing guitar and reading.

Nilay Muslu

Nilay Muslu (Entered 2011)
Merhaba! I'm from Turkey. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree integrated from the Master's Program Secondary School Science and Mathematics Education (Physics Education) from Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey. I was supported with a full time scholarship from Ministry of National Education in Turkey, for my Master's degree at University of Missouri, Science Education Center. My interests are formative assessment, science teacher learning and development and physics education. In my spare time, I enjoy watching movies and spending time with friends.

Enrique Manuel Pareja

Enrique Manuel Pareja (Entered 2004)
I'm a Biology graduate and have been working in Science Education for the past ten years in Peru. My work has been in three areas: Middle School and High School Science (IGCSE), Higher Level Chemistry and Biology (International Baccalaureate), and High School Curriculum Development and Teacher Training, my research interest is science teacher learning. My personal interests are reading, traveling and cooking.

Morgan Presley

Morgan Presley (Entered 2011)
I received a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from Lyon College in Arkansas and a Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology from Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. During graduate school, I taught Biology for Education majors and enjoyed teaching so much that I decided to pursue it as a career. After graduating from MSU, I taught Anatomy & Physiology and Human Nutrition online at a community college full-time for 3 years. I decided to come to MU because I wanted to learn more about teaching science at the college level. Along with teaching and learning, I enjoy drawing and painting as well as outdoor activities such as canoeing, hiking and diving. I also enjoy swing, ballroom and Latin dancing.

Tina M. Roberts

Tina M. Roberts (Entered 2006)
I received both my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and M.S. degree in Physiology from MU. I am currently a Senior Research Specialist in Medical Pharmacology and Physiology and I co-teach an annual Advanced Placement Biology Summer Institute for Truman State University. I have over 10 years experience training undergraduates in a biomedical research laboratory setting. My interests include professional development for high school biology teachers, undergraduate research, and problem based learning. I share my free time with a husband, two children, two cats, and a chocolate lab.

 D Schaffer

D Schaffer (Entered 2008)
I recently retired after teaching science for over 25 years at the secondary level. I have a BPE from Purdue University and MEd from Indiana State University with an emphasis in Science Education. My research interests include science teacher development in the Earth Sciences and the development of scientific misconceptions. After graduation, I plan to continue my research, write a textbook for high school Earth Science, and teach science methods at the university level. In my free time, I like to be with my family and to garden.

Somnath Sinha

Somnath Sinha (Entered 2009)
I am from the northeastern state of Jharkhand in India. I completed my master’s degree both in science and education. I am still undecided on what I want to do in the future, but am considering either a faculty position at an institution of higher education or a research and service position with an educational foundation. I appreciate the friendly and supportive faculty, staff, and positive learning environment in the MU Science Ed department. In my free time, I enjoy movies and music.

Susan R. Smith

Rena Smith (Entered 2007)
I have a B.S. in Elementary Education with a Middle School emphasis from Missouri State University and earned my MS in Science Education from Northwest Missouri State University (NWMSU) in 2003. I have taught for 11 years, grades 3 - 8 before experiencing professional development through the State of Missouri’s STARR teacher program and the PRISM professional development project out of NWMSU. I share my free time with a husband, two children and my scrapbooks.

Parker Stuart


Parker Stuart (Entered 2010)
I earned a B.S. in Biology with a biomedical emphasis from the University of Northern Iowa in 2003. I came to the realization that Medical school was not something I wanted to pursue, so I spent two years at a community college in the Student Success Center and discovered that I wanted to be a teacher. To do this, I received my M.A. in Biology from the University of Northern Iowa in 2008. I investigated the Intelligent Design Movement’s faulty claims that it is scientific and should be taught in high school science classrooms. During my master’s work I served as a T.A. in multiple labs such as Anatomy and Physiology and Vertebrate Anatomy. I also spent three years at UNI as an adjunct professor teaching major and non-major classes in the biology department. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy watching movies and have the ability to name a movie after seeing only a minute or two of it. I also love traveling with my girlfriend to foreign countries.

Nai-En Tang

Nai-En Tang (Entered 2007)
I received my undergraduate degree in Physics from National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and my master’s degree in Electrophysics from National Chiao Tung University. During my university time, I also attended the teacher training program and learned Education. I have experience teaching physics in senior high school in Taiwan. I am very glad that I have the opportunity to study science education at MU and want to expand my knowledge in order to help science students in Taiwan.

Emily WalterEmily Walter (Entered 2008)
I have a B.S. in Biology from Iowa State University and an M.S. in Biology from Western Illinois University. My Master’s research was on elephant cognition using a match-to-sample methodology. I am now shifting my focus to human learning, with an interest in teaching college level biology, especially for non-majors. I am also interested in the use of technology in the classroom and techniques for inspiring effective learning in young adults. Eventually I would like a faculty position teaching biology at a small liberal arts college. I enjoy playing video games and board games, anime, animals, and spending time with my husband, Clint and daughter, Lily.

Off Campus Ph.D. Students 

Bobby Hughes      Laura Zinzser      Linda Lacy      Gerard Ritzka