Research Projects

“Researching Equity, Access, & Learning in CS Education (REAL-CS)”

Director of Research and Co-Principal Investigator; University of California, Los Angeles

Funded by: the National Science Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In an effort to keep equity at the center of “Computer Science for All” efforts across the nation, this project seeks to understand the interactions between structural inequalities (access to courses, teachers), belief systems (stereotypes about what type of student can excel in CS), classroom pedagogy, and larger educational policies impacting which students do (and do not) learn computer science. This project is building research-practice partnerships across three US regions (West Coast, Deep South, Northeast) to focus on the experiences/voices of first-time CS high school students who are underrepresented in the field. We wish to explore how students’ CS learning experiences relate to their senses of engagement, agency, and identity, with the goal of informing efforts in broadening participation in computing.

To learn more, please visit this website.




Associate Researcher; Indiana University School of Education

Funded by: Google

While researchers advance work in understanding various aspects of Makerspaces and the increase of Making in education, there is a lack of robust tools that can be used for research and evaluation of these experiences. This project involves creating suites of tools—including surveys, assessments, and observation protocols—that provide educators, researchers, and program administrators with information to evaluate Maker programs/experiences with youth. The five key target areas of evaluation, based on formal and informal maker educators’ survey and interview data, include: creativity/problem solving, critical thinking, problem solving, attitudinal changes, agency/independence, and involvement in science and engineering practices.

To learn more, please visit this website.



“Research + Practice Collaboratory”

Researcher and Co-Principal Investigator of Exploratorium efforts; Collaboration between the Exploratorium of San Francisco; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Colorado, Boulder; and the Education Development Center

Funded by: the National Science Foundation

Too frequently, educational research is conceived and designed in isolation from teaching practice. Furthermore, communities of research and practice have distinct cultural norms, languages, and routines that can get in the way of productive communication. The Research + Practice Collaboratory experiments with ways to support mutual cultural exchange between these communities, in order to produce new insights and strategies for tackling pressing problems in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

To learn more, please visit this website.



“The California Tinkering Afterschool Network”

Senior Researcher & Director; Collaboration between the Exploratorium of San Francisco, Techbridge of Oakland, Discovery Cube, Community Science Workshop of Fresno, and Environmental Science Workshop of Watsonville

Funded by: the National Science Foundation & S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

There is growing interest in how Making and Tinkering can support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning, especially in afterschool contexts. This project brought together a research-practice partnership seeking to understand what learning looks like for youth historically underrepresented in STEM fields when afterschool Making and Tinkering programs focus on equity-oriented pedagogical practices, and what professional development supports informal educators need to build and sustain such programs. Together, our partnership created a series of resources for educators as well as publications related to our project.

To learn more, please visit this website.


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“Exploring Computer Science Project”

Researcher, Postdoctoral Research Fellow; University of California, Los Angeles

Funded by: the National Science Foundation

The Exploring Computer Science Project is dedicated to democratizing access to computing education for all students. For over a decade, our team has been researching the state of computer science education while developing evidence-based high school computer science curricula and teacher professional development programs. The introductory high school course we created (“Exploring Computer Science”) was first piloted in 6 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2008. Since then, the course has rapidly expanded to 25 states in the US and Puerto Rico, including the seven largest school districts in the nation.

To learn more, please visit this website.