Current Projects

Motivation in Science among Students with Learning Disabilities

Through funding from the National Science Foundation’s CAREER program (2018-2023), we are investigating the role of motivational beliefs in predicting and supporting participation, persistence, and success of students with learning disabilities in science coursework and careers. We are partnering with middle school and high school science and special education teachers to identify and implement approaches to support positive motivational beliefs for all learners.

Productive Struggle in Science Learning

With  Museum of Science, Boston and Gabbie Rappolt-Schlichtmann

The current phase of an extended line of research looking at designing learning environments with emotion and engagement in mind, this project focuses on how science museum exhibits can be designed to promote the experience of “productive struggle” – learning experiences that are challenging and fruitful. Funded by the National Science Foundation, we are developing both a theoretical model of productive struggle and a set of design guidelines for informal learning spaces.

Social-Emotional Learning for Students with Disabilities

Social-emotional learning programs and curricula are increasingly common in schools. Through conducting an extensive systematic review, we are examining attention to students with disabilities and inclusive practices in such curricula.

Stigma among Adolescents with Learning Disabilities

With Gabbie Rappolt-Schlichtmann

We know that students labeled as having learning disabilities are at risk for negative emotional experiences and can be vulnerable to self-concept challenges related to their diagnosis. But, we also know that there is great variability in individual students’ experiences. In other stigmatized populations, individual experiences of stigma, or stigma consciousness, is an important predictor of academic and life outcomes. Our work thus far has focused on developing means to assess students’ stigma consciousness related to their learning disability. Moving forward, we will be considering how school environments foster varying experiences of stigma consciousness and the relationship between such experiences and outcomes.