Research interests


While grading is a central part of most formalized systems of higher education today, grades are often misaligned with the learning outcomes important to STEM instructors. Grades promote external motivation to learn rather than a learning-focused or internalized motivation. Furthermore, grades have been shown to enforce societal-level inequities. Alternative structures are a growing focus of study. One approach is ungrading, the practice of de-emphasizing or removing grades altogether in formal classroom settings. Today, “ungrading” serves as an umbrella term encompassing a variety of approaches and structures to feedback and evaluation. I use an ungrading approach in all my classes based on student self-reflection and self-evaluation, and I study ungrading in general to understand how it works and to improve how it is done.

Equity in STEM

I believe that equity issues are inseparable from the physics content in my syllabi and in my classroom. As such, I strive to incorporate an awareness of and a sensitivity to systemic oppression in all areas of my research and teaching, as well as a moral obligation to address it. I also recognize the essential importance of self-education and collective learning on issues of oppression. I am particularly interested in the experiences of people with LGBT+ identities in STEM culture. 

I am a co-founder of CU-Prime, a student-run diversity-focused organization at CU Boulder, and a Core Organizer in The Access Network, a national network of such organizations across the US. I am a member of the Committee on Diversity in Physics of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Experimental Modeling

Modeling, as specified by the Modeling Framework for Experimental Physics, is a central learning outcome for physics laboratory classes (especially at the upper-division level). I was central in the development of MAPLE, the Modeling Assessment for Physics Laboratory Experiments, a research-based assessment instrument to measure proficiency with the Modeling Framework.

Measurement Uncertainty

Measurement uncertainty is a common learning goal in introductory physics lab courses, and serves as the foundation for much of experimental physics learning. I was central in the development of SPRUCE, the Survey of Physics Reasoning on Uncertainty Concepts in Experiments, a research-based assessment instrument to measure proficiency with concepts and practices connected to measurement uncertainty.