Ph.D. in Education, 2015
School of Education
January 1, 2011
Experiences at Informal Science Center Led to Doctoral Work in Learning, Cognition, and Development
Jennifer Long is a Ph.D. student specializing in Learning, Cognition, and Development. Prior to entering the Ph. D. program, Jennifer worked as an instructional designer in the Center for Cooperation in Research and Education (CORE) located at an informal science center. As the program director and designer, she led design teams that developed programs to address challenging educational issues by building effective, efficient bridges between the research and education communities. Through multiple projects, CORE developed solutions to improve science education by building partnerships between university research and formal and informal education.
Because of her work at an informal science center, one of Jennifer’s main areas of interest is in the informal environments that are intentionally designed to teach about science and the physical and natural world. Each year, tens of millions of people, young and old, explore and learn about science by visiting informal science centers, participating in informal science programs, and using media to explore their interests. This learning is increasingly recognized as an important component of our national educational system, operating in support of formal education and as a part of a life-long, life-wide, life-deep educational continuum. It is in these informal spaces—natural history museums, science centers, zoos, botanical gardens, nature centers, aquariums, and planetariums—that people can pursue and develop knowledge that supports both their personal interest and our national education agenda.
In addition to her interest in informal science education, Jennifer is currently involved in three research projects. First, she is working with Dr. Elizabeth van Es to investigate the role that university supervisors play in apprenticing pre-service teachers into a community of ambitious teaching. Second, she is involved in a ST Math, a collaborative project among UC Irvine, the MIND Research Institute, and the Orange County Department of Education, designed to study the effects of an interactive math software based on spatial-temporal concepts of learning. As a member of the project team, Jennifer will study the effects of fidelity of program implementation on learning outcomes. Finally, she is the working with researchers in the Department of Education and the Department of Informatics as the educational designer for Karunatree, a story-driven web and mobile game designed to cultivate children’s scientific understanding of distributed causal networks in the environment.