The Team

The CESE team and many of our teachers at a Professional development workshop in East Lansing, Michigan
The CESE team and many of our teachers at a Professional development workshop in East Lansing, Michigan

Principal Investigator – United States

Barbara Schneider
Barbara Schneider is the John A. Hannah University Distinguished Professor in the College of Education and the Department of Sociology. She uses a sociological lens to understand societal conditions and interpersonal interactions that create norms and values for enhancing human and social capital. Her research focuses on how the social contexts of schools and families influence the academic and social well-being of adolescents as they move into adulthood. In her career, Schneider has also played a significant role in the development of research methods for the real- time measurement of learning experiences. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the National Academy of Education, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and, most recently, was elected to the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. In 2017, she received an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Helsinki. Schneider is the principal investigator of the College Ambition Program (CAP), a study that tests a model for promoting a STEM college-going culture in high schools that encourages adolescents to pursue STEM majors in college and in their careers. She is also the principal investigator of Crafting Engagement in Science Environments, an international high school study that tests the impact of Project Based Learning on student academic, social and emotional factors in science classes. Professor Schneider has published 15 books and more than 100 articles and reports on family, social contexts of schooling and sociology of knowledge.

Co-Principal Investigator – United States

Joseph Krajcik
Joseph Krajcik is Lappan-Phillips Professor of Science Education and director of the CREATE for STEM Institute. A former high school chemistry and physical science teacher, Krajcik spent 21 years at the University of Michigan before coming to MSU in 2011. During his career, he has focused on working with science teachers to reform science teaching practices to promote students’ engagement in and learning of science. He was principal investigator on a National Science Foundation project that aims to design, develop and test the next generation of middle school curriculum materials to engage students in obtaining deep understandings of science content and practices. He served as head of the Physical Science Design Team to develop the Next Generation Science Standards. Krajcik, along with Professor Angela Calabrese Barton from MSU, served as co-editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Krajcik has authored and co-authored curriculum materials, books, software and over 100 manuscripts, and makes frequent presentations at international, national and regional conferences. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has served as president of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), from which he received the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education Through Research Award in 2010.

Principal Investigator – Finland

Katariina Salmela-Aro
Katariina Salmela-Aro is a Professor of Educational Sciences and Psychology at University of Helsinki, Finland, Marie Curie Visiting professor ETH Zurich, Visiting Professor Institute of Education University College London, Australian Catholic University Sydney, and School of Education in Michigan State University. She is the President of the European Association for Developmental Psychology, and previous Secretary General (first female) International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD) and expert in OECD Education2030. She is director of several ongoing longitudinal studies among young people: FinEdu, LEAD, Gaps. Her key research themes are school engagement, burnout, optimal learning moments, experience sampling, life-span model of motivation and related interventions. Member of Finnish Science and Letters and Associate Editor in the European Psychologist journal. She has published over 250 papers and received several national/international grants from Academy of Finland, and EU Coordinator Marie Curie post-doc grant. She is a member of two large-scale EU granted studies, EuroCohort aiming to development of a Europe wide longitudinal survey of child and youth well-being and ySKILLS focusing on digitalization and youth.

Co-Principal Investigator – Finland

Jari Lavonen
Jari Lavonen is a Professor of Science Education at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has been a director of Department of Teacher Education and a Vice-Dean and currently a director of National Teacher Education Forum and and a chair of the Finnish Matricular Examination Board. He has been researching science and technology and teacher education for the last 31 years and published about 150 refereed scientific papers in journals and books, 140 other articles and 160 books for science teacher education and science education. He has been active in international consulting, for example, involving the renewal of teacher education in Norway, Peru and South Africa.

Professor Collaborators

I-Chien Chen

I-Chien Chen received a Ph.D. in Sociology and worked as an assistant professor in the College of Education at the Michigan State University. Her research uses sociological lens to understand how social contexts, interpersonal relationships and intervention programs enhance students’ educational expectations, social emotional learning, college-going decisions, and career pathways into adulthood.
Her research centers on the ways to make educational opportunities, resources, and information accessible to students, particularly for those who are historically underrepresented in the educational system. She draws on social-psychological and sociocultural perspectives to understand learning opportunities and inequality by applying the quantitative method, causal inference, textual data analysis, and social network analysis as toolkits to understand education-related behavior of decision-making, collaborative learning, and career pathways.

Tang Xin

Tang Xin is an associate professor at the School of Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He also holds the title of Docent (equivalent to Associate Professor) at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, and at the Faculty of Education and Psychology, University of Jyvaskyla.
His research topics include motivation and engagement, academic wellbeing, social-emotional development, and teaching practices. So far, he has over 30 peer-reviewed publications. As a lead author, his work has been appeared in highly regarded journals, such as Learning and Instruction, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Teaching and Teacher Education, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
He is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence (SSCI-Q1), Educational Psychology (SSCI-Q2), Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (SSCI-Q2), and Frontiers in Psychology (SSCI-Q2).

Yi-Ling Cheng

Yi-Ling Cheng is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Kaohsiung Medical University . She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Measurement and Quantification from Michigan State University.
Her research focuses on test development, cognitive diagnostic multidirectional testing, test response theory, and the relationship between spatial and numerical ability.

Graduate Students

Lydia Bradford

Lydia Bradford is an advanced graduate student in Measurement and Quantitative Methods at Michigan State University College of Education. She graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in Romance languages and Global Health with a minor in Economics in 2017. Before starting her doctorate, Lydia was a high school chemistry and economics teacher which has led her to an interest in science education; however, her main research interest lies in statistical modeling, analysis, research design, mediation and moderation effects, and causal inference within the context of educational research. In the fall of 2019, Lydia began working on two separate science curriculum interventions, Crafting Engaging Science Environments and Multiple Literacies in Project Based Learning. In these projects, she has participated in data construction and data management as well as various statistical analysis of both the main treatment effects and other exploratory analysis and applications of machine learning for scoring teacher observations.
Data Manager and Analyst

Kayla Bartz

Kayla Bartz is a doctoral student in the Measurement and Quantitative Methods program at Michigan State. Her research interest includes test development and studying the psychometric properties of varying assessments and surveys.
Psychometrician

Katie Ward

Katie Ward is a Ph.D. student in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education program at Michigan State University. Her research interest is in the intersection of language, culture, and faith in culturally and linguistically diverse Catholic schools.


Claire Smith

Claire Smith is a junior undergraduate student studying Social Relations and Policy in the James Madison College at Michigan State University. She also has minors in Portuguese, Educational Studies, and Latin American and Carribean Studies. Her primary research interest is equitable higher education access.