Transforming science education through research-driven innovation



Susan Gomez Zwiep


Dr. Susan Gomez Zwiep joined BSCS in 2020 as a Senior Science Educator. She began her career in science education as a middle school science teacher in Los Angeles, where she spent over 12 years working with English learners in urban schools. From 2005-2020, Susan served as faculty in the Science Education Department at California State University, Long Beach where she taught courses in the undergraduate STEM pathway, teacher preparation and the graduate program in Science Education. Susan was also a Regional Director for the K-12 [email protected], where she contributed to high-quality professional development programs that supported K12 educators in the areas of science and mathematics, including the CA NGSS Early Implementer Initiative.

Dr. Gomez Zwiep consistently works toward establishing equitable access for all students to rigorous, inquiry-based science instruction and supporting teachers in their journey to become advocates for students, science education, and their own professional development. Her research has focused on effective models for professional development programs for both K-12 teachers and university faculty, the integrated content designs and teaching models that meet the needs of diverse learners.

She has been published in both research and practitioner journals such as Science and Children, Science Scope, the Journal of Science Teacher Education and the International Journal of Mathematics and Science Education. In 2011, Susan shared the Innovations in Teaching Science Teachers award from the Association of Science Teacher Education for her joint conference presentation “What about those left behind? A template for developing quality science lessons for English language learners”.

Susan holds a B.A. in Integrated Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA in Education from Whittier College, and a PhD in Science Education from the University of Southern California.

When Susan is not working, she enjoys walking her two dogs, spending time with her husband and three daughters, and enjoying the pairing of an excellent meal with a fine wine.

Christopher Wilson, PhD is Director of the Research Division and a Senior Research Scientist at BSCS Science Learning. He joined BSCS in 2007 from the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science in the College of Education at Michigan State University, where he received his PhD in science education. He also has a Master’s degree in Evolutionary Biology from MSU, and a BS in Zoology from the University of Liverpool in England.

His current research focuses on the assessment of teacher and student learning in science education, the impact of lesson analysis based professional development on teacher and student outcomes, the application of automated scoring techniques to the measurement of teacher PCK and student argumentation, and the development and impact of three-dimensional curriculum materials.

Christopher is currently PI on several current NSF educational research grants, including STeLLA High School (#1503280), Argulex (#1561150), PCKlex (#1437173), and MBER (#1813538). Christopher has published his research in leading journals including the Journal for Research in Science Teaching, the American Educational Research Journal, and the Journal for Research on Educational Effectiveness. He is an active member of the National Association for Research on Science Teaching (NARST), and serves on the editorial board for the Journal for Research on Science Teaching.

Originally from England, Christopher enjoys following Liverpool Football Club, catching up on EastEnders, and arguing about Brexit.

Molly Stuhlsatz is a Research Scientist and the Assistant Director at BSCS Science Learning. She has dedicated over 15 years to leading research and evaluation projects at the organization. As the co-chair of the Equity and Social Justice working group, she is also deeply invested in BSCS’s work toward a more equitable, inclusive, and just future for all science teachers and learners.

Currently, Molly serves as PI on an NSF study assessing the efficacy of Data Nuggets, innovative student activities that integrate quantitative reasoning skills in secondary science classrooms. This partnership with the Beacon Center for the Study of Evolution in Action at Michigan State University extends a successful NSF GK-12 project to a new phase of research and dissemination. She also serves as co-PI on two NSF studies that uses lexical analysis and machine learning models to score teacher pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and student argumentation assessments. These projects include collaborations with Michigan State and Stanford University. This work has the potential to provide an alternative to time- and resource-consuming hand-scoring of open-ended assessment items. Molly is also the co-PI on a study of the Model Based Biology (MBER) curriculum materials, a collaboration between BSCS and UC Davis.

Molly holds a BA in Sociology and an MA in Sociology from the University of Colorado. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her daughters Adeline and Eleanor, gardening, knitting, and riding vintage Vespa and Lambretta motor scooters.

Aleigh Raffelson joined BSCS as a Marketing and Development Assistant in October 2001 and currently serves as Executive Office Manager and Assistant to the Executive Director. With an extensive background in strategic marketing and database design and management, her experience includes a wide variety of industries including semiconductor, banking, wholesale food, and information solutions.

Aleigh has a B.A. in Marketing and Business Management. Prior to living in Colorado Springs, she lived and worked in “Silicon Valley,” California, and Phoenix, Arizona.

Lauren Novo joined BSCS as the Director of Communications and Advancement in August 2017. With nearly a decade of communications agency experience, she has represented brands ranging from global tourism destinations and Fortune 500 companies to national sports brands and nonprofit organizations.

Her career in communications has consistently intersected with science and research.

While serving as the public relations representative for Aruba, Lauren promoted the Caribbean island’s green energy plan and sustainability efforts – successfully landing exclusive coverage across Bloomberg, CNBC, and The Wall Street Journal. During her time in sports PR, she explored and communicated everything from concussion research to myofascial release techniques. But her passion for the nonprofit sector began while spearheading communications efforts for Kidz1stFund, a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for Fanconi anemia. It was personally fulfilling to translate medical advancements into national media exposure, contributing to the organization’s larger goals of raising research funding.

Lauren is eager to leverage her expertise in strategic planning, partnership development, media relations, creative and technical writing, and event planning to help BSCS expand its impact and influence on science education.

Lauren graduated summa cum laude from Florida State University with dual B.A. degrees in communications and creative writing. Born and raised in Florida, she is finally fulfilling her lifelong dream of living in Colorado. She spends her spare time running half marathons, hiking beautiful mountains and trails, and rooting for the Denver Broncos.

Dr. Lindsey Mohan joined BSCS as a Research Scientist in May 2017. Her expertise is in instructional materials design and earth and environmental science learning.

Prior to joining BSCS, Lindsey served as a faculty member for the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame. In this role, Lindsey taught courses on science assessment and middle school methods in the Master’s in Education program. She also supervised early career teachers in grades 2-12 in Catholic schools impacting underserved student populations and their families.

Between the time she completed her doctorate studies and returned to educational design work, Lindsey taught middle school earth science in a rural, Title 1 public school in Texas. This experience provided opportunities for Lindsey to put into practice the instructional approaches and strategies she learned about and advocated for throughout her graduate studies. The successes and struggles she experienced as a classroom teacher were transformative in her educational preparation.

Lindsey specializes in student learning and instructional materials design in earth and environmental science. Lindsey has designed resources for teachers, for example, serving as the Climate Education manager at National Geographic Society. This work included developing a series of professional development guides for teachers called the Environmental Literacy Teacher Guides, designing online educator courses in environmental literacy topics, and collaborating with informal science institutions and non-profits on a variety of projects. Prior to her work with National Geographic Society, Lindsey was an integral member of the development team for a carbon cycle learning progression as part of her role with the Environmental Literacy Project at Michigan State University.

In recent years, Lindsey has served as a writer and collaborator on synthesis projects, including Spatial Thinking Concepts and Skills Progression, A Roadmap for 21st Geography Education, Guidelines for Assessing High Quality Instructional Products, and A Synthesis of Math/Science Teacher Leadership Development Programs: Consensus Findings and Recommendations.

Lindsey has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology from Michigan State University. Her dissertation focused on productive discourse in science classrooms.

When Lindsey isn’t working, she spends her free time in the outdoors hiking, kayaking, and sailing with her husband and twin boys.

Jody Bintz, MA, serves as Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships and Professional Learning with BSCS Science Learning. She works primarily in the areas of leadership development and teacher professional learning.

Ms. Bintz has designed and led a variety of programs to develop organizational leadership capacity and enhance the knowledge and skills of professional development leaders in various sites across the country, particularly as related to implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). She directs the BSCS National Academy for Curriculum Leadership (NACL). This work included a six-year partnership with Washington State LASER and involved nearly 30 secondary science leadership teams and 20 state-wide leaders. She served as the principal investigator for a research study to test the influence of the NACL leadership development model on student achievement. Also as a principal investigator, she spearheaded a synthesis study focused on teacher leadership development. Bintz serves as co-principal investigator of an efficacy study of the professional development program, STeLLA (Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis), and its impact on high school biology student learning and teacher practice. With a vision of developing tools and processes to advance the implementation of the NGSS, she leads a project involving collaborators from the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Learning Innovations at WestEd, and Achieve, Inc.

Before joining BSCS, Ms. Bintz served as an instructional services consultant with Loess Hills AEA 13 in southwest Iowa. Her responsibilities included serving on the Iowa Support Team for Schools in Need of Improvement, strategic school improvement and professional development planning, and designing and leading professional development activities with K-12 science teachers focused on curriculum, instruction, assessment, technology integration, and the integration of reading strategies. Ms. Bintz taught high school science and coached in Treynor, Iowa. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Northern Iowa and her Master of Arts degree in Science Education from University of Northern Iowa.

Daniel Edelson joined BSCS as Executive Director and President in January 2015. He brings significant experience as a curriculum and educational software developer, educational researcher, and advocate for science and social studies education to this role.

Before coming to BSCS, Dr. Edelson was Vice President for Education at the National Geographic Society from 2007-14. During this time, he also served as Executive Director of the National Geographic Education Foundation, overseeing a $3.5M annual grantmaking program. In these roles, Dr. Edelson led National Geographic’s educational outreach and reform efforts.

At National Geographic, Dr. Edelson oversaw the creation of the Society’s award-winning NatGeoEd.org education portal, the launch of educational citizen science and interactive mapping initiatives, and the establishment of an innovative online professional development program for teachers. He also led a 5-year capacity and leadership development initiative for the 54 members of the National Geographic Network of Alliances for Geographic Education, and he served as the Principal Investigator for an NSF-funded national consensus project that created a road map for improving geography education over the next decade.

From 1993-2007, Dr. Edelson was on the faculty of Northwestern University with a joint appointment in the School of Education and Social Policy (Learning Sciences) and the School of Engineering (Computer Science). At Northwestern, he conducted a program of integrated research and development focused on improving earth and environmental science education. In this work, he developed innovative curriculum materials and software, as well as professional development programs, for middle and high school science. He also participated in several district-level efforts to implement instructional reform in Chicago Public Schools and elsewhere. In the context of these development and implementation efforts, Dr. Edelson conducted research on design, student motivation and learning, and teacher professional development.

As a curriculum and software developer, Dr. Edelson is the author of Investigations in Environmental Science: A Case-Based Approach to the Study of Environmental Systems, a textbook for high school environmental science, and contributed to Project-Based Inquiry Science and Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST), two comprehensive middle school science programs. He also developed National Geographic FieldScope, My World GIS, and WorldWatcher, educational software applications for visualizing and analyzing geographic data. All of these works were the products of NSF R&D grants.

As a researcher and advocate, Dr. Edelson has written extensively on geoscience, geography, and environmental science education, motivation, instructional design, educational technology and teacher professional development. He is an author or co-author on more than 50 papers in academic journals, books and conference proceedings, including The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, The International Handbook on Science Education, the Journal of the Learning Sciences, and the Journal of Research on Science Teaching. In 2014, a collection of his essays was compiled into a book entitled GeoLearning: Thoughts on Geography and Education.

Dr. Edelson received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Northwestern University and his B.S. in Engineering Sciences from Yale University. In 2013, he received the President’s Award from the National Council for Geographic Education.