Kari O'Connell

Contact Info

Primary Title: 
Senior Researcher and Program Lead for Authentic and Field-based Learning
Email Contact: 
Voice Contact: 
(541) 737-1289
STEM Research Center


Dr. O’Connell joined the Oregon State University STEM Research Center in 2016 as a Senior Researcher. She also holds affiliate faculty appointments in the College of Education, and the Environmental Arts and Humanities Program at OSU. Before coming to the STEM Research Center, she worked in the College of Forestry at OSU in multiple capacities, first as a Postdoctoral Research Associate studying long-term forest carbon dynamics, next as Director of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest where she coordinated the research and education programs, and then with a staff position in Forestry and Natural Resources Extension which focused on professional development for middle and high school teachers. Kari’s research interests include equity, access, and inclusion in undergraduate field education, collaborative STEM education networks, public engagement in science, ecological data literacy of K-12 teachers and students, and art-science collaborations to science engagement.

Kari has a Ph.D. in Forestry with a minor in soils from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. degree in Biology from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN.

Curriculum Vitae



Past Projects: 



  • Bousselot, T., Kim, M., Storksdieck, M., O’Connell, K., & Keys, B. (2017). STEM Hub Capacity Building to Support Evaluative Thinking and Continuous Improvement: An interim report prepared for Oregon’s Chief Education Office. Oregon State University. https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/1125
  • Ellison, A. M., LeRoy, C. J., Landsbergen, K. J., Bosanquet, E., Borden, D. B., CaraDonna, P. J., Cheney, K., Crystal‐Ornelas, R., DeFreece, A., Goralnik, L., Irons, E., Merkle, B. G., O’Connell, K. E. B., Penick, C. A., Rustad, L., Schulze, M., Waser, N. M., & Wysong, L. M. (2018). Art/Science Collaborations: New Explorations of Ecological Systems, Values, and their Feedbacks. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 99(2), 180–191. https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1384
  • Flowers, S.K., O'Connell, K., & McDermott, V.M. (2021). Crafting Field Station and Marine Lab Communities for Undergraduate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, e01908. https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1908
  • Giamellaro, M., O’Connell, K., & Knapp, M. (2020). Teachers as participant-narrators in authentic data stories. International Journal of Science Education, 42(3), 406–425. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2020.1714093
  • Giamellaro, M., & O’Connell, K. (2018). Numbers in Nature, Math on the Mountain. Connected Science Learning, 6, 1–25. https://www.nsta.org/connected-science-learning/connected-science-learning-april-june-2018-0/numbers-nature-math
  • Giamellaro, M., Riedinger, K., & O’Connell, K. (accepted). Achieving Desired Student Outcomes in Virtual Field Experiences through Attention to Design Considerations: A Delphi Study. Journal of College Science Teaching.
  • Goralnik, L., Kelly, S. M., O’Connell, K., Nelson, M. P., & Schulze, M. (2020). Forest discovery: Place relationships on an environmental science, arts and humanities (eSAH) field trip. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1017/aee.2020.28
  • Hoke, K., O’Connell, K., Semken, S., & Arora, V. (2020). Promoting a Sense of Place Virtually: A Review of the ESA Weekly Water Cooler Chat Focused on Virtual Sense of Place. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 101. https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1734
  • Morales, N., O’Connell, K. B., McNulty, S., Berkowitz, A., Bowser, G., Giamellaro, M., & Miriti, M. N. (2020). Promoting inclusion in ecological field experiences: Examining and overcoming barriers to a professional rite of passage. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 101(4), e01742. https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1742
  • O’Connell, K., Hoke, K. L., Giamellaro, M., Berkowitz, A. R., & Branchaw, J. (2021). A Tool for Designing and Studying Student-Centered Undergraduate Field Experiences: The UFERN Model. BioScience, biab112. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biab112
  • O’Connell, K., Hoke, K., Berkowitz, A., Branchaw, J., & Storksdieck, M. (2020). Undergraduate learning in the field: Designing experiences, assessing outcomes, and exploring future opportunities. Journal of Geoscience Education0(0), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/10899995.2020.1779567
  • O’Connell, K., Hoke, K., & Nilson, R. (2018). Landscape Study of Undergraduate Field Experiences: Report from the Field on the Design, Outcomes, and Assessment of Undergraduate Field Experiences. Oregon State University. https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/1130
  • O’Connell, K., Keys, B., & Storksdieck, M. (2017). Taking Stock of Oregon STEM Hubs: Accomplishments and Challenges: An Evaluation Report Prepared for the Oregon Chief Education Office. Oregon State University. https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/1121
  • O’Connell, K., Keys, B., & Storksdieck, M. (2018). Getting to Know Guerilla Science Participants: Evaluating Unexpected and Unusual Science Encounters: A Report Prepared for the Simons Foundation. Oregon State University. https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/1129
  • O’Connell, K., Keys, B., Storksdieck, M., & Staus, N. (2017). Taking Stock of the STEM Beyond School Project: Accomplishments and Challenges: An Evaluation Report Prepared for the OSU Extension 4-H and Portland Metro STEM Partnership Team [Technical Report]. Oregon State University. https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/1120
  • O’Connell, K. B., Keys, B., Storksdieck, M., & Rosin, M. (2020). Context Matters: Using art-based science experiences to broaden participation beyond the choir. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 10(2), 166–185. https://doi.org/10.1080/21548455.2020.1727587
  • O’Connell, K., & Storksdieck, M. (2020). Conveying Science through Art Professional Development Experience: Participant Takeaways and Recommendations for the Future. Oregon State University. https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/1299
  • O’Connell, K., Storksdieck, M., & Keys, B. (2017). The effectiveness of out-of-school learning on student STEM learning and learner identity: Evidence across more than 30 programs. Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning, Oregon State University.
  • Preston, K., Risien, J., & O’Connell, K. (2022). Authentic Research through Collaborative Learning (ARC-Learn): Undergraduate Research Experiences in Data Rich Arctic Science. STEM Research Center, Oregon State University. https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/1156
  • Rosin, M., Wong, J., O’Connell, K., Storksdieck, M., & Keys, B. (2019). Guerilla Science: Mixing Science with Art, Music and Play in Unusual Settings. Leonardo, 191–195. https://doi.org/10.1162/leon_a_01793
  • Shaulskiy, S., Jolley, A., & O’Connell, K. (2022). Understanding the Benefits of Residential Field Courses: The Importance of Class Learning Goal Orientation and Class Belonging. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 21(3), ar40. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.21-08-0201
  • Shortlidge, E. E., Jolley, A., Shaulskiy, S., Geraghty Ward, E., Lorentz, C. N., & O’Connell, K. (2021). A resource for understanding and evaluating outcomes of undergraduate field experiences. Ecology and Evolution, 11(23), 16387–16408. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8241
  • Staus, N. L., O’Connell, K., & Storksdieck, M. (2021). Addressing the Ceiling Effect when Assessing STEM Out-Of-School Time Experiences. Frontiers in Education, 6, 246. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2021.690431
  • Staus, N., O’Connell, K., & Storksdieck, M. (2018). STEM Beyond School Year 2: Accomplishments and Challenges: An Evaluation Report Prepared for the OSU Extension 4-H and Portland Metro STEM Partnership Team. Oregon State University. https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/1126 
  • Ward, E.G., O'Connell, K.B., Race, A., Alwin, A., Alwin, A., Cortijo-Robles, K., Esparza, D., Jolley, A., McDevitt, A., Patel, M., Prevost, L.B., Shaulskiy, S., Shinbro, X.A., Treibergs, K., Alvaro, M., & Sea, W. (2021) Affective Learning Outcomes in the Field: A Review of the 2021 Undergraduate Field Experiences Research Network Meeting. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, e01920. https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1920
  • Williams, K. A., Hall, T. E., & O’Connell, K. (2021). Classroom-based citizen science: Impacts on students’ science identity, nature connectedness, and curricular knowledge. Environmental Education Research, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2021.1927990