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Senior Researcher


Before coming to the Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning, Kelly served as the Director of Research and Evaluation for a STEM education consulting firm where she oversaw the full range of evaluation projects and ongoing research studies. Prior to this position, Kelly was an assistant professor of science education in the Watson College of Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

While Kelly was completing her Ph.D., she served as a graduate research assistant and then research associate on the NSF funded Project Nexus initiative. Kelly has also taught middle and high school oceanography, physical science, and Earth science and worked as an educator at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. She is active in a number of professional organizations and currently serves on the Informal Science Education Committee of the National Science Teachers Association and as the co-chair of the Education Research Committee of the National Marine Educators Association and the co-coordinator for the Informal Science Education Strand of NARST. 

Kelly’s research focuses on science teacher preparation as well as youths’ experiences learning science in out-of-school settings. She is particularly interested in the role of social interactions on youths’ authoring of their identities in science.

Kelly has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a focus on science education from the University of Maryland, College Park; a M.S. degree in Oceanography from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia; and a B.A. degree in Biology from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

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