Dr. Staus joined the STEM Research Center as a senior researcher in February of 2018, also serving an appointment in OSU's College of Education. She received her Ph.D. in Science Education (2012) from Oregon State University and is currently leading the STEM Beyond Schools project. Previously, Dr. Staus earned her MS in Conservation Biology (1997) from the University of Minnesota and spent 15 years as a biologist at a small non-profit and instructor for introductory non-majors ecology courses at Linn-Benton Community College. During this time, she noticed that many topics in biology and conservation in particular triggered strong emotions in learners, and her doctorate research investigated the effects of emotion on both short- and long-term science-learning outcomes.
Dr. Staus has a strong interest in how/why people learn science (especially biology) and in improving science education both in and out of school. In particular, she is interested in pursuing research on 1) the role of emotion, interest, and attitudes in learning science at the post-secondary level and/or out-of-school settings (e.g. field schools, ecotourism experiences); 2) how out-of-school science experiences such as ecotourism support the development of ecologically responsible behaviors.