2020 Early Career Research Awards

2020 Early Career Research Awards

The 2020 recipients of the Early Career Research Award are:

Dr. Brian Donovan, Research Scientist, The Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS)

Dr. Dana Vedder-Weiss, Lecturer, Department of Education, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Dr. Donovan’s research has a focus on the cultural, cognitive and social outcomes of science education. His research contribution to the field of science education is on how the teaching of genetics frames students’ conceptions of race. He has established this knowledge, which is both innovative and original, by investigating how learning in school biology shapes beliefs about human identity and how more appropriate biology instruction on human variation can be used to counteract genetically deterministic thinking that is implicated in racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice. Dr. Donovan uses theories from social-psychology and cognitive science to design field studies that employ randomized control trials (RCTs), quasi-experiments, cognitive think-alouds, clinical interviews, focus groups, and video-analysis, and insights from his research have begun to show how biology education affects the development of different forms of prejudice.

Dr. Vedder-Weiss’s research is based on the premise that learning takes place throughout one's entire life-course, in a broad array of contexts and interactions, including those that are not specifically designed for learning. She draws on the notion that learning is a multidimensional process, entailing cognitive, social and affective dimensions, and unfolding in a socio-cultural context. Her innovative research agenda is approached through three inter-related lines of research: adolescents' motivation for science learning in and out of school, science learning in informal environments, and teacher informal on-the-job training. Dr. Vedder-Weiss’s research is characterized by an ever-expanding and novel suite of qualitative research methodologies including self-ethnography and linguistic ethnographic microanalysis, and her work has made a significant scholarly impact in the field in the areas of motivation toward science learning and informal learning.