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Renner Science Center

Science graphics in a photo

John W. Renner
Science Education Center



Mission Statement

The John W. Renner Science Education Center's mission is to continue to be at the forefront of science education research while preparing teachers and professionals for lasting scholarly work and personal development in order to improve upon science education for all students.




  • Prepare science teaching and supervisory personnel for kindergarten through the twelfth grade for individual school systems, as well as county and state educational systems.
  • Prepare persons for college teaching responsibilities in undergraduate and graduate courses in science education, as well as facilitate active membership in the science education scholarship community.
  • Provide an opportunity for classroom teachers of secondary and elementary school science to devote study time to a purposeful program while increasing their understandings and leadership in science and education.

Special Features

  • Faculty members in teacher education whose major interest and preparation are science education and strong backgrounds in the natural sciences.
  • A long history of interdepartmental activities in science education involving the College of Education, College of Engineering and science departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Faculty and research facilities making possible the conferring of degrees in all the basic sciences and in education.
  • Excellent library facilities in science and in education plus the world-famous De Golyer Collection in the History of Science and Technology.

Science Education Research & Development Foundation

The Science Education Research & Development Foundation was established in 1982 to support benchmark research, teaching, and service related to inquiry science, in other words, the learning cycle. For over three decades, the Foundation has supported noteworthy and meritorious efforts in:

  • researching inquiry science that has resulted in most of the publications, grants and science curricula included on these web pages and,
  • promoting the development of learning cycle science curricula that have been implemented throughout the state, region and country as well as internationally.

If you would like to support the Center's projects, you may make contributions to the University of Oklahoma Foundation. Please designate your gift for the “Science Education Research & Development” fund, Account Number 0030684.

Edmund A. Marek Endowed Scholarship Fund

In Spring 2016, Edmund A. Marek, Ph.D., retired after more than 47 years of impacting students’ lives and helping shape the next generations of science educators. In honor of Dr. Marek’s influential work in science education over the last few decades, the Edmund A. Marek Endowed Scholarship Fund was established.

The Edmund A. Marek Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships for qualified applicants who:

  • are full-time, regularly enrolled undergraduate students in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, OR who are full- or part-time graduate students in the college;
  • are studying science education;
  • have a minimum 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale;
  • have demonstrated financial need; and
  • are not a contributor to the fund or the immediate family member of a contributor to the fund.

Whether you know Dr. Marek as a colleague, mentor, friend, family member or community member, you have seen the amazing contributions he has made to science education, the Norman community, and beyond throughout his career. If you would like to support the students of the John W. Renner Science Education Center, then you may make a contribution to the University of Oklahoma Foundation. Please designate your gift for the “Edmund A. Marek Endowed Scholarship” fund, Account Number 0042928. All donations to the Edmund A. Marek Scholarship Fund are processed by the University of Oklahoma Foundation and are tax-deductible. With your support of this fund, we can continue to recruit and educate the best science educators in the state just as Dr. Marek did throughout his career.




Doctoral Students

Rachelle Johnson is a doctoral student in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum for science education in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Florida State University in 2013 and then went into public education teaching High School science. She received her Master’s degree in Educational Administration in 2021 and entered the doctoral program. Currently she works as an Instructional Coach with Norman Public Schools. She works with teachers to help them develop innovative lessons and grow professionally. Her research focuses on secondary classroom play and the impacts on student engagement.

Tiffany Neil

Tiffany Neill is the deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the past-president for the Council of State Science Supervisors, serving as president from 2017-2019.

In her role at the Oklahoma State Department of Education, she works to support districts and educators in aligning their curriculum and instruction to standards and supports curriculum directors and specialist in similar efforts with various disciplines. She oversees both Title II and Title IV state activity funds, implements various state and federal policies and serves as the project manager for several USDE grants. In her eight years of service at the Oklahoma State Department of Education she served as the director of science and engineering education for six years and oversaw two science standards review and revision processes.

She served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine consensus committee that authored the report, Changing Expectations for the K-12 Teacher Workforce: Policies, Preservice Education, Professional Development, and the Workplace (2020) and currently serves on a consensus committee report focused on enhancing science in prekindergarten through fifth grade. She also serves as a Co-Pi on the National Science Foundation grant, ACESSE which focuses on enhancing equity and coherence in science education.

Ms.Neill taught middle school and high school science in Vinita, Oklahoma and served as a graduate research assistant at the University of Oklahoma’s K20 Center for Education and Community Renewal. She also taught elementary science methods courses for the University of Oklahoma. She has completed the graduate courses required for a doctoral degree in science curriculum and instruction a and is currently completing a dissertation focused on STEM integration.

David Powell is a doctoral student in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum in Science Education in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma. David teaches CP and AP Chemistry at Norman High School, which he has done since 2013, and serves as the Science Department Chair. In addition to teaching chemistry, he serves his school and colleagues as their building representative, the Academic Team Coach, and the National Honor Society sponsor. At the state level, he is the Secretary for the Oklahoma Academic Coaches Association and has worked with the Oklahoma State Department of Education on Science Standard revision committee, the Science Frameworks team for phases 1 and 2, and served twice on the Item Review Committee for the OSDE Grade 11 Science College & Career Ready Assessment.

He really loves learning not only so he can be a better teacher but so his students can understand the chemistry that is in the world all around them. He is a huge OU fan and will (hopefully) have his third degree from OU. Boomer!

Heather Shaffery

Heather Shaffery is a science education doctoral student and teaches as an adjunct instructor in the ILAC program in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma. Heather received her M.S. in ecology and evolution at the University of Pittsburgh, during which time she taught undergraduates in Department of Biological Sciences through a teaching fellowship. After completing her degree, Heather moved to Oklahoma to teach middle school science in Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Heather currently provides professional development and one-on-one instructional coaching with pre- and in-service teachers across the state of Oklahoma as a science curriculum specialist for the K20 Center at OU. In this capacity, Heather emphasizes the development of teacher efficacy for three-dimensional instruction and meaningful student discourse. Her doctoral research focuses on how teachers’ complex personal identities influence instructional decisions in their science classrooms.

Kristen Shelton

kristen shelton is a Ph.D. candidate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum in Science Education in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education (JRCoE) at the University of Oklahoma. shelton received both their B.S. and M.S. from OU, where they conducted research on enzyme activity and transcription regulation, respectively.

shelton works as an instructor at OU teaching various courses in the biology department, the microbiology and plant biology department, as well as in JRCoE. They are also a lab technician in the Wastewater Based Epidemiology lab at OU where they contribute to monitoring wastewater from around the state of Oklahoma for SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens. Their research interests involve equity, inclusion and accessibility in science curricula, academia, and industry. Their primary focus is examining the roles that representation and equitable support play in making space for and contributing to retention of historically underrepresented groups within the sciences.

shelton believes that the advancement of science is promoted through collaboration, cooperation, and critical thinking, specifically by incorporating values such as the inclusion of all people, their unique perspectives, and diverse contributions.


Mariah Warren

Mariah Warren is a doctoral student in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum for science education in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma. Her research focuses on the implementation of STEM education initiatives. In 2012, Mariah obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology for Secondary Education from the University of West Georgia. In 2019, she received a master’s degree in Teaching Learning and Advocacy with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from the College of Charleston. 

Mariah currently serves as the K20 Center’s GEAR UP for the FUTURE Professional Development Coordinator. In this role, Mariah creates and facilitates authentic learning experiences through various methods of professional development for the cohort’s educators. She also serves as the co-chair for the K20 Center's annual professional development conference, Innovative Learning Institute, and is a member of the Professionals Learning Committee. As a classroom teacher, she taught high school Biology, Human Anatomy, Environmental Science, and Algebra I in Charleston, South Carolina.



M.Ed. Students

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Claudia Colonnello is a student at the ILAC secondary science master's degree program at the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and her goal is to become a certified middle school science teacher in Oklahoma. Originally from Venezuela, she has a Ph.D. in Physics and focused her research in this field on the physics of granular materials. As a future educator, her main research interest is the integration of the arts in the science classroom, as a tool to promote student engagement and understanding of the nature of science.

A crumpled piece of paper with writing

Mackenzie Flynn received her Bachelor of Science in Geology with a minor in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies from Bucknell University in January 2022. She is currently pursuing dual Masters degrees at the University of Oklahoma: a Master of Science in Geology with the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy as well as a Master of Education in Science Education as a part of the ILAC program in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education.

She is currently working as a graduate teaching assistant in geosciences and as a graduate research assistant with Dr. Kelly Feille. Her research is focused on developing accessible climate science and climate change curriculum for middle-high school courses. Mackenzie plans on going into environmental consulting but hopes to eventually work as a curator for STEM-oriented museums.

Lisa Ratliff

Lisa has worked as the Public Programs Coordinator for over a year at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Norman, OK. This includes all front facing monthly Curiousidays that now present bilingual content, bi-annual and annual online and in-person programs as well as weekly Crafts and Tales.

She has served on the DEI committee as well as several hiring committees for the museum during her time there. She has also taken on the role of doing live interviews for TV appearances in both Spanish and English to promote special programming. Creating cultural ties in the community is her passion as well as striving to make informal science educational programming more inclusive and accessible. Currently, she is in her last semester of her non-thesis project which centers around writing a grant for programming to support LatinX youth in natural history.

Fabián Sánchez started his master's degree in Science Education at the Jeannine Rainbolt School of Education in the fall of 2022. He graduated as an Electrical Engineer from the National University of Colombia in Bogota-Colombia. In addition to working in electromagnetic field simulation, Mr. Sánchez has worked in conjunction with the Engineering Department of the National University of Colombia and the Colombian Ministry of Education, supporting projects that improve education in Colombia. He currently works at the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, supporting programs that encourage K-12 students to study engineering.

Jessica Blunt
Nate DeAngelis
Madison Wondra
Logan Draper




Kelly Feille

Kelly Feille
Assistant Professor

Department: Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum
Program Area: Science Education
Phone: (405) 325-1498
 Collings Hall 117

Kelly Feille Bio

Jacob Pleasants

Jacob Pleasants
Assistant Professor

Department: Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum
Program Area: Science Education
Phone: (405) 325-1498
Office: Collings Hall 121

Jacob Pleasants Bio



Professional Science Education Organizations and Associated Publications

National (in alphabetical order)

American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)

American Chemical Society (ACS)

Association for Science Education (ASE)

Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE)

National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT)

National Association of Geoscience Education (NAGT)

National Science Educator Leadership Association (NSELA)

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)

School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA)

Publications not affiliated with organizations


International Consortium for Research in Science & Mathematics Education (ICRSME)

Research organization without affiliated periodicals

Publications not affiliated with organizations