About Us

The SciJourn project began in 2008 with a core group of four St. Louis-based researchers funded by the National Science Foundation. In the past few years, it has grown dramatically, expanding into Kentucky, Colorado, and Indiana. Although the original grant ended in 2013, SciJourn is still in operation. The research team views the project as a work in progress and we welcome your ideas and suggestions.

Dr. Joseph Polman, the original principal investigator (PI) of the grant, is currently Associate Dean for Research and member of the Educational Psychology and Learning Sciences Department at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has a Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences, and has conducted research and development related to technology-supported inquiry learning of science for over 15 years.

Dr. Wendy Saul is a co-PI on the grant and serves as the Allan B. and Helen S. Shopmaker Professor of Education and International Studies and works in collaboration with Springboard to Learning & Young Audiences of St Louis at UMSL. She has received several NSF grants to study science-literacy connections and publishes widely in this area.

Dr. Cathy Farrar  has taught Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Forensics at the high school level. She earned her PhD from the Teaching and Learning Division of the College of Education.

Dr. Alan Newman is a co-PI on the grant and a Research Professor in the College of Education at UMSL. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and has conducted basic research at various universities and Brookhaven National Laboratory, but most of his career—over 20 years—has been spent as a science journalist and managing editor.

Laura Pearce Is a former public school teacher, having taught 20+ years in K-5. Currently she is a graduate assistant in the doctoral program at the University of Missouri–Saint Louis. She currently oversees the SciJourn online course. She is the recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching (1995).

Michelle Whitacre is a graduate assistant in the College of Education at UMSL where she teaches undergraduate science education courses. She was a National Science Foundation CADRE DRK-12 Fellow in 2012.  Previously, she worked as a math and science instructional coach and taught high school science for five years. She was also a former teacher participant in the SciJourn project.

Nicolle von der Heyde is a graduate assistant in the College of Education at UMSL. Previously she taught middle school science for 8 years and was a participant in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Teacher at Sea program. She is also a past SciJourn teacher.
Marsha Buerger is currently teaching 7th grade science (15 years) at Farnsley Middle School in Louisville, KY.  She is also a part-time doctoral student at the University of Louisville, Department of Education, and a SciJourn teacher.

Dr. Angela Kohnen is an Assistant Professor of English at Missouri State University.  Previously, she taught high school composition/literature for five years and English Education courses for the Division of Teaching and Learning at UMSL.  Her research is focused on the role of writing, editing, and revising in the learning processes of students and teachers.

Michael Butler is the Senior IT Research Analyst/Professional Development
Manager for the College of Education at UMSL, and the web developer for the
SciJourn project. He has more than 15 years of technology experience.


Contact us at:
314-516-7311 (office)
314-516-5348 (fax)

Mailing address:
College of Education – Division of Teaching and Learning
One University Blvd. – Marillac Hall, Suite 364
St. Louis, MO 63121-4000

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