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Jennifer Parrish, Ph.D.

Jennifer Parrish, Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Research Associate and Science Education Instructor

MAST Institute
College of Natural and Health Sciences

Contact Information

Ross Hall 2279B
Mailing Address
University of Northern Colorado

Campus Box 123
Greeley, CO 80639

About Jennifer Parrish Ph.D.

Currently I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the MAST Institute as well as a course instructor for SCI 265 and SCI 465. My passion is working with K-12 teachers to help them gain confidence in teaching science and develop a sense of wonder about the natural world that they can share with their students.

My recent research examined ways to assist K-12 pre-service and in-service teachers in developing conceptual understandings in science to improve their subject matter knowledge and ability to integrate scientific inquiry (SI) concepts in their classroom instruction. I also focus on developing ways to promote teacher professional growth for understandings of the nature of scientific knowledge (NOS) and SI, two areas foundational for developing conceptual understandings in science.  Recently, I created and tested a novel strategy which used exemplar responses from validated NOS and SI surveys (e.g., the Views of Nature of Science and Views of Scientific Inquiry surveys) to improve teachers’ understandings of SI and NOS and promote teacher reflection. Results showed that this approach promoted teacher reflection and the development of more sophisticated understandings and teaching practices for NOS and SI, major goals of current K-12 science education reform. 

 My research also focuses on the development of ConcepTests for biology, physical science, NOS, and SI, as well as refining my NOS/SI exemplar strategy for teachers. ConcepTests are conceptual multiple choice questions based on common student misconceptions and were developed by Eric Mazur at Harvard to use during Peer Instruction (an active learning strategy that replaces lecture). It is my hope that the development of such pedagogical and reflective tools as ConcepTests and the exemplar strategy can provide much needed teaching resources for K-12 teachers and science teacher educators.

In my free time I enjoy road biking, camping, hiking, and spending time with my husband and daughter. We love visiting the Poudre Learning Center and enjoy attending all the wonderful events Greeley has to offer.