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College of Education

Andrews Institute for Research in Mathematics & Science Education

Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students

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The Andrews Institute is supported by a variety of faculty who span the breadth of TCU, bringing an assortment of meaningful contributions to our research and teaching. The core faculty is comprised of Mathematics Education and Science Education Faculty. The affiliated faculty from within the college, across the university, and in the community add to the diversity of research and programming.


Molly Weinburgh
Sarah Quebec Fuentes
Hayat Hokayem
J. Matt Switzer


Sue Anderson, Ed.D. | Associate Professor, Educational Technology

Matt Chumchal, Ph.D. | Professor, Director of the Pre-Health Professions Institute

Lindy Crawford, Ph.D. | Executive Director of the Lee Pesky Learning Center, Ann M. Jones Endowed Chair in Special Education

Sergei Dzyuba, Ph.D. | Professor, Biomolecular and Organic Chemistry

Michael Faggella-Luby, Ph.D. | Professor, Special Education

Robin Griffith, Ph.D. | Professor, Reading, English/Language Arts

Judy Groulx, Ph.D. | Emeritus Professor

Amanda Hale, Ph.D. | Professor, Biology

M. Francyne Huckaby, Ph.D. | Interim Dean, Associate Dean of School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Glenn C. Kroh, Ph.D. | Associate Professor, Biology

Jingjing Ma, Ph.D. | Community Member

Steffen Palko, Ed.D. | Associate Professor of Professional Practice, Educational Leadership

April Sawey, Ph.D. | Teacher, Fort Worth Academy

Michael Sawey | Instructor II, Biology

Cecilia Silva, Ph.D. | Emeritus Professor

Eric Simanek, Ph.D. | Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry

Kathy H. Smith, Ph.D. | Professor, Mathematics – Tarleton State

Loren Spice, Ph.D. | Associate Professor, Mathematics

Yuri M. Strzhemechny, Ph.D. | Associate Professor, Physics

Dean A. Williams, Ph.D. | Professor, Biology

Maria Solari | Administrative Program Specialist: Centers and Institutes

Meet Our Graduate Students

Doctoral Candidates

Naomi Alanis (2021)

Jessie Farris (2021) Jessie developed a passion for conservation and native plants at Texas Christian University before graduating in 2017. She has been with the City of Dallas for three years as the Northwest District Arborist. When she’s not in the field or meeting with clients, Jessie’s focus is on public education, citizen science, and developing training materials for the City. She also serves on the City of Burleson’s Parks Board and is the Secretary for the Trinity Blacklands Urban Forestry Council.

Her work with the city led her to pursue a Master’s degree in Sustainable Natural Resource Management at Unity College. As part of her studies, she developed an environmental education curriculum to spread environmental awareness through a scientific perspective using outdoor labs and nature-based activities. She is honored to be pursuing her Doctorate in Science Education at Texas Christian University. Her goal is to connect students and local communities to the natural environment and promote active stewardship of its ecological resources to strengthen local and equitable resilience to climate change while creating more sustainable and community-based resource management strategies.

Morgan Jansing (2021)
Morgan holds a B.S. in Environmental Biology from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Texas Christian University. Throughout her schooling and her career, she has found ways to stay involved with her two loves: science and education. Whether it was summer jobs working at the Fort Worth Zoo School to more formal career opportunities building a local food-based education program in Amarillo, TX and a field school for middle schoolers through a Fort Worth non-profit, she always finds a way to pique students’ interests while using the outdoors as a classroom. She holds a teaching certification through the Houston Montessori Center and has been teaching 4th, 5th and 6th grade since 2017. 

Kristen Brown (2020)
Kristen graduated from TCU in 2002 with her B.A. in Biology and in 2004 with her M.A. in environmental science. She began her teaching career in 2004 as a biology teacher at Polytechnic High School in Fort Worth ISD, and then she spent ten years with Coppell ISD serving in a variety of roles, beginning with teaching 8th grade science and high school biology and chemistry. She completed her M.Ed. in educational administration from TWU in 2009 so she could be an assistant principal and instructional coach for the district. Next, she served as a curriculum director supporting GT, CTE, Fine Arts, Languages other than English, Dual Credit and IB programs. Since moving to Fort Worth in 2015, Kristen has worked for Tarleton State University and supervised first year teachers for their alternative certification program, TMATE. Most recently, she has also been an adjunct instructor at TCU in the College of Education. She has taught undergraduate courses in professional roles and responsibilities for educators, science for elementary teachers, creative thinking in science, and supervision of student teachers. She is excited to be a full-time doctoral student this fall working on a National Science Foundation grant with Dr. Molly Weinburgh and Dr. Curby Alexander.

Ihsan Ghazal (2020)
Ihsan earned a Bachelor of Science in biology in 2010, a teaching diploma in secondary science education (2011), and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in science education (2018) from the American University of Beirut (AUB). Her thesis studied the impact of an argumentation intervention on grade eight students’ argumentation skills, informal reasoning, and achievement in Biology. At the beginning of her career, she taught science at the elementary level for one year. However, since 2014, she has been teaching chemistry and biology at the high school level (grades nine to twelve). She developed inquiry-based lessons and activities in science classrooms. In 2019, she also joined the Faculty of Education at the Modern University for Business and Science in Beirut as an instructor for courses related to teaching methods and curriculum (Elementary Science Curriculum and Teaching Material in Math and Science). Ihsan participated in research about argumentation, argumentation and nature of science, learning progressions, and technology (interactive white boards). These are topics she is interested in pursuing research about in the future. She is excited and honored to be a TCU Ph.D. student driven by a passion for both teaching science and conducting research.

Ashley Titus (202)
Ashley earned her Master of Environmental Management at TCU in 2016. While at TCU, she was honored to work as a graduate assistant for the Institute of Ranch Management (IRM). During that time, she had the opportunity to help develop TCU’s Living Laboratory and worked with international stakeholders to spread IRM’s sustainability message. Post-graduation she worked in the public and private sectors of the environmental industry. During her stint with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, she collaborated with farmers and ranchers regarding water right management through the 2016 drought. This experience reignited her passion for environmental education. Ashley is interested in researching educational methods to bridge the gap between ranching and scientific communities.

Jennifer Tuff (2020)
Jennifer has taught biology in Fort Worth ISD for the past 10 years. She recently received her Masters degree from the TCU College of Education in 2019. Her focus during her Master's was incorporating reading through digital literacy programs into the science classroom to improve content understanding. She hopes to continue to study the ties between literacy and content understanding during her doctoral research. Outside of the world of education, Jennifer loves to spend time with her husband, son and three fur babies and lives for family dinners (nearly every Sunday) with her parents. A California girl to her core, she loves the ocean and the beach, but Texas sunsets are a very close second!  She is looking forward to finding ways to help teachers better include reading as a classroom practice in science. Someday when she grows up, Jennifer would like to work in a teacher training program and help to develop the next generation of science educators.

Stephanie Wallace (2020)
Stephanie earned her B.S. Biology at the University of Texas at Arlington (2006) and M.S. in Biology at Texas Christian University (2009). Since then, she has been teaching Anatomy and Physiology courses to undergraduate students, and has been teaching at TCU since 2013. Most of her students are freshmen, many of whom struggle to find effective ways of learning difficult science material, and are also primarily nursing or pre-health majors, where it is important that the foundational knowledge of these courses be remembered for the long-term. Nationally, introductory-level science courses in nursing programs have an attrition rate between 30-50%. Many students leave because they feel that the courses are too difficult. While it is important to maintain rigor, are there better ways to teach these courses to increase student learning and decrease the attrition rate?  Stephanie is excited to be part of the Science Education doctoral program and learn how to more effectively research the answers to this question to help give students the best tools to learn science.

Jayme Simlin Del Mario (2019)
Jayme earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Oklahoma State University (2010) and began working at a Bariatric surgery clinic in 2012. After exploring her interest in medical education, she began her Medical School Post Baccalaureate program in New York. Jayme thoroughly enjoyed her time in the medical field but always felt like she belonged behind the podium rather than in a clinic.  Thus, after earning her master’s degree in Biological interdisciplinary Studies from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, she took a leap of faith into K-12 education, teaching Medical Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology and Pathophysiology at Duncanville High School for 5 years. Since then, Jayme has served in a variety of educational roles and settings within higher education and K-12 institutions. She currently serves as a Campus Instructional Coach at City Lab High School in Dallas ISD.  Jayme enjoys collaborating with secondary educators to support engaging teaching and learning strategies. She is honored and excited to be a TCU PhD student. Jayme’s interest includes analyzing the ironic disparities among higher education entrance examinations and success in academia.

Savannah Graham (2019)
Savannah graduated from the University of Arkansas in May 2019 with a Master of Science in Biological Sciences (research: Local adaptation in Enallagma exsulans populations), after previously graduating from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. She had intentions of pursuing a career in the field of biology, but this changed once she taught introductory biology labs during my time at Arkansas and participated in science outreach programs. She created her own lab exams and became interested in the methods of teaching and ways of testing students’ knowledge. She also worked with the lab coordinator and other teacher assistants to improve the course and student learning each semester. This led her into the field of science education that she have become very passionate about the last few years. She is interested in the methods of teaching science and student learning in science, especially in the field of ecology.

Lara Kuhlman (2019)
Lara attended Texas A&M University and received a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science (2004) as well as a Master of Science in Physiology of Reproduction (2008). While attending A&M Lara worked in the field of Animal Health with various researchers on campus. Upon working toward a master’s degree, she became a teaching assistant for the undergraduate class Reproduction in Farm Animals for 3 years. This sparked a love of teaching and Lara pursued an Alternative Teaching Certificate in Life Sciences (6-12th grades). After graduating with a master’s degree, Lara began teaching Biology and Advanced Placement (AP) Biology at Paschal High School for five years. She has also taught three years of Middle School Science including Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. Beginning in 2013 to present, Lara has been an adjunct professor at Tarrant County College, teaching Anatomy and Physiology II. She is also a Certified ISR Self-Rescue Swim Instructor. Lara was born and raised in Fort Worth and is excited to begin the Science Education Doctoral program at TCU.

Megan Clawson (2018)
Megan earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology here at TCU (2002), and began teaching in 2003. She loved her time in the science classroom and decided to pursue graduate work in science education. She received her Master’s degree in Math, Science, and Technology Education from The Ohio State University (2009). Since then, Megan has served in a variety of educational roles and settings including both K-12 education and higher education. She currently is a faculty developer in TCU’s Koehler Center for Instruction, Innovation, and Engagement, and enjoys working collaboratively with the TCU community to support teaching and learning. Prior to joining the Koehler Center, Megan worked as a Science Curriculum Specialist in Fort Worth ISD, and as an Assistant Course Coordinator in the Center for Life Sciences Education at The Ohio State University. She is thrilled to be a TCU student again. Her interests include discipline-based educational research, and the development of pedagogical content knowledge.

Tonie Domino (2018)
Tonie earned her bachelor’s of science in biology (2008) at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, and went on to graduate with her DVM from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University (2013). After a short time as an associate in an equine/farm animal practice, she returned to Cornell in 2015 for a residency in ambulatory and production medicine (the specialty of preventative care and welfare for farm animals). She loved her teaching responsibilities as a resident and decided that she wanted further training in the field of education. Her research interests include how learning occurs at different phases of the veterinary curriculum (early basic sciences vs. later clinical reasoning), how veterinary students might use writing to study/learn, and how veterinarians communicate with their clients.

Alex Tolar (2018)
Alex graduated from Southern Methodist University in December 2017 with a Master of Arts in Molecular and Cell Biology (research: Complex I formation in Escherichia coli), after previously receiving her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Baylor University in May 2016. Her research interests include understanding the nature of science and improving scientific relations with the greater community. Her viewpoint of science and her research goals are best expressed through the words of Dr. Robert Sapolsky, who said, “I love science, and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awed by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery but to reinvent and reinvigorate it.”

Callie Price (2017)
Callie Price earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biology from Tarleton State University and is now a full-time instructor and lab coordinator for their Biology department. She came to TCU to further develop her passion for education into defined research skills and become a more effective researcher and educator for students.

Cassandra Cartmill (2017)
Cassandra Cartmill received her Master in Public Health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) in Fort Worth.  Prior to attending UNTHSC, she taught Advanced Placement (AP) biology, Pre-AP biology, and chemistry in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD for ten years. For the past six years, she has been a consultant for the Colorado Education Initiative, where she facilitated Pre-AP biology teachers to increase the inquiry and rigor in their classrooms.  Cassandra has also assisted Dallas ISD biology teachers by introducing them to innovative and interactive lessons for all levels of students through the UT Southwestern Science Teacher Access to Resources (STARS) program. She has also presented at the annual Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST).  Her research interests include professional development and pedagogical practices in the university.

Monica Amyett (2016)     
Monica’s love for science began in her early childhood. Her grandmother raised quarter horses and she spent my summers on her North Texas farm, learning the processes of raising and training these beautiful animals. In working with horses, she gained leadership skills and an applied understanding of biomechanics and athletic performance. As she grew, she gained an appreciation for logic and reasoning. The sciences appealed to her idealized process for the acquisition of knowledge. She decided to study biology because, to her, all biological processes and the results thereof were a remarkable feat of nature. Simply put, biology inspired her. Teaching was an easy fit for her. As she worked in education, she found that she easily transitioned from one content area to the next. She successfully taught biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics and engineering. She also teaches a research and design class where she has successfully mentored many students in science fair competition. After years of teaching science, she finally came to terms with her personal ambition to undertake a research project of her own. Her research project will be a culmination of my teaching in physics, engineering and biology. Monica hopes to spend her doctoral research efforts in developing a problem-based learning model whereby students can gain an appreciation and understanding of biomechanics and the physics and engineering principles that enable animal and human motion.          

Master's Candidates

Ronnie Cunningham (2019)
Captain (CPT) Ronnie Cunningham is a native of Oakland, California and is an active duty CPT in the U.S. Army. He enlisted in the Army in 2000, and after reaching the rank of Sergeant First Class, he was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 2010 from the Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning. Upon commissioning, CPT Cunningham graduated Ranger School at Fort Benning, GA and earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Hawaii Pacific University (2013) while serving with D Company, 2-27 Infantry “Wolfhounds” in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. CPT Cunningham has five combat deployments in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He has commanded two companies and is currently the Assistant Professor of Military Science in the AddRan College at TCU. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with 4 OLC, Army Achievement Medal with 7 OLC, Presidential Unit Commendation Award, Valorous Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal (3), Afghanistan Campaign Medal 2 Stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with 4 Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (3), Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Combat Action Badge, and Expert Infantryman’s Badge.  His Military Schooling includes Ranger School, Air Assault, Joint Fires Observer, Pathfinder, Jumpmaster and Airborne School. CPT Cunningham is married to the Tiffeny and has four boys, Ronnie age 11, Princeton age 10, Connor age 6, and Tyler age 3. He is honored for the opportunity to pursue his Master’s in Mathematics Education while educating the TCU’s Cadets on small unit tactics and Army leadership.

Yenyfer Lopera (2020)

Fallon Villarreal (2021)
Fallon graduated from TCU in May of 2021 with a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. She is now enrolled in the master's program for Curriculum & Instruction: Math Education. Fallon’s goal is to help her students develop a healthy relationship with math that they can carry with them throughout their lives. Upon graduation Fallon hopes to continue to call Fort Worth home and become a 2nd through 4th grade math teacher.

Molly Marek (2019)
Molly obtained her bachelor’s degree in applied learning and development from The University of Texas at Austin (2017) and began her teaching career the same year. She is currently in her third year of teaching at STEAM Middle School in Burleson ISD where she teaches 6th grade Science as well as high school level Biology. She previously specialized in literacy and will integrate her background with a new perspective in the Curriculum & Instruction Science Education Master’s Program. She began engaging in educational research as an undergraduate and worked as a research assistant with the departments of Music Education and Educational Psychology. As a student teacher, she collaborated with doctoral students to conduct action research in her classroom and went on to present the project with her colleagues at NCTE last year. She will be sharing her current action research at CAST this year. She views science as a natural venue to build environmental stewardship and seeks to empower her students as active global citizens. By fostering multiple literacies and sharing stories, she hopes to diversify representation and expand the scope of science for her students. Her research interests include content integration, disciplinary literacy, and scientific inquiry.  She is thrilled to work with the esteemed faculty and stimulating peers at the Andrew’s Institute of Mathematics and Science Education.

Wendy Lamour (2015)
Perhaps it was inevitable that Wendy would go into the family business. Her dad was an Education Professor in South Texas, and her worked in an administrative position in the Education Department at UT Austin. Dinner conversation often centered on education policy, pedagogy and — a personal favorite of Wendy’s — testing and measurement. She spent almost twenty years as an engineer, but eventually gave in to the pull of teaching.  As a student, math always came naturally to her, so she tended to ignore her teachers and rely on her ability to figure things out on my own.  That strategy served her well to a point, but then she realized that by trying to reason through everything from scratch, she was ignoring an enormous body of knowledge that she could build on, rather than trying to recreate everything on her own. She applied to TCU when she reached a similar point in her teaching career.

Her modest aspiration is to save the world through math. Like a lot of teachers, she has an interest in inspiring the curiosity and inventiveness of students with the potential to solve some of the world’s greatest technical problems. But she is also very interested in identifying and cultivating the math skills that students with other gifts will need in order to be productive citizens and rational thinkers capable of organizing information in order to make good decisions. She wants to study the successes that others have had in these areas and then see what she can contribute to the field.

Marissa Briggs (2021)
Brooke Daniel (2021)
Olivia Hernandez (2021)
Chloe Hogan (2021)
Grace Koch (2021)
Mason Nantz (2021)
Audrey Perry (2021)
Katy Stumb (2021)