I just returned from 2 academic (research) conferences that challenged me, excited me, and gifted me with new ideas, new methods, and new friendships.

#1: NARST: the National Association of Research in Science Teaching — the headquarters for learning about science education.

#2: AERA: the American Educational Research Association — the headquarters for learning about learning in general.

Highlights: I got to discuss some work completed with Dr. Angela Calabrese Barton, Dr. Edna Tan, Christina Restrepo Nazar and Myunghwan Shin. I heard from some amazing new research projects and met some cool VIIIPs (very interesting, intelligent, AND important people). I explored ideas related to student agency across settings, learning in informal spaces like museums & maker spaces, youth participatory action research (yPAR), multimodal representational practices, indigenous knowledge and practices in STEM, opportunities for working towards equity with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and multiple methods and methodologies for considering and representing STEM pathways and practices both in and out of school.

With the Invincibility Lab team, I presented & coauthored some “structured poster sessions” and a paper session. I am so happy & grateful that I was able to use that paper session to share a video made by the young innovators I work with — a video that showcases some pretty powerful resource leveraging and social strategy for the purposes of succeeding in tough STEM work and gaining public recognition for that work. I can’t wait to tell the kids how many people saw their movie!


Me & my advisor Angie Calabrese Barton presenting a “critical ethnography” (story) of a certain determined inventor girl I know… I was very honored to share a video she made with the room!

(FYI: I’ve finally learned the difference between 2 different poster events that happen at these conferences. A “poster session” is kinda like a science fair, with maybe 50 posters, in front of which authors stand & share info about their projects with visitors & passersby. A “structured poster session” is similar but a LOT smaller, including maybe 6-8 posters that all share a specific theme, selected/”curated” by someone who knows a ton of stuff about that theme, and presented in a smaller room where authors present something like a 2-minute overview of their project before stationing themselves in front of their posters.)

THE BEST PART: both conferences were in Chicago (during the same week!) which meant a 10-day-long homecoming extravaganza with loved ones (& fun @ Wrigley, Musicbox Theatre, Moody’s, Hopleaf, Thorndale Beach, & even Garrett’s popcorn!).

I miss all the great energy (& my Chi-City besties) so much already. I guess the only thing left to do is have Kanye play us out with his tribute to Chicago… which I totally blasted with the windows down as my “research sister” Christina and I sped down Lake Shore Drive.


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