Our Team: MSU

The Team at Michigan State University

These team members are at the main 3DL4US site in East Lansing, MI.

Jameel Al-Haddad

Jameel Al-Haddad

MSU Biology

Jameel Al-Haddad is an instructor (fixed-term) in the Department of Plant Biology with ten-year experience as teaching assistant followed by four years as instructor of record at Oakland Community College and Michigan State University. His teaching approach shifted from traditional to learner-centered, evidence-based pedagogy. He taught in-person, hybrid, and fully online courses for majors and non-majors. He was named a ‘Learning Leader’ by the Department of Residence Life at MSU. Jameel served on two standing departmental committees, the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Jameel joined MSU as an international graduate student and earned a dual PhD in plant biology and ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior (EEBB). He earned both of his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Jordan University of Science and Technology in Jordan. Jameel published primary research articles in the fields of plant stress physiology, plant pathology, and plant biomechanics.

Beth Brisco-McCann

Beth Brisco-McCann

MSU Biology

Beth Brisco-McCann is an instructor in the Department of Plant Biology at Michigan State University. She
completed her Bachelors in Plant Biology at the University of British Columbia, her Masters degree in
Biotechnology from the University of Toronto, and her Doctorate in Plant Breeding and Genetics from
MSU. She currently teaches PLB105 (Introductory Plant Biology) and ISB202 (Applications of
Environmental and Organismal Biology). In these large lecture courses, Beth employs multiple active
learning methods to engage students with the material, including iClicker questions and group activities.
She has taught both online and in-person formats and is always seeking ways to improve the
educational experience of her students. Her ultimate goal is to impart the importance of science in her
students’ lives and wonder of the world around them.

Brittany Busby

Brittany Busby

MSU Chemistry

Brittany Busby serves as a Laboratory Coordinator at MSU. She is a co-coordinator for the Survey of Organic Chemistry lab and a co-coordinator for both semesters of general chemistry lab. These are large-scale courses that serve about 2000 students each semester. She is interested in developing labs that are more relevant to students’ lives and majors. Additionally, she hopes to continue improving the training for teaching assistants, providing them with the tools to be successful helping students. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Montana–Missoula under the guidance of Mark Cracolice and Chris Palmer, where her chemistry education research focused on graphing skill transfer between math and chemistry. During this time, she also had the opportunity to restructure a pre-nursing lab course, creating a data-to-concepts curriculum. She did her postdoctoral research at Auburn University with Jordan Harshman, evaluating the effectiveness of chemistry doctoral systems.

Phillip Delekta

Phillip Delekta

MSU Biology

Phillip Delekta is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University. He is also the Course Director of MMG 301 Introductory Microbiology and MMG 494L Summer Undergraduate Research Institute in Genomics. Phillip earned his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Michigan. During his postdoctoral studies in virology at the University of Michigan, he completed the Postdoctoral Short-Course on College Teaching in Science and Engineering by the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at UM and gained his first lead instructor experience teaching part time at Eastern Michigan University. During a second postdoctoral fellowship in bacteriology at MSU, he received certification with distinction for completion of An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching by the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning and taught BS 171 and MMG 434. As course director of MMG 301, he has focused on developing an active learning model and online learning environments that emphasize scientific practices.

Jennifer Doherty

Jennifer Doherty

MSU Biology

I am an Assistant Professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Physiology at Michigan State University. I earned my Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and was previously a Teaching Professor at the University of Washington where I won the university-wide Distinguished Teaching Award.

I use evidence-based teaching strategies in all of my teaching and have taught in a variety of courses and settings, including introductory and advanced science courses for majors and pre-service teachers, methods courses, individual student research projects, and professional development for K-16 teachers and mentored co-teaching with grad students and postdocs.
I use a mechanistic approach to biology and my exams are at higher Bloom’s levels where students’ must synthesize information and solve novel problems.

I am a biology education researcher and investigate how undergraduate students develop principle-based reasoning. I use a learning progressions approach to coherently links students’ developing reasoning, data from learning assessments, and instructional tools and approaches.

Tom Finzell

Tom Finzell

MSU CMSE

Tom Finzell is an instructor in the Computational, Mathematics, Science, and Engineering (CMSE) Department at Michigan State University. He received his PhD from MSU in Astronomy. His research currently focuses on student problem solving in introductory computational classes. Tom has taught physics, astronomy, and computational classes and is currently teaching the introductory sequence CMSE 201/202. He is passionate about his teaching, working to improve access and increase the diversity of the fields he’s a part of, and trying to ensure a just and equitable learning environment.

Paul Bergeron

Paul Bergeron

Postdoc, MSU

Research and Background

Paul Bergeron is a postdoctoral researcher with the 3DL for US group. He is interested in how students engage in 3DL and what we can do to better engage students with this framework for science thinking and doing. Prior to this, he completed his doctorate at the University of Utah in high energy particle phenomenology. While doing research in particle physics, most of this time was split with teaching, first as an LA during his undergrad and then in graduate school as a lead instructional team TA, adjunct lecturer at a community college, and instructor for a continuing education course in astronomy. His current research is focused on understanding student engagement in the Scientific Practice of Using and Constructing Models and how the members of the STEM Teaching and Learning Fellowship engage with both the 3D-LAP and 3D-LOP.


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Danny Caballero

Danny Caballero

Associate Professor, MSU

Research and Background

Danny Caballero (co-PI) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He received his Ph.D. in Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He studies how tools affect student learning in physics, and the conditions and environments that support or inhibit this learning. Caballero will be responsible for working with the Physics faculty team on protocol development, coding work, and interpretations of data analyses.


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Rachel Frisbie

Rachel Frisbie

MSU CMSE

Rachel Frisbie is a Fixed-term Assistant Professor in the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science & Engineering (CMSE) at Michigan State University. She earned her PhD in Astrophysics from Michigan State University in 2020 and has been teaching courses in CMSE and engaging in computational science education research with the Computational Education Research Lab (CERL) at MSU since 2020. Her interests include exploring how students problem solve using computational concepts as they progress through their education as well as how those findings can be applied to courses like the ones we teach in CMSE to improve student outcomes. Rachel is excited to collaborate with Tom Finzell and Paul Hamerski within the Fellowship to learn new teaching and assessment practices and apply them to both her teaching and research. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys exploring with her spouse, toddler, and dog, playing oboe, and tin smithing.

Patti Hamerski

Patti Hamerski

MSU CMSE

Patti Hamerski (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE) department at Michigan State University. She got her PhD at Michigan State University, where she employed student-centered research methodologies to identify curricular challenges that impact students’ affect in computation-integrated physics classrooms. Her work in CMSE involves teaching introductory computational and data science courses where students learn computational practices and applications to real world problems. Her research focuses on characterizing students’ self-efficacy for doing computation and building an understanding of how computational self-efficacy can develop during CMSE 201: Introduction to Computational Modeling and Data Analysis. During the 3DL program, she intends to collaborates with Dr. Rachel Frisbie and Dr. Tom Finzell to design new ways to support students’ self-efficacy in CMSE 201 and also build robust instructor guides to strengthen the sustainability of the course.

Melanie Cooper

Melanie Cooper

Lappan-Phillips Professor, MSU

Research and Background

Melanie Cooper (PI) is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at MSU. She received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at University of Manchester. Her current research focus is the development and assessment of evidence-based curricula in order to improve the teaching and learning of chemistry within large-enrollment undergraduate chemistry courses.


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Neal Hammer

Neal Hammer

MSU Biology

Neal Hammer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University. He earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Michigan. The Hammer laboratory studies Staphylococcus aureus pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance from a metabolic perspective. Dr. Hammer’s teaching appointment began in 2017 and focused on Introductory Microbiology, an upper level science course with an enrollment that exceeds 400. The format of the course was initially a didactic lecture, but active learning was impeded by poor attendance. To enhance student learning by increasing active participation, in 2018, the course was ‘flipped’ to a hybrid online, in-person format. Since then Dr. Hammer and his colleagues have been fine-tuning the format and content. His major goal is to help students appreciate the importance of microbiology in their every-day lives and achieve their academic goals.

Jonathan Hardy

Jonathan Hardy

MSU Biology

My name is Jonathan Hardy and I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University. I teach a 300-level course in Microbiology with about 480 students per semester. The course is team-taught with another professor and is a flipped course, with all lectures in the form of 10 to 20-minute videos. We use the online Desire to Learn (D2L) program to provide the lectures and for formative assessments. The course includes one 80-minute in-person section for the students each week, where they are broken into groups of four for active learning. The groups are carefully assigned using CATME to match the students and form productive groups. I greatly enjoy teaching this class, although it is a lot of work. The sections are fun because we can interact with the students directly. Many undergraduate students in my lab have come from this course.

Diane Ebert-May

Diane Ebert-May

Distinguished Professor, MSU

Research and Background

Diane Ebert-May is and University Distinguished Professor and Graduate Director in the Department of Plant Biology. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology, Population, and Organismal Biology at University of Colorado. Her research focuses on testing a model she created for professional development of faculty and postdoctoral fellows in transformed teaching and the long-term influence of departments on early career faculty teaching. Her book, Pathways to Scientific Teaching (Ebert-May and Hodder eds, second edition in prep), is based on student-centered learning, inquiry-based instructional strategies, assessment and research.


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Rachel Henderson

Rachel Henderson

MSU Physics

Rachel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the CREATE for STEM Institute at MSU. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in physics from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and her Master’s and PhD in physics from West Virginia University. Rachel was a former post-doctoral researcher working with Danny in the Physics Education Research Lab (PERL) before joining the faculty at Michigan State. Her research focuses on developing and implementing inclusive and equitable assessment tools that can be used to improve learning for all students within the physics classroom. Specifically, she’s most interested in developing the next generation of physics assessments, particularly with an eye to equity and inclusion. Her work employs psychometric theory through large datasets and theoretically-grounded measurement models with an aim to ensure inclusive assessment practices within physics education.

Cori Fata-Hartley

Cori Fata-Hartley

Asst. Dean, College of Nat. Sci., MSU

Research and Background

Cori Fata-Hartley is an Assistant Dean in the College of Natural Science and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She earned her Ph.D in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at the University of Toledo. Her her work is focused on improving STEM teaching and learning and increasing the retention and academic success for a diverse group of learners interested in STEM. She works with departments and programs across the college to develop and improve curricula and the connections among them. Fata-Hartley will direct the STEM Teaching and Learning Fellows program and coordinate collection of data (assessments, classroom videos, interviews) from the Fellows, course coordinators, and faculty who are not participating in the STEM Teaching and Learning Fellows program. Fata-Hartley will also work with the Biology faculty team on protocol development and coding activities.


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Johanna Herman

Johanna Herman

MSU Chemistry

Johanna Herman is an academic teaching specialist in the Department of chemistry at Michigan State University, overseeing and coordinating the General Chemistry Laboratory program. In her current position, she implements Cooperative Chemistry Laboratory curriculum—focusing on providing students opportunities to engage in common scientific practices while working as part of a team.

Before joining MSU, Johanna earned a Doctorate Degree of Chemistry from the University of Delaware in 2020 studying the photodegradation of singlet oxygen sensors using spectroscopic methods. While enrolled as a graduate student, she severed as a teaching assistant and preceptor to various General Chemistry laboratory programs, including an integrated general biology–chemistry program. Before then, she attended Delaware Valley University, earning dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Chemistry and Secondary Education.

Outside of work, Johanna has a passion for helping felines find their furrever home. She is currently fostering and volunteering with the Saved by Zade nonprofit organization in the greater Lansing area.

Corey Higley

Corey Higley

MSU Biology

Corey Higley is an Assistant Professor with the Biological Sciences Program at Michigan State University. She is an aquatic ecologist with a background in higher education scholarship and undergraduate learning pedagogy. Corey earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her MS and PhD from Michigan State. Her dissertation research focused on assessing pedagogical approaches that influence student attitudes about the environment as an outcome of learning in environmental and natural resources courses. Corey teaches introductory organismal biology lab and lecture courses, as well as various field courses and study abroad!

Emily Josephs

Emily Josephs

MSU Biology

I’m an evolutionary geneticist in the Plant Biology department at Michigan State University. My lab studies how evolution shapes trait variation within plant species. I’ve been working at MSU since 2019. Before coming here, I was a postdoc at the University of California, Davis, and a PhD student at the University of Toronto. I’m originally from southern California but I kind of like winter. In addition to being a professor, I’m mom to one kiddo (born in 2021), and a mediocre triathlete.

Paul Nelson

Paul Nelson

Postdoc, MSU
Paul Nelson is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working with the 3DL4US team to understand the contexts that support improved STEM teaching and learning. He returned to the research world following 9 years teaching high school math in high-needs public schools. Prior to teaching, his research background was in sensory neuroscience and bioengineering, with an emphasis on understanding sound processing in the auditory system. He earned his PhD at Syracuse University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. Nelson’s current roles within the team include project management, 3D-LOP and 3D-LAP data analysis, faculty development support, and studying instructors’ motivation to use the 3DL framework in their classes.
Lynmarie Posey

Lynmarie Posey

Associate Professor, MSU

Research and Background

Lynmarie Posey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and CREATE for STEM Institute. She earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Yale University. Her current research is centered around studying approaches to support students with low mathematical placements in successfully transitioning to general chemistry through a chemistry bridge course organized around core ideas and scientific practices. She has an ongoing collaboration with mathematics education researcher Kristen Bieda which has led to development of mathematics interventions for the chemistry bridge course; recently they have initiated a project to explore the nature of mathematical knowledge for teaching in the context of chemistry (MKT-C). She is also interested in the nature of social networks in cohort programs and how they may promote student success.


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Jinjie Liu

Jinjie Liu

MSU Biology

Jinjie Liu is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University who focuses on education and research. She teaches cell and molecular biology courses at Biological Sciences Program and established a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) curriculum for the Cell and Molecular Biology laboratory course, providing students with more inclusive research experiences and aiming to inspire them for a STEM career. She assesses students’ learning outcomes and scaffolds their learning process as part of her education research focus. Her science research interest is in lipid metabolic engineering and lipid-mediated signaling pathways.

Shahnaz Masani

Shahnaz Masani

MSU Biology

Shahnaz Masani is an assistant professor at Lyman Briggs College & the Department of Physiology.  Her mission as educator is not only to teach, but also to inspire; to create life-long learners and informed, thoughtful citizens. She strives to design an inclusive, engaging & challenging classroom. She uses a flipped approach to teaching, with an aim to help students identify and link core concepts and develop their science process skills by constructing and testing hypothesis, analyzing data, and constructing scientific arguments in lab and lecture. Her research focuses on identifying novel pedagogical approaches in biology education, with an emphasis on interventions focused on increasing inclusivity & equity in the classroom.

Jon Stoltzfus

Jon Stoltzfus

Bio. Sci. Director, MSU

Research and Background

Jon Stoltzfus is Director of the Biological Sciences Program and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He received his Ph.D. in Genetics from Michigan State University. His research interests include how students use core ideas in developing explanation across introductory undergraduate science courses.


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Kirtimaan Mohan

Kirtimaan Mohan

MSU Physics

Kirtimaan Mohan is an Assistant Professor at the Lyman Briggs College and at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University. His research focuses on particle physics phenomenology. What is the nature of dark matter? How should we be looking for signs of new physics? What is the nature of the Higgs boson? How can precision calculations in quantum field theory help us answer these questions? These are some of the questions that he engages with. He is also interested in introducing computation in the physics curriculum and making physics courses more interdisciplinary in nature.

Ryan Sweeder

Ryan Sweeder

Professor, MSU

Research and Background

Ryan Sweeder is an professor for Chemistry in Lyman Briggs College and director of the Lyman Briggs’ NSF SPRING Scholars program. He received his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry and Chemistry Education at University of Michigan. He and his research group explore gender inequity in science education, strategies to retain students in the sciences, and the impact of curricular interventions on student learning. His current research projects include examining student use of simulations and screencasts to construct understanding of core chemistry concepts outside the classroom, using text messaging to encourage student self-assessment and provide formative assessment data to guide instruction, and assessing the success of a Lyman Briggs program designed to support students with low incoming mathematics skills.


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Stuart Tessmer

Stuart Tessmer

Associate Professor, MSU

Research and Background

Stuart Tessmer is the Associate Chairperson for Undergraduate Programs and an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.. He received his Ph.D. in Physics at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research interest is the physics of electrons inside nanosystems. As Undergraduate Director for the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Tessmer will work with the Physics faculty team and support efforts to align the work of the research team and the undergraduate instructional program in Physics and Astronomy.


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Cholani Weebadde

Cholani Weebadde

MSU Biology

Cholani Weebadde is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU). She received her Ph.D. degree with a dual major in the Genetics and the Plant Breeding and Genetics programs of Michigan State University in 2005. As the Plant Breeder for International Programs, Dr. Weebadde interacts closely with MSU breeders to help expand their programs by reaching out to the global plant breeding community through initiating collaborative research and capacity building programs.

Dr. Weebadde is currently on a 100% teaching appointment and teaches plant breeding and biotechnology courses. She also teaches Biology to non-biology majors through the Center for Integrative Studies in General Sciences (CISGS). During summer, she continues mentoring graduate and undergraduate students in strawberry breeding research with a focus on training future plant breeders and educators while developing new varieties and also teaches an online professional plant breeding certificate course to an international audience.

Mengqi ‘Veronica’ Zhang

Mengqi ‘Veronica’ Zhang

MSU Chemistry

Mengqi (Veronica) Zhang is an organic chemistry laboratory coordinator in Chemistry Department. She received her bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and Business Management from Nankai University, China. She then earned a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Georgia with specialization in chemical education. Her research interest focuses on curriculum development, instructional laboratory experiment design, green chemistry, and microwave chemistry

Tammy Long

Tammy Long

Associate Professor, MSU

Research and Background

Tammy Long is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at MSU. She received her Ph.D. in Biology at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for work that explored plant responses to climate-nutrient interactions. Her current research examines how students learn and reason about biological systems, particularly when using visual and/or data representations.


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Former Team Members

Kinsey Bain

Kinsey Bain

Postdoc, MSU

Research and Background

As a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Chemistry at Michigan State University, Kinsey Bain led the 3DL4US team for two years and engaged in research on three-dimensional learning and instruction, especially as it relates to faculty adoption and implementation. Kinsey is currently a Presidential Management Fellow in Washington, D.C.

She earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Purdue University. Her research interests broadly centered around undergraduate student success, especially in contexts like upper-level undergraduate chemistry courses. Much of her work focused on student understanding of physical chemistry topics, such as energy in chemical reactions and processes or mathematics in chemical kinetics.


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Elizabeth Day

Elizabeth Day

Postdoc, MSU

Elizabeth Day is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Cooper Chemistry Education Research group who collaborates with the 3DL4US team. She earned a PhD in chemistry at the University of Georgia with a specialization in chemical education. Her primary project is curriculum development and assessment for a non-majors’, project-based green organic chemistry laboratory curriculum.

Becky Matz

Becky Matz

Academic Specialist, MSU

Research and Background

Becky Matz is an Academic Specialist in the Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, and an adjunct instructor in the Department of Chemistry. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Michigan. Her primary research interest is undergraduate STEM education reform, including exploring organizational change, characterizing assessments with respect to scientific practices and core disciplinary ideas, analytics on large, cross-institutional data sets of course grades, assessment of quantitative literacy in lower-division math courses, and creating assessments for student understanding of core chemistry ideas in introductory cell and molecular biology.


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Mark Urban-Lurain

Mark Urban-Lurain

Associate Professor, MSU

Research and Background

Mark Urban-Lurain was Associate Professor and Associate Director for Engineering Education Research in the CREATE for STEM Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at Michigan State University. His research interests included theories of cognition, how these theories inform the design of instruction, how we might best design instructional technology within those frameworks, and how the research and development of instructional technologies can inform our theories of cognition. He served as the PI on the Automated Analysis of Constructed Response (AACR) group, a multi-institutional collaboration that explores computerized analysis of students’ writing in large enrollment undergraduate STEM courses.

Mark is now retired.


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