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Lynch School's Katherine McNeill Receives NARST Early Career Research Award

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (February 2011) - The National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) has awarded Lynch School of Education Assistant Professor Katherine McNeill the 2011 Early Career Research Award, given annually to the early career researcher who demonstrates the greatest potential to make outstanding and continuing contributions to educational scholarship.

McNeill will receive her award in April at the annual NARST conference in Florida, which will focus on the links between the international role of science education research, public understanding of science and global sustainability.

Katherine McNeill

“It is an honor that my research was selected among the numerous exceptional science education researchers in the field,” said McNeill. “I hope that this recognition and my participation in the conference will help to foster new collaborations and research in the future.”

McNeill is currently working in collaboration with K-12 teachers in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) to examine urban students' abilities to engage in scientific explanation and argumentation, investigate how students with diverse backgrounds navigate between everyday and scientific discourses, and develop instructional strategies to support students in these scientific practices. Funded in part by a National Science Foundation grant for exploratory research, this project is in its third year.

The project included the writing of a book, “Supporting Grade 5-8 Students in Constructing Explanations in Science: The Claim, Evidence and Reasoning Framework for Talk and Writing,” (Pearson Education Inc, 2011) which was published last month.  Additionally, the grant supports a research study to investigate the impact of the book and accompanying professional development on teachers’ beliefs and classroom practices.

Since earning her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2006, McNeill has written 12 scholarly journal articles, three of which were submitted as part of her nomination to the NARST review committee. The articles were evaluated based on the intellectual quality of the scholarship, methodological rigor, innovation and creativity.

NARST is a worldwide organization of professionals committed to the improvement of science teaching and learning through research. Since its inception in 1928, NARST has promoted research in science education and the communication of knowledge generated by the research. The ultimate goal of NARST is to help all learners achieve science literacy.

For more information, contact Lynch School of Education Communications Specialist Dan Landers at