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Faculty Bios

Dr. Danielle Herro

Dr. Dani HerroDanielle Herro (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Learning at Clemson University. She is currently an Edmund W. Gordon/MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 21st Century Learning and Assessment, and an invited Playful Learning Fellow, helping advance game-based learning in schools. Dani teaches courses on social media, games andemerging technologies, recently developing and teaching, “Theoretical Foundations of Games for Learning”. At Clemson, she co-designed and opened Digital Media and Learning and Gaming Labs in the College of Education. Her current research interests involve investigating stealth assessment in games, the efficacy of teacher professional development towards integrating digital media in STEAM activities, and ways to foster computational thinking practices in adolescents.

Dani Herro's Faculty Profile

Dr. Cassie Quigley

Dr. Cassie QuigleyDr. Cassie Quigley is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning. She received her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana University in 2010. Her research focuses on broadening the conceptions of and participation in science — which is how she became turned onto STEAM teaching. She sees STEAM as a way to connect students to science through a transdisciplinary, problem-solving approach. Along with Dr. Herro, she works with current teachers on expanding their current pedagogical practices to include STEAM approaches. Dr. Quigley also teaches in the MAT Middle Level program which is a one-year masters and initial certification program for middle school teachers. In this program, she teaches science methods, environmental science, and other foundational courses.

Cassie Quigley's Faculty Profile

Dr. Alison E. Leonard

Dr. Alison E. LeonardAlison E. Leonard, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Arts and Creativity in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education. Her teaching and research focuses on arts education as essential knowledge in schools, as literacy, and as forms of inquiry and expression. With her background in dance education and a grant from the National Science Foundation, she and her research team from the worlds of computing, virtual environments, and digital animation are merging movement and computational thinking to encourage and support opportunities for underrepresented students in STEAM fields in a project called VEnvI (Virtual Environment Interactions). In spring 2016, she will have served as the faculty-in-residence at Fisher Middle School, exploring the arts as central in learning, truly providing the steAm in education.

Alison Leonard's Faculty Profile

Dr. Phillip Wilder

Dr. Phillip WilderDr. Phillip Wilder is an Assistant Professor of Adolescent Literacy in the Department of Education and Human Development. He received his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013 where his work through the Center for Education in Small Urban Communities established an impactful school-university partnership supporting teacher inquiry and adolescent disciplinary literacy. His research explores the intersection of disciplinary literacies and socially just pedagogy in the hope of creating more equitable schools. Dr. Wilder currently serves as a faculty in residence at Fisher Middle School where he partners with teachers to apprentice students into the reading, writing, reasoning, and discourses within STEAM disciplines.

Phillip Wilder's Faculty Profile

Faiza M. Jamil

Faiza M. JamilFaiza M. Jamil is an Assistant Professor of Child Development in the department of Education and Human Development. Her research follows two complementary strands: understanding and measuring 1) the underlying psychological processes—cognitive, social, and emotional—that influence teachers’ classroom behaviors and career decisions, and 2) the ways in which teacher-child interactions influence children’s learning and development. She has been using this expertise to develop assessments of STEAM teacher quality, including the STEAM Classroom Assessment of Learning Experiences (SCALE) classroom observation protocol and the Teacher Beliefs About STEAM Education (TBASE) survey. Dr. Jamil is also the founder of the Child Learning and Development (CLAD) Lab, an interdisciplinary group of faculty researchers at Clemson who are interested in learning and development in the early childhood years. Among other initiatives, the CLAD Lab runs a STEAM professional development conference for early childhood teachers, and attempts to translate information on effective STEAM education to early childhood settings. Dr. Jamil also teaches development courses in the teacher preparation and learning sciences programs in the College of Education, to which she brings her own experiences as a teacher in early childhood and upper elementary classrooms in three countries.

Faiza Jamil's Faculty Profile

Serita Acker

Serita AckerSerita Acker joined Clemson’s Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention (PEER) staff 14 years ago to work with minority engineering students. There she became the director of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). Under her leadership, WISE has expanded to include outreach programs for females from kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as, current undergraduate female students. She has been working with students for over 25 years. The Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network, a national organization, honored WISE, under the direction of Serita Acker, with the 2005 Women in Engineering Initiative Award for the program’s success in attracting and retaining women to science-based majors. Acker is in her 16th year as director of Clemson’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program, which provides support and resources for women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Additionally, Acker oversees WISE-sponsored camps and programs to introduce elementary, middle school and high school girls to careers in STEM. She serves as Director of the Programs for Educational Enrichment Department and still overseeing the Women in Science and Engineering, Serita will continue her mission of providing outreach, recruitment, and retention programs to increase the pipeline of underrepresented minorities and women.

Serita Acker's Faculty Profile

Dr. Karen High

Dr. Karen HighDr. Karen High became the Associate Dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences at Clemson University on May 17, 2015. In addition to her duties as Associate Dean she also holds an academic appointment in the Engineering Science and Education department and joint appointments in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department as well as the Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences department. Prior to this Dr. Karen was at Oklahoma State University where she was a professor for 24 years and served as the Director of Student Services as well as the Women in Engineering Coordinator. Dr. Karen’s educational emphasis includes: critical thinking, enhancing mathematics, engineering entrepreneurship in education, communication skills, K-12 engineering education, and promoting women in engineering. Her technical work and research focuses on sustainable chemical process design, computer aided design, mixed integer nonlinear programing, and multicriteria decision making.

Karen High's Faculty Profile

Joseph Choma

Joseph ChomaJoseph Choma is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and the founder of the Design Topology Lab, an interdisciplinary design research practice. His research interests lie at the intersection of perception, computation, epistemology and pedagogy. Simultaneous to his research, he is investigating the blurring of perceived spatial boundaries with large inhabitable drawing installations. His work has been exhibited internationally, including a solo exhibit at the MIT Museum as part of the 2010 Cambridge Science Festival, the 4th Architectural Biennial Beijing, and the 9th International Beyond Media Festival in Florence. Choma was awarded the Emerging Voices citation by AIA Atlanta for his contribution to the field of architecture through research and experimentation. He completed his graduate studies in design and computation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Joseph Choma's Faculty Profile


Research Affiliates


Jessica Andrews

PhD, Northwestern University

Jessica AndrewsJessica Andrews (Ph.D., Northwestern University) is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Research on Computational Psychometrics at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ. She is also an Edmund W. Gordon/MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 21st Century Learning and Assessment. Her background is in learning sciences, and her research has examined the cognitive processes underlying collaborative learning, focusing particularly on how people acquire information as a function of interacting with others. Her work also explores the design and use of collaborative problem solving tasks to assess individuals’ cognitive and collaborative skills.



Girlie Delacruz

CRESST/University of California, Los Angeles

Girlie DelacruzGirlie Delacruz is an experienced applied research scientist with over 14 years in the areas of assessment, learning, education, cognitive and learning science, and developmental psychology. Her primary research goals lie at the intersection of theories of assessment and learning in educational, training, and military contexts, with a focus on the design and use of various forms of technology including computers, web and mobile-based applications, video games, and sensor-based networks. In the area of assessment, her research focuses on issues of validity, effective and efficient assessment design, and the use of advanced computational models to support formative assessment and adaptive learning. Girlie is currently a MacArthur Foundation/ETS Edmund W. Gordon Fellow--awarded to emerging scholars concerned with the impact of new technologies, recent advances in the learning sciences, and the broader impact of assessment and learning on society in the 21st century.



Jeffrey B. Holmes

Arizona State University

Jeffrey B. HolmesJeffrey B. Holmes is a Founding Graduate Fellow at the Center for Games and Impact at Arizona State University, a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Composition in the Department of English, and a life-long gamer. His research and teaching focuses on videogames and digital media, literacy, informal teaching, and how teaching, learning, and play extend to multiple sites beyond the traditional boundaries of “gamespace.” In particular, he is interested in persistent virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft, and the people dedicated to creating, maintaining, and changing these spaces. Jeff is currently working with the Gordon/MacArthur Fellows to create an assessment for student collaboration in STEAM units.





Graduate Students


Heidi Cian

Heidi CianHeidi Cian graduated from Clemson University with a degree in science teaching in 2010. After graduation, she taught biology and anatomy at Brashier Middle College Charter High School in Simpsonville. While teaching, she developed a peer tutoring program, helped to lead an academic intervention committee, coached students in their senior project class, and advised a student leadership organization that participated in national conferences for middle college students. She began working on her Ph.D. studies at Clemson in the fall of 2015. Her research interests include culturally responsive teaching in the science classroom, academic discourse, and teacher evaluation and mentoring programs.



Nikeetha DSouza

Nikeetha DSouzaNikeetha DSouza received her Master’s degree in Biochemistry from India and has taught schools K-12 for three years. She has also worked with public school principals on education leadership in rural set ups. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Clemson University in the College of Education. Her research interests include integrating arts into the STEM curriculum, the role of culture and language in science learning, teacher preparation programs for science teachers and equitable access to technology.



Lorraine Jacques

Lorraine JacquesLorraine (Lori) Jacques is a third year doctoral student in Learning Sciences. Her research interests include what students can learn when they create with technology and how teachers might apply that in the classroom. The STEAM teaching initiative with Drs. Herro and Quigley is a welcome opportunity to explore both topics.



Juan (Kathy) Li

Juan LiJuan Li (Kathy) is a second-year doctoral student in Learning Sciences at School of Education. She taught English at university level for eight years in China before deciding to conduct research in education. Her current research interests include game-based learning, learning with technology, and STEAM teaching in second language classrooms under the direction of Drs. Herro and Quigley.



Renee Lyons

Renee LyonsRenee Lyons is a doctoral candidate in Science Curriculum and Instruction at Clemson University. Her current research involves exploring how science projects and educational experiences can become third spaces merging the discourse, practices, goals and values of the world of science with the world a person experiences outside of science. Her research works to broaden participation in science by creating new forms of participation in science, forms which present participants with a vision of how participating in science fits in the larger context of their lives. The fusion of arts with science, technology, engineering and math presented by STEAM teaching strategies led her to begin researching these innovative teaching practices under the direction of Drs. Quigley and Herro.