Heather Lynn Johnson, Principal Investigator

Heather Lynn Johnson is a mathematics educator who investigates students’ mathematical reasoning. She designs interactive, online tasks to provide students opportunities to expand their mathematical reasoning, and she teaches teachers to grow their students’ mathematical reasoning. Heather earned her B.S., M.Ed., and Ph.D from Penn State University. Learn more about Heather’s research at hthrlynnj.com.

Gary Olson, Co-Principal Investigator

Gary Olson is a mathematics educator who works to enhance success of undergraduate students in mathematics general education courses.  He designs and shares tactile active learning activities (TACTivities) for precalculus and calculus courses, and he also oversees the teacher training program for mathematics graduate teaching assistants.

Belin Tsinnajinnie, Co-Principal Investigator

Belin Tsinnajinnie (he/him/his) is Diné and Filipinx from Na’ Neelzhiin, New Mexico. Belin received his PhD in Mathematics at the University of Arizona with a doctoral thesis focused on notions of mathematical identity in the context of Indigenous and Latinx students.   He is now a Full-time Faculty of Mathematics at Santa Fe Community College. Belin is interested in identifying and articulating issues pertaining social justice and equity in mathematics education through Indigenous perspectives.

Bikai Nie, Co-Principal Investigator

Bikai Nie is a mathematics educator who works to develop college students’ algebraic ideas, geometric thinking, understanding of calculus and statistical reasoning. His research interests include algebra study for K-16 students and problem solving and posing. Bikai Nie earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from East China Normal University, and M.S. in Statistics from the University of Delaware.

Courtney Donovan, Co-Principal Investigator

Courtney Donovan is a methodologist focused on educational research and evaluation methods.  As a former middle school STEM teacher, Courtney’s research interests include working in the “research to practice” gap in education, developing & validating measures in social sciences, and statistical modeling with datasets encouraging educational and societal change. 

John Carter, Senior Personnel

John Carter joined MSU Denver in 2010 as part of a transition from theoretical mathematics to mathematics education. In the intervening years he has taken a special interest in improving the general studies classes. He has a particular interest in active learning in mathematics classrooms.

Kathryn Williams, Senior Personnel

Kathryn Williams is a full-time mathematics lecturer at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She earned her BA in Theoretical Mathematics at MSU Denver after unsuccessful undergraduate experiences at not one, but two other colleges. She earned her MS in Mathematics at Oregon State University. She teaches general studies math classes with MSU Denver and is passionate about showing students that success is possible even with some speed bumps in life.

Tracy Roberts, Senior Personnel

Tracy Roberts is a mathematics educator who is continually striving to improve her ability to help her students. Last year she took Jo Boeler’s Mathematical Mindsets course which she found very inspiring, and this year she is looking forward to learning how techtivities can enhance her students’ learning. She earned her B.S., and M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from Goddard College. She is a published short story writer, and has taught English and Literature at Burlington College, and Quinnipiac University.

Diane Hegeman, Senior Personnel

Diane Hegeman is a higher education leadership educator who works to strengthen current HE leaders’ potential to the highest levels.  As a former community college administrator, she understands the changing demographics, challenges, and needs of our students and strives to design and implement teaching/learning strategies that prepares others for the future of higher education.  Diane earned her Ph.D. from Colorado State University.

Xin Wang, Project Evaluator

Xin Wang is the external evaluator of the project. As a senior Research Associate at RMC Research, she has expertise in program evaluation, experimental and quasi-experimental designs, quantitative research and analysis, and educational technology. Xin currently serves as co-principal investigator or lead evaluator for multiple research projects funded by the National Science Foundation. She received her MA and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Amy Smith, Project Manager

Amy Smith is the ITsCRITiCAL project manager and a lecturer of mathematics education at the University of Colorado Denver. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Mathematics Education at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research interests include how children conceptualize duration as a measurable attribute of their experiences. Amy was a GRA for two NSF grants exploring elementary and college level students’ mathematical reasoning, and she has 13 years of teaching experience in elementary education.

Livvia Bechtold, Graduate Research Assistant

Livvia Bechtold is a Lecturer of Mathematics and Ph.D. candidate in Mathematics Education at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research interests include diversity, equity, and active learning in undergraduate mathematics education. Livvia earned her B.S. and M.S. in Education with an emphasis in Mathematics and a M.S. in Applied Mathematics at University of Nebraska at Omaha.  

Robert (Bobby) Knurek, Graduate Research Assistant

Bobby Knurek is a Ph.D. candidate in Mathematics Education at the University of Colorado Denver. He earned his BA and MA at Miami University (Ohio). Bobby has 6 years of teaching experience at the middle school level. His research interests are in the authentic reasoning processes of students and the impact of technology in engaging students to formulate deep conceptual understandings.

Kristin Whitmore, Graduate Research Assistant

Kristin Whitmore is a PhD student in Mathematics Education at University of Colorado Denver. Kristin is passionate about educational opportunities that are equitable and meaningful for students. She has been teaching mathematics to students ages 6 to adult for over 20 years. Kristin earned her B.S. in K-8 Education with a Mathematics minor at Plymouth State University and her M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction at Rivier University, both in New Hampshire.

Paul Embleton, Graduate Research Assistant

Paul Embleton is a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado Denver in the School Psychology program and a freelance software developer when time permits. Paul brings his passion for solving real-world problems with technology to the ITsCRITiCAL project as a data scientist who will help the team crunch big survey data with machine learning techniques. Before attending graduate school to become a school psychologist, Paul was secondary education math and English teacher for more than six years. Paul received his BA in education from the Metropolitan State University of Denver and hopes to be a degree-holding licensed psychologist by the end of 2021.

Laura Berryman, Technology Teaching Assistant

Laura Berryman is a Master’s student in Learning, Design & Technology at the University of Colorado, Denver. She is also a Junior Course Developer at MSU Denver. Laura earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics at UC Berkeley, then taught middle and high school science and math before transitioning to a career in instructional design. Laura is passionate about making online learning engaging, meaningful, and accessible for all learners.