Ellen J. Yezierski
Professor of Chemistry
Miami University

Dr. Ellen Yezierski received a B.S.Ed. in chemistry (minor in physics) from the University of Arizona in 1989 and taught high school chemistry for seven years. Dr. Yezierski received an M.Ed. in secondary education with an emphasis on educational psychology from Northern Arizona University in 1996 and worked as an education consultant to Motorola, Inc. and several media publishers. She received a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction (Science/Chemistry Education) from Arizona State University in 2003. While pursuing her Ph.D. in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. Yezierski became familiar with the challenges of actively engaging students in large classes. She has worked to integrate her research on the particulate nature of matter and conceptual change to improve teaching in large lecture courses.

Dr. Yezierski spent 7 years as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) where her implementation of active learning strategies in her own courses along with workshops have encouraged and influenced GVSU colleagues across departments to reform their instructional strategies. Dr. Yezierski received a 2008 Pew Teaching Excellence Award for these efforts. Dr. Yezierski has taught courses in introductory chemistry as well as physical science and chemistry courses for pre-service elementary and secondary teachers. She serves on the Executive Committee for the Division of Chemical Education, the Board of Publication for the Journal of Chemical Education, the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Chemical Education, and the Editorial Board for the Science Educator.

Yezierski's scholarly work since 2003 has focused on the promotion of scientific inquiry in high school chemistry. With support from GVSU, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, Dr. Yezierski and Dr. Deborah Herrington (GVSU) have designed and implemented a new professional development model known as Target Inquiry (TI) (www.gvsu.edu/targetinquiry). The pilot study of TI has shown that the model improves instruction and student outcomes and continues as a collaboration between Herrington's and Yezierski's groups. Dr. Yezierski has implemented the TI model at Miami University with the support of the National Science Foundation (Award DRL-1118749), thus building a rich lab to investigate new research questions related to inquiry instruction, teacher change, and the effects of high school teacher professional development on teachers and their students. 

Since joining the faculty at Miami in 2010, Yezierski's achievements in teaching at Miami were recognized by the Distinguished Teaching Award (2015). She was promoted to the rank of Professor in 2015 and selected as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2016.