Home         Research Projects          People          Publications       Resources       Contact          

Hannah Sevian is an Associate Professor in Chemistry Department at UMass Boston. She is also a member of the Center of Science and Mathematics in Context. She earned a Ph.D. in 1992 in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin Madison, M.Phil. and M.S. degrees in chemical physics from Columbia University, and a B.S. in chemical engineering and B.A. in chemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her training also includes post-doctoral work in theoretical polymer chemistry at Dartmouth College, seven years of teaching chemistry and physics in English and Spanish in urban and rural schools, and experimental materials science research while working as a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 2009-11, she was on loan from UMass Boston to serve as a program officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education, and the Division of Research on Learning, at the National Science Foundation. She has been on the faculty at UMass Boston since 2001. <curriculum vitae>

Steven Cullipher is in the Green Chemistry track of the Ph.D. program in the Chemistry Department. He completed at B.A. in chemistry at Florida Gulf Coast University in 2007, and an M.S. in environmental science at the same university in 2009. He is currently studying how undergraduate and graduate students develop understanding of benefits, costs and risks associated with chemical design, as part of validating a learning progression on chemical design. Steven expects to complete his Ph.D. in 2014 or 2015.


Courtney Ngai
 will begin her Ph.D. in 2012 in the Biological Chemistry track of the Ph.D. program in the Chemistry Department. She completed her B.S. in biochemistry with honors at University of Delaware in 2011, and interned at Agilent Technologies in Delaware during 2011-12. Courtney was awarded UMass Boston's Distinguished Doctoral Fellowship for 2012-17.

Taraneh Farhangmehr is a senior, majoring in chemistry, with a minor in French. She is originally from Iran. She is studying how students develop science identity, and particularly identity as chemists, through problem-based learning in the general chemistry course. Taraneh hopes to continue studies in art, psychology, and chemistry upon completing the M.S./B.S. degree program in chemistry.

Siedeh Rezaei-Kalamabad is a sophomore majoring in biology, with substantial prior coursework in art and art history. She grew up in Cambridge, MA. She is studying how middle school students question, hypothesize, and construct experiments, and how scientific identity develops through the process of learning to do this. Siedeh intends to be a middle school science teacher.

Trenton Woodham is a sophomore majoring in biochemistry. He grew up in Texas. He is working on developing a greener and more economical alternative for students to study kinetics phenomena in high school and lower-level undergraduate chemistry laboratory learning, with the hope that a suite of elegant and simple experiments on kinetics could be done inexpensively in schools in the US as well as in places in the world where there are few resources for laboratory experiments. Trenton would like to continue his studies toward a Ph.D. in biotechnology.

Jialei Xu is a freshman majoring in chemistry. She is originally from China. She is exploring options for a research project that will combine her love for organic synthesis with chemical education research. 

Nicholas Zenquis is a sophomore majoring in biology. Nic grew up in XXX. He is working on developing inexpensive and green methods of measuring kinetics phenomena in the context of undergraduate chemistry laboratory learning. Nic would like to...

 

ALUMNI OF THE SEVIAN RESEARCH GROUP

* Postdocs

Dr. Marilyne Stains was a postdoc in Chemistry from 2008-11. She earned her Ph.D. in chemical education from the University of Arizona in 2007. In her thesis work she explored how students' patterns of reasoning in chemistry evolve with increasing expertise in the field. Three publications of the results of these studies (linked following) were published in JRST, IJSE (+erratum), and JCE. While pursuing her Ph.D., she also taught general chemistry courses at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. Prior to her Ph.D. she completed her Master's degree in quantum chemistry at the Universite de Toulouse (France) in 2002. While at UMass Boston, she worked with the Boston Science Partnership articulation team study on understanding the development of students' conceptualizations of scientific models. She also worked on reliability tests on a survey designed to measure students' critical thinking abilities in science (on this project she is collaborating with Prof. Brian White of the Biology department at UMass Boston). Dr. Stains is now an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. <Prof. Stains research group website>

 Dr. Shiqi Hao was a postdoc at the Center of Science and Math in Context from 2006-9. He received his B.A. in English Language and Literature from Hebei University in China in 1982. He obtained an M.S.E degree in secondary education from the College of Staten Island, CUNY in 1988. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research from the University of South Carolina in 2005. While at UMass Boston, he worked on the STEM pipeline research project. He presented his research most recently at AERA. Dr. Hao is now a psychometrician and statistician at the Michigan State Department of Education.

Dr. Soma Chattopadhyay was a postdoc in Chemistry from 2006-8. She taught physical chemistry at UMass Boston in Fall, 2006. She earned her PhD. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. Her thesis research involved fabrication of porous light-emitting silicon, spectroscopy and surface analytical characterization, and application of the material in chemical sensing. Prior to that, she completed her undergraduate education in India, earning a B.Tech. in chemical technology and a B.Sc. in chemistry from Calcutta University. While at UMass Boston, she worked on ruthenium light emitting thin films projects. Dr. Chattopadhyay is now an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at University of Wisconsin-Platteville. 

Dr. Allison Skerrett was a Post-doctoral Research Associate in the Center of Science and Math in Context from 2006-2007. She is now an Assistant Professor of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Texas at Austin. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriclum & Instruction from Boston College in 2007. Prior to that, she was an English teacher at Dorchester High School in Boston. She worked on the STEM-K12 outreach faculty motivation study. <Prof. Skerrett's website at UT Austin>

* Graduate Students

Kristen Cacciatore began her Ph.D. work in Green Chemistry in 2005, and completed her Ph.D. in 2010. In September, 2007, she accepted a job as a chemistry teacher at East Boston High School in Boston while she continued her Ph.D. studies. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she taught chemistry at Dedham High School for five years. She earned her M.Ed. in teacher education at UMass Boston in 2004, and a B.S. in biology from UMass Boston in 1999. While at UMass Boston, Dr. Cacciatore studied chemistry laboratory learning and the development of green inquiry labs. She was also a contributing author to Active Chemistry. She authored several papers (see Publications) and presented about her research at the Gordon Research Conference on Chemistry Education Research & Practice, the American Chemical Society, the AP Equity Conference, the national conference of the National Science Teachers Association, and the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education. She continues to lead the Boston Science Partnership's AP Chemistry Saturday labs for Boston Public Schools students during the year at UMass Boston. She was honored with the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence in 2008.

Tirzah Deering was an M.Ed. student who earned licensure in middle school science & math teacher education. She earned a B.A. in psychology, with a minor in educational studies, from Haverford College in 2004 and also spent considerable time assisting and teaching in the Philadelphia Public Schools. While at UMass Boston, she worked on a study of science teacher content knowledge retention post-professional development. She has taught middle school science in Boston Public Schools and mathematics a middle school in Malden. She presented about her research in January 2008 at the Knowledge Management and Dissemination Conference as part of the NSF Math Science Partnership Learning Network Conference.

Sally Rosen completed her M.Ed. with licensure in high school biology in 2004. She was Dr. Sevian's first graduate student. She is now a biology teacher at Newton North High School.

* Undergraduate Students

Jose Amado has nearly completed a B.S. in electrical engineering from UMass Lowell. He is originally from Cape Verde. From 2004-7, Jose completed pre-engineering undergraduate studies at UMass Boston while working on undergraduate green chemistry inquiry-based lab development. He co-authored a paper published in the Journal of Chemical Education, and presented a poster about his research at the American Chemical Society meeting in 2009.
Marta Escriu-Suñé graduated with honors in biology from UMass Boston in 2011. She is originally from Spain. She carried out her honors thesis work within the development of conceptualization of scientific models project with Dr. Stains, co-authored a paper that is published in the Journal of Chemical Education, and presented a poster about her research at the American Chemical Society meeting in 2011. Marta intends to go to medical school.

Laura Kibuuka graduated with honors in biology from UMass Boston in 2009. She is originally from Uganda. She carried out her honors thesis work on the ruthenium light emitting diode project, which she worked on for three years. Laura is now in medical school at Brown University. Shown in photo, she presented a poster about her research at the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia in 2008. <Link to abstract>

Veneta Slavova graduated with honors in biochemistry from UMass Boston in 2010. She is originally from Bulgaria. She worked on the ruthenium thin films projects with Dr. Chattopadhyay for two years. Veneta intends to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at some point. In the summer of 2009, she did a Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently a Research Associate at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.


Mitzi Sweeney
 was an NIH Bridges Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) intern in the summer of 2007, while she was a sophomore majoring in pre-nursing at Roxbury Community College. She transferred to UMass Boston in January, 2008, to complete her B.S. in nursing. Mitzi is originally from Guyana. While in our research group, she worked on green inquiry labs development.

Autumn Tobin (née McEuen) graduated with honors in biology from UMass Boston in 2006. She grew up in Ohio. She completed the Teach Next Year program, a partnership between UMass Boston and Boston Public Schools, and is now a high school biology and chemistry teacher in Boston Public Schools.


Mulbah Zaza
 graduated in 2007 with a B.S. in chemistry from UMass Boston. He is originally from Liberia. He did his undergraduate capstone thesis research on a study of differences in how general chemistry students understand entropy questions when solving problems presented with words only, words with static drawings, and words with animations. 

Post-doctoral Research Associates

  • (None currently)

Graduate Students

  • Steven Cullipher, Ph.D. student, green chemistry
  • Courtney Ngai, Ph.D. student, biological chemistry

Undergraduate Research Students

  • Siedeh Rezaei-Kalamabad, biology major (junior)
  • Trenton Woodham, biochemistry major (sophomore)
  • Nicholas Zenquis, biology major (sophomore)
  • Jialei Xu, chemistry major (freshman)
  • Taraneh Farhangmehr, chemistry major (senior)

Alumni of the Sevian Research Group

  • Dr. Marilyne Stains, postdoc 2008-11, now Assistant Professor, Chemistry Department, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Dr. Kristen Cacciatore, Ph.D. 2010, chemistry teacher in Boston Public Schools
  • Tirzah Deering, M.Ed. 2008, middle school math and science teacher
  • Marta Escriu-Suñé, B.S. biology, now a biotechnology professional, Hartford, CT
  • Laura Kibuuka, B.S. biology honors, now studying toward MD at Alpert Medical School, Brown University
  • Veneta Slavova, B.S. biochemistry, now a Research Associate at Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Dr. Shiqi Hao, postdoc 2006-9, now Psychometrician, Michigan Department of Education
  • Dr. Soma Chattopadhyay,postdoc 2007-9, now Assistant Professor, Chemistry Department, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  • Mitzi Sweeney, REU Student from Roxbury Community College in Summer 2007. Now an undergraduate student at UMass Boston.
  • Jose Amado, 2005-2007. Now a senior majoring in electrical engineering, UMass Lowell. 
  • Dr. Allison Skerrett, Post-doc 2006-7, Now an Assistant Professor at University of Texas Austin
  • Autumn Tobin (née McEuen), B.S. biology honors 2004-6. Biology teacher in Boston Public Schools
  • Sally Rosen, M.Ed. 2004. Biology teacher at Newton North High School