Team Members

Lab Director

Jingjing Sun

Jingjing Sun is the Director of the Collaboration & Reasoning Lab and an assistant professor of Educational Psychology in the Department of Teaching & Learning. Her research examines the processes of learning and development during collaborative group settings, with a current focus on youth’s socioemotional development and school engagement. She is proud to lead an interdisciplinary team of dedicated graduate and undergraduate students. When she is not on campus or collecting data in schools, you can find her reading, hiking, skiing/snowboarding, enjoying community events, or hanging upside down in a hammock.

Graduate Students

Emma Datu

Emma is pursuing a doctoral degree in Teaching and Learning. She has been a Graduate Teaching Assistant at UM since 2015, while teaching Indonesian as a foreign language. Her academic/ research interest is related to the field of foreign language teaching, such as Content-Based Instruction and Collaborative Reasoning, in English as a Second Language context. Working at the CR Lab with Dr. Sun allows her to experience research first hand and to develop her own research interest. After graduation, she plans to continue teaching and be involved in research related to language learning. In her free time, she loves going on road trips, trying local cuisines, and photography.

Marié MacRae

Marié MacRae is a graduate student in the Master’s of Education, Teaching and Learning Program at University of Montana and she is currently working towards her secondary licensure. She has taught for over 10 years now in many educational settings and finds that teaching within the public school system rewarding because it gives her a chance to meet and interact with students from all walks of life. Marié enjoys observing inquiry-based classroom interactions through working in the research lab, which allows her to be better equipped as a future teacher and educator. In her spare time, she likes to hike, walk, bike, run, and she enjoys camping and going on canoe trips. She considers herself a very active person and loves to be outdoors in nature. When she is outside in the natural world, she often finds new paths that lead her to new pathways and greater things in life.

Kelsey Christopher

Kelsey is a graduate of Gonzaga University, with a B.A. in Psychology and minors in Sociology and Gender Studies. She has enjoyed working with children in a variety of recreational and educational settings, ranging from summer camp to one-on-one behavioral interventions with children with autism. Kelsey is excited to be a part of Project SELA, drawing on her experience working with kids and her love for her hometown community of Arlee to help build a strong, culturally supported Social Emotional Learning curriculum specific to students in Arlee. In her free time she enjoys photography, kayaking and hanging out with her dog, Gus.

Undergraduate Students

Michael Finlay

Michael Finlay is a senior at the University of Montana studying biology and seeking secondary teaching endorsements in both broadfield science and biology. His passion for education started at a young age, but he did not fall in love with science until he met his high school biology teacher. Thus, in pursuing a career in education, he hopes to impact students like his teachers impacted him. Upon graduation in May 2019, Michael hopes to accept a science teaching position and plans to continue improving his teaching practice. When not in class, he can usually be found biking, hiking, skiing, fishing, cooking, or playing music.

Dominique Nault

Dominique is an enrolled member of the Chippewa-Cree tribe. She is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies with a double minor in Journalism and Climate Change Studies. After college, she plans to continue her education with a Master’s in economic development and continue serving Indian Country. Dominique enjoys hiking, swimming, reading, and going back home and participating in ceremonies with her family because her culture is a major part of her identity. She works as a research assistant for Project SELA and is excited to meet and engage with the community of Arlee.

Jenna Parker

Jenna Parker is an enrolled member of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe. She is pursuing her undergraduate degree in Art Education with a Minor in Art History. This spring, she has chance to have her art on exhibit. After college, she plans to teach at Box Elder Public Schools where she went to school as a child. She wants to give back to the community, show students the more conceptual side of art, and be a role model for them to pursue higher education. Jenna also has plans to have her own studio to keep working on personal art.

lab Alumni

Mariah Purcell

Gary Warchola

Kari Hinkle

Ciera Finberg

Reagan Mecham

Abby Jones

Margaret Finlay