Dr. Gary Holliday
Dr. Gary M. Holliday is the Assistant Director and an Associate Professor of Science Education in the LeBron James Family Foundation School of Education at the University of Akron in Ohio. He earned both his M.Ed. and his Ph.D. in Science Education. His dissertation addressed the impact of professional development in informal science contexts on teachers’ content knowledge and discourse. To date, his research has focused on teacher professional development in informal settings especially addressing the learning of science, nature of scientific knowledge, inquiry, and bridging the informal and K-12 learning environments. He has published in the International Journal of Science Education and the Journal of Science Teacher Education. He has also co-authored a number of book chapters and has presented his work at professional meetings in the US and in Finland, France, Greece, South Africa, Taiwan, Sweden, and Turkey. In 2014, at the University of Akron, he was honored with the College of Education Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award and, in 2015, with the College of Education Outstanding Faculty Research Award.
Dr. Nidaa Makki
Dr. Nidaa Makki is a Professor in the School of Education with expertise in STEM education, and is Director of the Urban STEM Center. She has extensive experience in pre-service and in-service science teacher education. She has been a PI and project director on many Improving Teacher Quality grants, with a focus on teacher professional development in the areas of Physics Modeling, Engineering Education, and Problem Based Learning. She is a co-PI on an NSF ITEST grant that investigates incorporating engineering design in the middle school physical science curriculum, and an NSF IUSE grant that investigates the impact of job shadowing experiences for freshmen on undergraduate student retention in STEM fields. She has also served as a project evaluator on several local and federal projects.
Dr. Lynne Pachnowski
Lynne Pachnowski is a Professor of Math and Technology Education at the University of Akron. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s in Math Education from John Carroll University. After teaching high school math for four years and obtaining a doctorate in Education Administration from Boston College, in 1993 she became part of the faculty at the University of Akron’s College of Education teaching and researching in Math and Technology Education for the past 26 years. She has served as the university’s Coordinator of Distance Learning for three years, director of the Summer Honors Institute for Gifted and Talented Students for four years, and Project Director of the university’s Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship for Math and Science Teachers for five years. Lynne has been a member of OCTM since 1994, has presented at 24 OCTM annual conferences, and has served on four Akron Annual Conference Committees. In 2016, she co-founded the Rubber City Math Teacher Circle and in 2018, she was elected as the Higher Education representative to OMELC and GAMES (Greater Akron Math Educators’ Society). Last year, she served on the Computer Science Standards writing committee and currently serves on the Early Childhood and Middle Level Mathematics TAG (Transfer Articulation Agreement) course state committee.
Mrs. Karen Plaster
Karen Plaster is an Associate Professor of Practice in the School of Education at The University of Akron. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University. She worked as a manufacturing supervisor and in Quality roles. She received her master’s degree from The University of Akron in Adolescent and Young Adults Mathematics Education with her Ohio Teaching License. In the fall of 2011, she started working at The University of Akron to mentor STEM professionals as they become teachers through the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship. Karen has presented at both the state and national level, including National Science Teacher Association and Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She is a co-founder and current board member of NEOHBots, a non-profit organization to grow robotics throughout Northeast Ohio, tournament director for the FIRST LEGO League District Tournament, facilitator for Girls Who Code and creator of the summer camp Think Tank to Shark Tank. She has been awarded College of Education Teaching and Service Awards, The University of Akron Excellence in Community Engagement Award, the State of Ohio FLL Outstanding Volunteer Award, Crain’s Cleveland Business Notable Women in STEM and the Dorthey O. Jackson Award from Akron’s Women’s Network.
Dr. I-Chun Tsai
Dr. I-Chun Tsai is an Associate Professor in Instructional Technology in the LeBron James Family Foundation at the University of Akron. Dr. Tsai received her Ph.D. in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri in May 2008. Dr. Tsai’s expertise and research focuses on social computing, online learning community of practice, online learning experience, computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL), computer mediated communication (CMC), visualizing social interaction of virtual learning environments, and design and integrating technology in K-12 settings. Currently, Dr. Tsai has several ongoing projects in studying: Impact of Self-Regulation of Online Learning; Using 3D Printing Tools to Support Learning of Neuron Science; Using Virtual Reality and 3D Printing Tools to Teach Anatomy, and Applying Social Network Analysis to Examine Impact of Social Interaction in Online Learning Environment.