CSATS Faculty and Staff

Annmarie Ward, PhD

Annmarie Ward, PhD

CSATS Director
Associate Professor of Science Education

Email: arw192@psu.edu | Phone: 814-863-5240

PhD – Curriculum and Instruction – Science Education, Penn State University
MS (PhD, ABD) – Cellular and Developmental Biology, Harvard University
BS - Botany, Duke University

Annmarie is a former scientist and science teacher. She works closely with scientists, engineers, and K-12 educators to design and implement innovative outreach projects incorporating reform-oriented science teaching practices. Her research interests focus on teacher science content learning and its relationship to inquiry-based teaching.

Annmarie received her B.S. degree in Botany from Duke University, followed by a Master’s degree (Ph.D., ABD) in Cellular and Developmental Biology from Harvard University. After working as a researcher at the U. Mass. Medical Center and later the Idaho National Laboratory, she changed careers to teach middle and high school life science, biology and physical science and achieved National Board Certification in Adolescence & Young Adulthood Science. She also served as Science Curriculum Coordinator for a large Idaho school district, and Adjunct Professor of Education at Idaho State University, teaching introductory teaching and learning theory. After moving to the State College area, she received her Ph.D. degree from Penn State University in Curriculum and Instruction, with a Science Education focus. In addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Center, Annmarie has been a key player working collaboratively with scientists and engineers and K-12 educators to design and implement numerous K-12 education outreach projects incorporating reform-oriented science teaching practices. She also collaborates with other science education and science and engineering faculty to develop and teach specialized content courses for preservice K-8 teachers at Penn State. Her research interests focus on teacher science content learning and its relationship to inquiry-based teaching.

William Carlsen, PhD

William Carlsen, PhD

Faculty Affiliate
Professor of Science Education

Email: wcarlsen@psu.edu | Phone: 814-865-5664

PhD – Curriculum & Teacher Education, Engineering Minor, Stanford University
BA – Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College

Bill is a former science teacher with training in biology, education, and computer science. Bill has served as principal investigator on many professional development and curriculum projects funded by NSF and other agencies. His research interests include teacher knowledge, environmental education, and instructional technologies.

Bill was the founding director of CSATS. Bill and his wife, Cynthia Berger, recently completed a year-long voyage traveling The Great Loop on a hybrid solar-electric canal boat.

Matthew Johnson, PhD

Matthew Johnson, PhD

Research Associate
Assistant Professor of Science Education

Email: mmj125@psu.edu | Phone: 814-863-6607

PhD – Curriculum and Instruction – Science Education, Penn State University 
MS – Curriculum and Instruction – Science Education, Penn State University
BS – Education, Clarion University of Pennsylvania
BA - Biology, Mercyhurst University

At CSATS, Matt works closely with science and engineering faculty to develop and implement teacher professional development programs as part of funded research grants. These workshops use researchers’ projects to support K-12 educators in teaching science content using the practices of scientists and engineers. Matt is also an active member of the National Alliance for Broader Impacts, an organization that serves to support the development of high-quality and scalable activities that broaden the reach of science and engineering research. In supporting outreach efforts across institutions, he has contributed to the development of CSATS’s STEM-EO model, a tool used to assess science education outreach and research endeavors as systems with interrelated and interdependent components. Matt has facilitated conference workshops to support institutions in assessing their science education outreach and research activities using the STEM-EO model. His research is aimed at better understanding the productive use of failure in elementary engineering design projects.

Darlene Kolesar

Darlene Kolesar

Administrative Support Assistant

Email: dmm70@psu.edu | Phone: 814-865-3525

Darlene serves as the Center’s administrative assistant and is accountable for a number of organizational and clerical duties that are essential to run the center. She works independently performing a wide range of complex and confidential administrative duties including office management, customer service, data processing, information preparation, file maintenance, records management, and communications. She monitors multiple budgets-tracking expenditures; works directly with faculty on all aspects of research grants and contracts administration, including pre and post award activities; and processes academic, staff, and graduate appointments.

Amanda Smith, M. Ed

Amanda Smith, M. Ed

STEM Outreach and Engagement Liaison

Email: ajs398@psu.edu | Phone: 814-867-3183

PhD - (in progress), Penn State University
MS – Education Leadership, George Mason University
K-12 Administrative certification, George Mason University
BS – Biology/Ecology, Penn State University

Amanda spent 8 years in Loudoun County Public Schools in Northern Virginia
teaching honors and AP biology as well as an Independent Science Research course,
where she also received the 2007 Teacher of the Year award from the Tourette Syndrome Association. Amanda also earned a master degree in Education Leadership with a K-12 administration certification from George Mason University. Amanda has many outreach professional opportunities such as participating in the Zero Gravity Flight program sponsored by Northrop Grumman and leading a student/adult group on an ecological science trip to Costa Rica. Amanda’s role focuses on building relationships with school divisions and the STEM industry to better support science education and enhance professional development opportunities for teachers.

Kathleen Hill, PhD

Kathleen Hill, PhD

Associate Director
Assistant Professor of Science Education

Email: kathyhill@psu.edu | Phone: 814-863-2275

PhD – Curriculum and Instruction – Science Education, Arizona State University
MS – Environmental Pollution Control, Penn State University
BA – Geological Sciences, Lehigh University

Kathy is a former environmental scientist and science teacher. Kathy’s role at CSATS is to collaborate with scientists and engineers to design and implement STEM education outreach programs that bridge cutting-edge science and engineering research and K-12 classrooms.

Kathy received her B.A. degree in geological sciences from Lehigh University, followed by a M.S. degree in Environmental Pollution Control from Pennsylvania State University. With a move to Phoenix, Arizona, she worked in environmental consulting for 10 years, which involved a wide variety of projects across the desert southwest region. She then transitioned to teaching middle and high school science and served as a teacher leader on the NASA Phoenix Student Internship Program as well as coordinator for a school-wide middle school science and engineering fair. While in Arizona, she received her Ph.D. from Arizona State University in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on science education. She served as an Assistant Professor of Education at Bethany College in West Virginia developing and teaching science and math education courses for preservice teachers. Her research has focused on teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge and specialized content knowledge. Joining CSATS in June 2015, Kathy works with scientists and engineers to design and implement STEM education outreach programs that bridge cutting-edge science and engineering research and K-12 classrooms.

Ashley Rapsinski, M. Ed

Ashley Rapsinski, M. Ed

STEM Outreach Specialist
Research Assistant

Email: adb236@psu.edu | Phone: 814-865-1713

MS – Education Leadership, Saint Francis University
K-12 Administrative certification, Saint Francis University
BS – Elementary Education (science emphasis), Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Ashley is a former elementary and middle school teacher specializing in science
and math instruction. During her six years of teaching in the Altoona Area School
District, she worked with K-6 students in math and science. She also focused her work on integrating math and science across the curriculum in which these efforts lead to a STEAM program for gifted education with at Gifted Days that was held district-wide. Ashley also worked at the Young Scholars of Central PA Charter school where she taught grades 3 through 8 with a focus on cross-curricular activities in STEAM. At CSATS, Ashley works with science and engineering faculty to develop and implement teacher professional development for K-8 educators.