About Connected Bio

The Connected Bio project is a partnership between the Concord Consortium and Michigan State University’s Lyman Briggs College and BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action.

Our Team

Frieda Reichsman
Frieda Reichsman
Principal Investigator
The Concord Consortium
Frieda is a molecular and cellular biologist who strives to make science accessible. She is currently focused on how multi-level modeling can help students perceive and understand pathways from genes to traits, and how these pathways ultimately play out in evolution. She has led the development of three online games for teaching genetics and molecular biology and has designed interactive 3D models for exploring connections between molecular structure and function. Her animated models have appeared in online textbooks and in research journals and presentations. At the University of Massachusetts, she co-developed the “MyDNA” undergraduate course for non-science majors to engage with modern DNA science. She holds a doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where as an NIH Fellow, she also did her postdoctoral training.
Peter J. T. White
Peter J. T. White
Principal Investigator
Michigan State University
Peter is a science education researcher and entomologist at Michigan State University. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Prior to this project, he spent three years developing and testing innovative curriculum to foster a deeper understanding of evolution among students. This project had a large impact on the teaching of evolution across the nation, and the evolution education website that he co-designed and co-developed (www.evo-ed.org) provides valuable teaching and learning resources. Peter is also an associate editor for the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, a Fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education, and holds memberships at the Lepidopterists’ Society, the Entomological Society of American, and the National Association of Biology Teachers.
Paul Horwitz
Paul Horwitz
Co-Principal Investigator
The Concord Consortium
Paul is a physicist with an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a master’s degree from Columbia, and a doctorate from New York University. His educational research interests center around the creation of interactive computer models to help students understand and apply mathematical and scientific concepts, the analysis of performance data generated by such models, and the design of collaborative problem-solving environments for teaching teamwork and assessing the performance of teams. He is the grandfather of two girls and three boys who rank, in his unbiased opinion, among the top five grandchildren on the planet.
Louise S. Mead
Louise S. Mead
Co-Principal Investigator
Michigan State University
Louise is an evolutionary biologist with a broad range of teaching and administrative experience. Louise started her career as a high school science teacher and then earned a PhD in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Massachusetts. She spent four years as the Education Project Director for the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and is currently the Education Director at the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. Louise teaches undergraduate biology and evolution, and is PI or Co-PI on three education-related projects – NSF IUSE: Active LENS: Learning about Evolution and the Nature of Science; NSF DRK12: Collaborative Research: Scientific Data in Schools: Measuring the efficacy of an innovative approach to integrating quantitative reasoning in secondary science; NSF DRK12: Collaborative Research: Connected Biology: Three-dimensional learning from molecules to populations.
Sam Fentress
Sam Fentress
Senior Software Engineer
The Concord Consortium
Sam has been a software engineer at the Concord Consortium since 2010. He has a particular interest in designing models that allow students to discover scientific phenomena for themselves, while remaining engaged and excited about learning. While at Concord he has worked extensively on a wide variety of genetics-based projects, as well as most of the other projects at one point or another. Sam holds a B.A. in Cognitive Science from Wesleyan University and an M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh.
Merle Heidemann
Merle Heidemann
Senior Specialist Emeritus
Michigan State University
 
Fred Hingst
Fred Hingst
Science Teacher
DeWitt High School
Fred is entering his 15th year as a teacher and is currently teaching AP Biology, Biology, and Zoology at DeWitt High School in Michigan. Prior to working with the ConnectedBio project, he has worked with Dr. Robert Cox’s lab at the University of Virginia studying anole lizard evolution and in Richard Lenski’s lab at Michigan State University studying the evolution of E. coli bacteria. Fred and his students are now conducting a study to identify the cues that cause typically asexual duckweed plants to flower and have sex!
Angela Kolonich
Photo not available
Curriculum Consultant
Michigan State University
Angela serves as the Director of Professional Learning for the Next Generation Project Based Learning initiative in the CREATE for STEM institute at Michigan State University. Angela taught both high school science, and undergraduate biological science courses before joining Michigan State University. Her research interests include the development of curricular materials and teacher support programs that integrate equity pedagogies with three-dimensional instruction, and examining how teachers implement high quality materials in ways that meet the unique needs of their students and context. Angela completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education in 2017 at Michigan State University, her M.S. in Biological Science in 2011 at Michigan State University, and her B.S. in Secondary Science Education in 2003 at Central Michigan University.
Eli Kosminsky
Eli Kosminsky
Software Engineer
The Concord Consortium
Eli is a Software Engineer with a background in games and education. He spent several years at the MIT Education Arcade, working on projects including the introductory programming language StarLogo TNG and the educational MMO Project Radix. After moving to the Bay Area, Eli worked at IXL Learning, building front-end components for K-12 problems in math, science, social studies, and ELA before joining the Concord Consortium. Eli enjoys playing and designing board games in his spare time. He previously ran Boston’s largest group of tabletop game developers, and New England’s largest independent games festival, the Boston Festival of Indie Games. His first game is Ursa Miner, a game about bears mining honey and royal jelly from Mount Honeycomb. Eli holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT.
Joe Krajcik
Joseph Krajcik
Senior Personnel
CREATE for STEM Institute
Joseph is Lappan-Phillips Professor of Science Education and director of the CREATE for STEM Institute. A former high school chemistry and physical science teacher, Krajcik spent 21 years at the University of Michigan before coming to MSU in 2011. During his career, he has focused on working with science teachers to reform science teaching practices to promote students’ engagement in and learning of science. He was principal investigator on a National Science Foundation project that aimed to design, develop and test the next generation of middle school curriculum materials to engage students in obtaining deep understandings of science content and practices. He served as head of the Physical Science Design Team to develop the Next Generation Science Standards. Krajcik, along with Professor Angela Calabrese Barton from MSU, served as co-editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Krajcik has authored and co-authored curriculum materials, books, software and over 100 manuscripts, and makes frequent presentations at international, national and regional conferences. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has served as president of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), from which he received the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education Through Research Award in 2010.
Kiley McElroy-Brown
Kiley McElroy-Brown
Project Manager
The Concord Consortium
Kiley is a project manager for the Connected Biology project. She is responsible for coordinating the development process of our technology-enhanced resources, observing teachers implementing our educational innovations, and collaborating with project researchers. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Bridgewater State University and an M.S. in Biology from the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she studied the effects of different pedagogical strategies on student performance and learning in undergraduate biology courses.
Jim Smith
Jim Smith
Senior Personnel
Michigan State University
Jim is a Professor of Biology in the Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University, with a joint appointment in the MSU Department of Entomology. Smith teaches introductory biology and senior capstone courses (e.g., Evolutionary Medicine, Nature-Nurture) for undergraduates within the Lyman Briggs College, as well as conducting research and scholarship in evolution education. Smith was the PI on the NSF project that developed the Integrative Cases in Evolution Education (Evo-ED cases), and he is Co-PI on the NSF-funded Avida-ED Active LENS project. Smith and his students conduct research on the evolutionary relationships of Rhagoletis fruit flies and their parasitoid wasps. These efforts focus on deciphering the evolutionary relationships of naturally occurring Rhagoletis species and populations that are distributed across the temperate zones of the Old and New World. Smith is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Amy Stirling
Amy Stirling
Science Teacher
Michigan Virtual Charter Academy
Amy has been a high school science teacher for 8 years, and is currently a virtual high school science teacher, and science department chair for Michigan Virtual Charter Academy. Her previous roles include: instructional science coach, 7th-12th grade assistant principal, and high school lead. She received her undergraduate degree from Hillsdale College in Marketing Management with a minor in Biology, and her secondary teaching credential in biology and integrated science from California State University, Northridge. She will finish her master’s degree in educational leadership with Grand Valley State University in December 2018. Amy has consulted on the Bias and Sensitivity Committee for the new Michigan science state test, and has been selected to be a part of the Michigan Alternate Content Standards for Science Educator Panel.
Alexa Warwick
Alexa Warwick
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Michigan State University
Alexa is a postdoc at Michigan State University. Her research interests include developing and assessing science education curriculum at both the K-12 and undergraduate levels. She is also broadly interested in the patterns and processes that shape biological diversity and species distributions. She completed her Ph.D. in Biology in 2016 at Florida State University and earned a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Dual Languages: Spanish/Portuguese at the University of Northern Iowa.