ACCT team alumni

Steven Cullipher (PhD Student)

Steven Cullipher completed his PhD in Green Chemistry in 2015, with a  on “Research for the advancement of green chemistry practice: Studies in atmospheric and educational chemistry”. During his PhD, Steven studied benefits-costs-risks thinking and contributed to developing and studying several of the dual-purpose formative assessment tools in the CTLP/ACCT project. Since 2015, he has been an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Prior to his doctoral study, he completed a BA in chemistry in 2007 at Florida Gulf Coast University, and an MS in environmental science at the same university in 2009.

Vesal Dini (Postdoc)

Vesal Dini is currently a Lecturer in Physics at Tufts University. He was a postdoctoral researcher in the Chemistry Department at UMass Boston from 2016 to 2018. He completed his PhD in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Tufts University in 2016. In his doctoral work, he studied the learning and teaching of science, mainly physics, and is particularly interested in how people approach their learning. He pursues two areas of research: the first is related to his dissertation work about whether and how students seek coherence in their knowledge as they learn quantum mechanics; the second involves study of dynamics in responsive teaching (that is, instructor attention to, interpretation of and response to the substance of students’ thinking). Vesal worked with the ACCT team on research to better understand how teacher practices in formative assessment can support students approaching chemistry as the pursuit of coherent understanding.

Jennifer Lambertz (Leadership Team)

Jennifer Doyle Lambertz was an original member of the project leadership team until 2017. She has more recently moved into a leadership position in her school as a coach. Since 2007, she has taught 7th and 8th grade math and science in the Boston Public Schools district, and also has been a 4th grade teacher at the same school. Jennifer graduated from  with a degree in Elementary Education and Human Development. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Moderate Special Education from Boston College. In 2011, Jennifer was named one of Boston’s Best Educators of the year.

Stephanie Murray (Postdoc)

Stephanie Murray was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Chemistry at UMass Boston from August 2018 to December 2019. She studied chemistry teachers’ noticing, interpreting, and acting as they enact formative assessment practices in their classrooms and in how they analyze student work in chemistry. Stephanie completed her Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 2018 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she conducted research on the development of new catalytic methods utilizing a-boryl organometallics. Prior to this, she graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in chemistry from Stonehill College in Easton, MA. Stephanie is now an assistant professor of chemistry at Brandeis University.

Courtney Ngai (PhD Student)

Courtney Ngai completed her PhD in Biological Chemistry in 2017, with a  on “An investigation of chemical identity thinking”. During her PhD, Courtney was a UMass Boston Distinguished Doctoral Fellow. She studied chemical identity thinking and contributed to developing several of the dual-purpose formative assessment tools in the CTLP/ACCT project. Prior to joining UMass Boston as a doctoral student in chemistry, Courtney completed her BS in biochemistry at University of Delaware in 2011, and then worked for a year at Agilent Technologies. She is now a postdoc at Colorado State University.

Marilyne Stains (PhD Student and Postdoc)

Marilyne Stains is currently an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Virginia, and also serves as chemical education research associate editor of the Journal of Chemical Education. Prior to this, she was an assistant and associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she began in 2011. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the Chemistry Department at UMass Boston from 2008 to 2011, and was the first postdoc on the Chemical Thinking project. She contributed to developing and studying dual-purpose formative assessment tools for assessing structure-property relationships thinking. Marilyne completed her PhD in chemistry in 2008,  working with Vicente Talanquer at the University of Arizona, where she also studied chemical thinking in her dissertation research.

Gabriela Szteinberg (Postdoc)

Gaby Szteinberg is currently the Project Coordinator for the General Chemistry Supplemental Program in the Department of Chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, where she has worked since 2014. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the Chemistry Department at UMass Boston from 2012 to 2014. Prior to this, she completed her PhD in chemistry education at Purdue University, where she conducted a mixed-method longitudinal study of the Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education. In her postdoctoral research, Gaby studied the collaborative approach of teacher-researcher partnership in the Chemical Thinking project, and contributed to developing and studying many of the dual-purpose formative assessment tools for assessing chemical thinking.

Melissa Weinrich (PhD Student and Postdoc)

Melissa Weinrich is now an Assistant Professor specializing in chemistry education at the University of Northern Colorado. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry at UMass Boston from 2015 to 2017, where she split her time between the Chemical Thinking project and another research project. Prior to this, she completed her PhD in chemistry at the University of Arizona in 2015 with Vicente Talanquer, where she worked on the Chemical Thinking project as part of her dissertation research. Before that, she graduated with a BA in chemistry from Reed College.