Dr. Furtak’s research grew out of her own experiences as a public high school teacher, in which she struggled to enact science teaching reforms in her own classroom. Her work focuses on how to support secondary science teachers in improving their everyday formative assessment practices. With the support of a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Furtak has been investigating how a long-term professional development program centered on a learning progression for natural selection can support high school teachers in iteratively designing, enacting, and revising formative assessments.
Dr. Furtak teaches courses in the Colorado University (CU) Teach program, as well as Teaching and Learning Biology, and advanced doctoral courses.
She is the 2011 recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and the German Chancellor Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2006). Dr. Furtak has published 18 peer-reviewed articles and two books. She provides extensive service to the teaching profession through long-term research and professional development partnerships with school districts and organizations in Colorado and across the nation.
Dr. Furtak holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and teacher education from Stanford University, an M.A. in education from the University of Denver and a B.A. in environmental, population and organismic biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.