ALICIA ALONZO, PhD
2009 KSTF Research Fellow
Assistant Professor of Science Education
Michigan State University
Dr. Alicia Alonzo’s teaching and research focus on improving science teaching and learning from elementary through high school. After receiving her BS in Engineering Physics from Cornell University, Alicia earned her PhD in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in 1999. As a graduate student, she designed, evaluated, and taught inquiry-based science content courses for elementary school teachers. She further developed her focus on educational issues through a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley and research associate positions at the Caltech Pre-College Science Initiative and Stanford University. In 2006, Alicia became an assistant professor of science education at the University of Iowa; in 2009, she moved to a similar position at Michigan State University.
Alicia's research and work with teachers focus on helping them to respond to student ideas during instruction in ways that support student learning. During her postdoctoral experiences, she examined teachers' responses to student thinking in elementary school classrooms and explored assessment tools to help teachers to find out what their students know and respond with tailored instruction. She extended these experiences to study teachers' content knowledge for teaching as a visiting scholar at the University of Kiel's Leibniz-Institute for Science Education in Germany.
Alicia's research focuses on how teachers interact with students about science content. She is working to improve beginning physics teachers' ability to ask questions that reveal student thinking and to respond effectively to students' answers. With KSTF’s support, Alicia is developing a video-based professional development program to help beginning physics teachers develop the knowledge they need to for responding to students' thinking in these ways. She is studying the impact of these video-based experiences on teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), specialized knowledge of science content needed for teaching.
Awards and Recognitions
Research grant from Iowa Mathematics & Science Education Partnership (2008), National Science Foundation grant for Learning Progressions in Science (LeaPS) Conference (2008), National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education (1999).
- Furtak, E. M., & Alonzo, A. C. (in press). The role of content in inquiry-based elementary science lessons: An analysis of teacher beliefs and enactment. Research in Science Education.
- Alonzo, A. C., & Steedle, J. T. (2009). Developing and assessing a force and motion learning progression. Science Education, 93, 389-421.
- Alonzo, A. C. (2007). Challenges of simultaneously defining and measuring knowledge for teaching. Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives, 5, 131-137.
- Alonzo, A. C., & Gearhart, M. (2006). Considering learning progressions from a classroom assessment perspective. Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives, 14, 99-104.