Kea Anderson | SRI International

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Kea Anderson

Senior Education Researcher, SRI Education

Kea Anderson, Ph.D., is a researcher and evaluator who specializes in informal STEM learning. Her work focuses on improving equity in and access to out-of-school learning opportunities and connecting home, school, and community contexts. Her recent and current work focuses on building researchers’ and educators’ capacity to promote and support equity in STEM, through both system-level initiatives and locally driven community engagement.

Anderson is deputy director of the NSF-funded INCLUDES Coordination Hub, tasked with developing and supporting a national network of NSF grantees and others seeking to broaden participation in STEM pathways and careers. The Hub provides technical assistance and other support to amplify the impacts of networks’ members efforts. By implementing shared measures across the network, the Hub will also enable measurement of the network’s collective impact.

Anderson recently led the summative evaluation of the Research+Practice Collaboratory, a networked group of research-practice partnerships (RPPs) focused on improving equity and outcomes in STEM education while developing tools and approaches to support the education research-and-practice field. In another project, with the American Museum of Natural History, Anderson is investigating the STEM pathways of youth participants in and alumni of an intensive mentored research experience.

Other current and recent projects center on the study of community partnerships and community engagement initiatives. As part of her research for the Ready to Learn Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, she is evaluating community coalitions formed around public media stations to engage parents and young children, especially those from low-income communities, in early STEM learning. She also recently completed a study of digital media in aquariums and a related outreach program led by public media stations to engage young children in ocean science learning. Other recent projects include a landscape study of communities and resources that connect educators in making and several NSF program evaluations

Anderson took an unusual path to SRI. She first became interested in how people learn (and learn better) during her graduate studies while teaching and training new instructors. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She also holds a diplôme des études approfondies from the Université de Paris 7. Her interest in informal STEM learning comes from a childhood lost in the woods, rainy Saturdays enlivened by engineering design challenges devised by her mom, and the regular company of the mice, chicks, and other critters she and her brothers gleefully raised for their various school science projects.

Current Projects

  1. NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub
  2. Evaluation of the Research+Practice Collaboratory
  3. Ready to Learn Research
  4. Staying in Science: Examining the Pathways of Underrepresented Youth Mentored in Research
  5. Evaluation of NSF’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program