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Kea Anderson

Senior Education Researcher, SRI Education

Researcher and evaluator Kea Anderson, PhD, specializes in informal STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning and STEM learning pathways. In her work, she seeks to improve equity in and access to out-of-school learning opportunities and to connect home, school, and community learning contexts. She also works with education leaders, teachers, and informal educators to use evaluation and continuous improvement approaches to improve equity, through both system-level initiatives and local community engagement.

Anderson leads the evaluation of the STEM Core Alliance, a national network of community colleges and employers, funded by the NSF INCLUDES program, that helps students who enter college underprepared in math overcome that obstacle and prepare for STEM careers. She recently led the summative evaluation of the Research+Practice Collaboratory, a networked group of research-practice partnerships established to improve equity and outcomes in STEM education while developing tools and approaches to support the education research-and-practice field. As part of the Regional Educational Laboratory for the Appalachian region, she coaches West Virginia Simulated Workplace leaders in continuous improvement.

Other current and recent projects center on the study of community partnerships and community engagement initiatives. For the Ready to Learn Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Anderson is evaluating a national network of community coalitions that aims to build confidence and skills for parents from underresourced communities to support their young children’s learning.

Anderson took an unusual path to SRI. She first became interested in how people learn (and learn better) teaching and training new instructors during graduate school. She holds a PhD 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.

Key projects

  1. Evaluation of the STEM Core Alliance
  2. Evaluation of the Research+Practice Collaboratory
  3. Ready to Learn Research
  4. Improving school culture in West Virginia Simulated Workplaces
  5. Evaluation of NSF’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program
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