Our group conducts discipline-based education research (DBER) on how undergraduate chemistry students learn concepts and practices that are critical for success in undergraduate chemistry courses. DBER is an interdisciplinary field of study that combines the disciplinary expertise of scientists and engineers with knowledge of learning theory and educational research methods. The goal of this research is to improve student learning in science and engineering courses.

In the Becker group, we use qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore how students engage in scientific practices such as constructing explanations and developing models of chemical phenomena. We translate our research findings into practice by developing and testing evidence-based instructional materials for introductory chemistry courses. Click the Research tab to learn more about current projects in our group!

Recent Group News

June 5 2018 Nicole is in the news regarding her NSF's Noyce Scholarship program (see below)

June 1 2018 The group registered for the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education

May 1 2018 Congrats to Avery, who was awarded Iowa Center for Research For Undergraduate Fellowship for Summer 2018.

April 15 2018 Congrats to Kat on winning the prestigous NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

March 30 2018 Congrats to Kat on passing her comprehensive exam 

Jan 2018 Welcome to Lillie Durow for joining the group 

Dec 1 2017 Congrats to Charlie Rupp for being accepted to the Iowa College of Dentistry…you will be a great dentist!

July 2017 Nicole was a plenary speaker and Kat presented a poster at the Transforming Research in Undergraduate STEM Education Conference in St. Paul, MN.

June 2017 Nicole was a plenary speaker and Rayford and Katie presented posters at the CER Graduate Student Conference in Oxford, OH.

April 2016. Allie and Nicole presented at the Spring ACS meeting in San Francisco.

Sept 2016 Nicole Becker was awarded an NSF IUSE grant to support her work examining student reasoning with mathematical expressions in introductory chemistry courses.

August 2016 The group traveled to the American Chemical Society's 2016 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education in Greeley, CO. Allie, Rayford, and Nicole presented research talks and Katie and Charlie presented posters.

June 2016 Nicole, Rayford, and Katie presented at the The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center) annual conference.

April 2016 Charlie Rupp was awarded the Viksnins, Harris, and Padys Award by the University of Iowa Department of Chemistry for her poster presentation at the Spring Undergraduate Research Festival.

March 2016 Nicole Becker and colleagues Mark McDermott, Ted Neal, and Brooke Strahn-Koller were awarded an NSF Noyce grant to support STEM teacher preparation at Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa.

March 2016 Charlie Rupp was awarded an Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) travel award to attend the American Chemical Society's 2016 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education in Greeley, CO this August.

  • Chemistry Building

    Chemistry Building

  • Periodic table display in chem building

    Periodic table display in chem building