Assistant Professor of Biology 
B.S. Indiana University (Biology)
M.S. Michigan State University (Botany and Plant Pathology)
Ph.D. Indiana University (Science Education)

Office Hours

Courses: Organisms Lab (BIO 114), Life and How it Works (GSCI 165), The Environment in Context (GSCI 166)


My research pursues the link between student experiences, engagement, and performance in undergraduate science education with a focus on STEM persistence and how students construct understanding of scientific concepts and processes. For this, I use quantitative and qualitative methods of discipline-based education research (DBER) with the overarching goal of providing robust empirical data that can be used to help prepare students for the technical workforce and a science-literate citizenry. Specifically, my research interests focus on the nature of undergraduate research experiences and how they benefit students in the sciences, the design and testing of performance measures to assess students’ scientific thinking skills, quantitative literacy and the cognitive processes involved in how individuals make sense of and create data representations, and studying formal and informal educational experiences from the learners’ perspective

Research Opportunities

There are opportunities in the research areas described above for graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in biology/science education, cognition, science learning, or fields that rely on social science methods (e.g., medicine, environmental science). Dependent on the line of study, students may be involved in the interviewing of subjects, collecting and transcribing video, developing and testing performance measures, analyzing quantitative and qualitative survey data, and the use of eye tracking technologies to study how individual interpret data in addition to other potential research practices.

Schmitt-Harsh, M., and J. Harsh. (2013). The development and implementation of an inquiry-based poster project on sustainability in a large non-majors environmental science course. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences,3 (1): 56-64

Harsh, J.A., Maltese, A.V. and R.H. Tai. (2012). A longitudinal perspective of gender differences in STEM undergraduate research experiences.Journal of Chemical Education, 89 (11): 1364–1370

Harsh, J.A., Maltese, A.V. and R.H. Tai (2011). Undergraduate research experiences from a longitudinal perspective. Journal of College Science Teaching41(1): 84-92.

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