Maya Israel, Ph.D.
Maya Israel, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Educational Technology and Computer Science Education at the University of Florida. She is also the Director of the CSEveryone: The Kenneth C. Griffin CS Education for All Initiative as well as the Creative Technology Research Lab at the UF. Prior to entering higher education, Dr. Israel was a special education teacher. Her research focuses on strategies for supporting students with disabilities and other academically diverse learners’ meaningful engagement in computer science education through Universal Design for Learning (UDL). She is currently PI or co-PI on several grants including a National Science Foundation project that brings together researchers and educational leaders to address ways to make computer science education more inclusive to students with disabilities. Dr. Israel was a writer on the K-12 Computer Science Education Framework as well as the revisions of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Standards for Computer Science Teachers. Lastly, Dr. Israel works with multiple school districts on systemic and classroom strategies to more equitably include students with disabilities in K-12 computer science education initiatives.
Andrew Bennett is a Research Assistant for the Creative Technology Research Lab and a doctoral student at the University of Florida. Andrew earned a M.Ed. in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard University, a M.S. / C.A.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education / Disability Studies from Syracuse, a M.A. in English / Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska – Kearney, and a B.A. in English from Gustavus Adolphus College. Previous related work experience includes a research internship with the Creative Computing Lab at Harvard, being a teaching assistant for a Universal Design for Learning course at Syracuse University and being an education technician intern for the Special Education division at the headquarters of the Department of Defense Education Activity. Andrew’s research interests are related to teacher and preservice teacher professional development related to UDL and integrating UDL into computer science curriculum.
LaToya Chandler is a Ph.D. student in curriculum and instruction specializing in Educational Technology. She is an interdisciplinary science and GRRATE faculty member at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. Her work in education with the GRRATE program is centered on increasing engagement in STEM through inclusion and collaborative learning in robotics. She holds an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida. She has done extensive work in designing community-based informal K-8 STEM experiences to strengthen identities and attitudes towards STEM for underrepresented students. Her research interests are in leveraging technology and scaffolding cooperative learning environments in math and science to promote metacognitive awareness and self-regulation.
Alexis is a member of the 7th cohort in the University of Florida online EdD. in Curriculum and Instruction in Educational Technology. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she worked in general education as well as computer science and educational technology over the last sixteen years. She is currently the Director of Educational Technology & Innovation at a K-12 independent school in Boca Raton, Fl. Alexis’s research interests include inclusive and equitable pedagogies as a means to reduce barriers to the inclusions of students with disabilities in K-12 CS education.
A doctoral student supervised by Dr. Israel. Tongxi graduated from Fudan University with a master’ degree in Mathematics Education. Current research interests are LA and EDM, especially analyzing learners’ computational abilities based on their programming behaviors.
Andrea is a third-year doctoral student at the University of Florida in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Educational Technology. Before entering the program, Andrea received a master’s degree in Education and ICT and a bachelor’s degree in Software Systems Engineering. She has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses for the past thirteen years ranging from algorithms and process engineering to instructional design and applications of technology in education. Andrea’s research interest is to understand the implications of employing software systems concepts when designing meaningful learning experiences to develop kids’ problem-solving and metacognition skills. In addition, she is part of a research team under a National Science Foundation grant aiming to integrate equity principles into CS instruction.
Hank Samuels is a third year doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Teachers, Schools, and Society at the University of Florida. A former elementary school teacher, Hank is interested in the intersections of teacher education, professional development, creativity, and arts integration. He is specifically interested in examining how teacher educators, practicing teachers, and preservice teachers can support the imagination-intellectual and creative development of their students.
Yukyeong Song is a Ph.D. student in Educational Technology at the UF College of Education and is co-advised by Dr. Wanli Xing. She earned her master’s degree in Educational Technology from Seoul National University in South Korea. Her research interests are in AI and Data Literacy education, Learning Analytics using AI. She has plenty of practical experience and used to work as an instructional designer for AI/Data Science engineers at Hyundai Motor Company. She also has a great passion for teaching. She used to teach AI in high school after-school programs.
Lauren is a third-year doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in Educational Technology and Teachers, Schools, and Society. She teaches technology integration courses for preservice teachers and conducts research at the intersection of teacher education and educational technology with a focus on innovative and equity-centered pedagogy. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University in Interior Design, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from The University of the Arts in K-12 Art Education, and a Master of Science degree in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning and Graduate Certificate in Workplace e-Learning and Performance Support from Boise State University. She has more than a decade of teaching experience at the secondary and post-secondary levels in STEAM-related disciplines such as architecture, engineering, and the visual arts, and has worked as an instructional designer and e-learning specialist in higher education.
Wei Yan is a PhD candidate, majoring in Educational Technology at the University of Florida. Before entering the program, she got her BA in Elementary Education (Mathematics and Science) from China and MA in curriculum and instruction (Elementary Education) from UF. Her research interest is integrating Computational Thinking into the elementary curriculum, especially in math and science.
Post-Doctoral Research Associates
Richard Bex, Ph.D.
Richard Bex is a postdoctoral research associate at the Creative Technology Research Lab (CTRL). He holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Science Education from the University of Florida. His research broadly focuses on designing, developing, and evaluating informal environments for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning using a design-based research approach. Specifically, he examines the users, their topics of conversation, and their patterns of interaction and participation in digital STEM learning environments.
Tammy Huang, Ph.D.
Rui Tammy Huang is a post-doctoral research associate at the Creative Technology Research Lab (CTRL). Tammy holds a Ph.D. majoring in Educational Technology in the School of Teaching and Learning and a minor in Human-Centered Computing at the University of Florida, and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Learning Technology from the University of Minnesota. Her primary research interests are the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of collaborative online and immersive learning environments for CS teachers and students of under-represented and vulnerable populations.
Joanne Barrett, Ed.D.
Joanne is a former computer science classroom teacher who is working as the Director of Teacher Education for the Kenneth C. Griffin Computer Science Education for All Initiative. She earned her doctorate in 2017 from the University of Florida in Educational Technology. Her research interest is K-12 computer science education.
Johnny Delgado is a member of the Griffin CS For All Initiative. His primary focuses are in developing a microcredential to introduce pre-service teachers to computer science (CS) and supporting the development of teacher candidates at PK Yonge. Before his employment at UF, Johnny worked in secondary education promoting project-based cross-disciplinary learning, and teaching AP CS and Virtual Reality Video Game Design/Development.
Leela is a research coordinator with the School of Teaching and Learning at COE, UF and manages multiple grant awards. Leela’s academic background includes masters and doctoral degrees in Biology and also a masters degree in Educational Administration. Before arriving at UF in 2009, her work experience includes being faculty in Zoology for 15 years at the Madras Christan College, Chennai, India, and then a research coordinator at the COE, University of Hawaii. To date, Leela has managed more than $25 million in grant funding. Her diverse and extensive experience in academia and higher educational administration enables her to meaningfully contribute to all programmatic and roll out aspects of grant roll out and management.
Michael is a web developer focusing on IT accessibility for the Kenneth C. Griffin Computer Science Education for All Initiative. He works with other staff to develop accessible materials so that the project’s content and deliverables will be usable by all participants, especially those with disabilities. He earned his B.S. and Ed.M. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has a particular interest in outreach and engagement work, especially when it involves helping researchers and educators communicate about math, science, and sustainability through web-based games, curriculum materials, and citizen-science initiatives. He also leads a monthly discussion group related to IT accessibility where everyone involved in the development and maintenance of websites and other digital products can bring their accessibility questions to an open dialog.
Carla Strickland is the Digital Development Manager at UChicago STEM Education. She is an expert in digitally enhanced STEM curriculum, teaching, and learning. Her work involves working with elementary teachers and administrators to integrate computer science into their existing STEM instruction, with a particular focus on culturally responsive pedagogy and curriculum. Carla brings an Afro-Caribbean perspective and a passion for equitable, high-quality instruction to her work in education.
Former Team Members
Thank you to all the students, faculty, and staff who worked with us in CTRL.
- Eli Byrd
- Matthew Beuttenmuller
- Yasemin Cicek
- Gakyung Jeong
- Todd Lash
- Ruohan Liu
- Feiya Luo
- Idrissa Presley-Peterson
- Jelena Pokimica
- George Reese
- Saad Shehab
- Quinn Wherfel