Kate Cook, Ed.D.

Kate CookMMSA Title: STEM Education Specialist

Hometown: Wilton, Maine

Education: BA – Oberlin College (Neuroscience and Music History/Theory), M.S.Ed – Northwestern University (Secondary Science Education), Ed.D. – Wright State University (Organizational Studies – Learning Oraganizations)

What is your teaching/learning philosophy: I am deeply interested in science teacher learning and knowledge. I believe that there is a sweet-spot, somewhere at the intersection of high-quality instructional materials, innovative professional learning, and individual teacher knowledge and expertise, where we have the potential to impact significant change in teacher practice and student learning. In the PeBLES2 project, we have the opportunity to explore how to best design engaging and relevant instructional resources to target that sweet spot and promote change.

STEM passion area: I am passionate about ensuring that all students have access to high-quality, engaging, and equitable science learning, particularly at the elementary level. Young children are innately curious about the natural world and eager to ask questions, wonder, notice patterns, and make sense of their world. As educators, I believe it is our responsibility to nurture that curiosity by leaning in to student questions and supporting students in the sense-making process.

What did you do before you worked at MMSA: I began my career as a high school life sciences teacher at the Dayton Regional STEM School in Dayton, Ohio. I then served as an Assistant Professor of Education at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine prior to joining the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance in April 2019. I have also served as a writer and design team member for several Next Generation Science Storylines and OpenSciEd units that have been recognized by Achieve’s Peer Review Panel as Quality Examples of NGSS design. In addition, I was a facilitator for the NGSX Project.

What do you like to do in your free time: I like to spend time with my family and dogs in the outdoors, particularly if it involves being on a mountain (hiking or skiing). I am also a runner and aspiring yogi!

Kate’s Bio: Katahdin (Kate) Cook Whitt is a STEM Education Specialist at the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance. Dr. Cook’s work focuses on designing, implementing, and researching rigorous and equitable curriculum materials and professional learning experiences for three-dimensional science learning. In particular, she is interested in supporting elementary and middle level educators in finding ways to engage learners in making sense of local phenomena by exploring key science ideas using the science and engineering practices. Dr. Cook is currently a Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation funded project PeBLES2: Place-Based Learning for Elementary Science at Scale. She has also served as a writer and design team member for several Next Generation Science Storylines and OpenSciEd units that have been recognized by Achieve’s Peer Review Panel as Quality Examples of NGSS design.

Dr. Cook began her career as a high school life sciences teacher at the Dayton Regional STEM School in Dayton, Ohio. She then served as an Assistant Professor of Education at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine prior to joining the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance in April 2019.

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Phone: (207) 626 3230 x108

Email: all emails are first initial last name at mmsa.org

Projects: 

Consulting
Partnership for Rural Women in Math Careers (Includes)
PeBLES2

Publications:

Todd, A., Romine, W., Sadeghi, R., Cook Whitt, K., Banerjee, T. (2022). How do high school students’ genetics progression networks change due to genetics instruction and how do they stabilize years after instruction? Journal of Research in Science Teaching. doi:10.1002/tea.21744

Cook, K., H. Lakin, S. Allen, S. Byrd, B. Nickerson, and K. Kastelein. (2021). Virtual coaching PLCs in and out of school. Connected Science Learning 3 (1). https://www.nsta.org/connected-science-learning-january-february-2021/virtual-coaching-plcs-and-out-school

Wagh, A., Cook Whitt, K., & Wilensky, U.  (2017).  Bridging inquiry-based science and constructionism: Exploring the alignment between students tinkering with code of computational models and goals of inquiry.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 54(5), 614-641. doi:10.1002/tea.21379 

Todd, A., Romine, W. L., & Cook Whitt, K.  (2017).  Development and validation of the learning progression-based assessment of molecular genetics in a high school context.  Science Education, 101(1), 32-65. doi:10.1002/sce.21252

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