RC 20/20

Learning Assistants at CU Boulder

Laurie Langdon, Director, CU Boulder LA Program and Founding Member, Learning Assistant Alliance, University of Colorado, Boulder

Valerie Otero, Professor, Executive Director of Learning Assistant Program, Co-Director Center for STEM Learning, University of Colorado, Boulder

Laura Hansman, Student Assistant to the Learning Assistant Program and LA Mentor, University of Colorado Boulder

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Laurie Langdon

Dr. Laurie Langdon is Director of the Learning Assistant Program at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Langdon has always been drawn to the unique challenges of teaching and learning and finds the complexity of studying how students learn chemistry very rewarding. In her position as Science Teaching Fellow within the CU Science Education Initiative (SEI), she had opportunities to work with faculty to develop course learning goals, assess student learning, and implement research-based instructional approaches. As part of this experience, she became involved in the Colorado Learning Assistant program and it has proven very rewarding. Rewards have come in terms of increased student learning in the courses, recruitment and preparation of fabulous future teachers, working with other fabulous LAs who are pursuing medicine, graduate school, or other programs, and in collaborating with research and teaching faculty who are committed to creating effective learning environments and preparing our future K-12 teachers. Prior to joining CU in 2006, Laurie earned her bachelor degrees in Chemistry and in English, along with my teaching certification at Calvin College. Laurie completed her PhD. in Chemical Education at the University of Northern Colorado and worked as a post-doc in chemistry education at the University of New Hampshire (where she also taught 200-students sections of General Chemistry).

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Laura Hansman

Laura Hansman is the Student Assistant to the Learning Assistant Program and LA Mentor at the University of Colorado Boulder and an undergraduate student pursuing her B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.

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Valerie Otero

Valerie K Otero is a Professor of Science Education and co-founder of the Colorado Learning Assistant program and the Center for STEM Learning. Professor Otero has advised the National Academy of Sciences and NASA on issues in science education. Her innovative instructional models have spread throughout the world, reaching over 80 universities throughout the U.S. and in Singapore, Ireland, Japan, and India. Professor Otero has received awards for her research and teaching and has been recognized nationally by the American Physical Society for her contributions to physics education. Otero is a Hispanic, first generation college student, who grew up working after school at her parent’s grocery store and at the New Mexico State Fair (where she still works every September). In addition to her international work on faculty development and institutional change through the LA Program, her research in high school physics investigates and builds leaning environments that engage students’ hearts and minds through scientific experimentation, natural curiosity, and pure enjoyment of understanding our world.