My research centers on how people learn outside of the formal classroom. The major focus of my position is to support the development of exemplary extension, education and communication programs that interface seamlessly with marine and aquatic sciences research.
My dissertation was titled: Making an Aquarium Environment Interactive: A Design Research Analysis of Exhibit Design Processes. My research focused on the development of an interactive aquarium design incorporating the employment of an innovative technology (Passive Integrated Transponder tags) that is used in fishery studies. This study used research on free-choice learning describing the effects of interactive devices on visitor learning, engagement, and attitudes. My current research is designing and evaluating layered interpretation for adult learners.
As a Public Marine Education Specialist, my responsibilities have included developing a collection of exhibits on invasive species and sustainable fisheries. One of my central responsibilities is developing outreach programming on the research process and results from the National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Marine Experimental Laboratory, Environmental Protection Agency, Northwest Marine Fisheries Service, and the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. These outreach efforts use design research to develop exhibits, public programming and instructional materials suitable for all age groups.