Ryan Dunk, Ph.D.

Hey! I am a postdoctoral researcher interested in the intersection of STEM and society. This leads to two major threads of research that I have worked in. First is the identification of strategies to lead to more equitable STEM education, with a specific focus on more just educational outcomes for students from underrepresented identities. The second is work on student acceptance and understanding of scientific topics considered socially controversial, namely climate change and evolution. Prior to joining the Ballen Lab, I conducted biology education research both as a postdoc with Emily Holt at the University of Northern Colorado and as a PhD student with Jason Wiles at Syracuse University. Email: rzd0065@auburn.edu

Paula Adams, Ph.D.

I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Ballen lab transitioning to discipline-based education research from a background in evolutionary biology. I have a broad interest in researching evidence-based approaches that promote equity and inclusion to improve outcomes in introductory biology courses. Prior to joining the Ballen lab in fall 2022, I completed my doctoral degree in evolutionary genomics and bioinformatics with Janna Fierst at The University of Alabama in 2022 (now at FIU).

Robin Costello, Ph. D.

I am a postdoctoral researcher interested in identifying classroom interventions that promote equitable and inclusive learning in undergraduate biology education. Specifically, my postdoctoral work evaluates the impact of both discussing how biases shape scientific processes and incorporating diverse scientist role models into introductory biology courses on student attitudes towards biology. Before joining the Ballen lab, I completed my doctoral degree in evolutionary biology in the Brodie lab at the University of Virginia. Email: rac0082@auburn.edu

Sharday Ewell, M.Ed., Ph. D.

Hello! I am a postdoctoral associate working with Dr. Cissy Ballen in the Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn University. I currently conduct discipline-based education research on biology education and STEM equity. While my interests are broad, I am especially interested in self-regulated learning and identifying strategies that improve the development of these skills for all biology students. Prior to joining the Ballen lab, I was a Teach for America corps member and middle school science teacher in North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. I completed my doctoral degree in neurobiology in the Theibert Lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Email: sne0012@auburn.edu