Sandra Laursen, Ph.D. headshot

Sandra Laursen, Ph.D.

Senior Researcher and Director, Ethnography & Evaluation Research (E&ER), Center to Advance Research and Teaching in the Social Sciences (CARTSS)

University of Colorado Boulder

Sandra Laursen earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and maintains interests in both research and practice in science education.

As senior research associate and director of Ethnography & Evaluation Research (E&ER), she leads research and evaluation studies focusing on education and career paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Particular research interests include the visibility of women and people of color in the sciences, professional socialization and career development of scientists, teacher professional development, and organizational change in higher education. She is also interested in inquiry-based teaching and learning, and the challenges of improving STEM education in and out of the classroom and across organizations. As a research associate at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), she collaborated with scientists and K-12 teachers to communicate science effectively to students and the public. She has developed inquiry-based teaching materials and led professional development workshops and courses for educators and scientists on a wide range of topics in Earth and physical science and inquiry-based teaching and learning. Previously, Laursen taught chemistry at Kalamazoo College in Michigan and conducted atmospheric science research at the NOAA laboratories in Boulder. She has published chemistry curriculum manuals, journal articles in chemistry, education, gender studies, and the Journal of Irreproducible Results; co-directed a documentary film; and recorded CDs with Resonance Women’s Chorus. She is a faculty associate at CU’s Center for the American West. Laursen joined E&ER in 2000 and has been co-director since 2007.