Staff and Graduate Assistants

Gregory RushtonGregory Rushton, Ph.D.


(615) 494-8738

Sherry SchaferSherry Schafer

Executive Aide

(615) 904-8573

Elizabeth Dyer

Elizabeth Dyer, PhD.

Assistant Director

(615) 904-8573

Robert CarltonRobert Carlton

Proposal Development

(615) 898-5411

Ginger Rowell Ph.D., Associate DirectorGinger Rowell, Ph.D.

Associate Director

(615) 898-5411

MandyMandy Singleton

Outreach & Events Coordinator


friedliAndrienne Friedli, Ph.D. 

Associate Director


jinYing Jin, Ph.D.

Faculty Fellow


dovieDovie Kimmins, Ph.D.

Faculty Fellow



Visiting Scholars

Demet KirbulutZ. Demet Kirbulut, Ph.D.

Degree Information
PHD, Middle East Technical University (2012)
MS, Gazi University (2003)
BA, Gazi University (2003)
Research Interests: Conceptual change, metacognition, self-efficacy, meta-affect, and emotion
Dr. Kirbulut was graduated from Gazi University, Secondary Science and Mathematics Education Department, Chemistry Education. She earned her PhD degree with the dissertation entitled “The Effect of Metaconceptual Teaching Instruction on 10th Grade Students’ Understanding of States of Matter, Self-Efficacy toward Chemistry, and the Nature of Metaconceptual Processes” from the Department of Secondary School Science and Mathematics Education at Middle East Technical University. She has been working at Harran University, Elementary Education Department since 2013,

Bilal Gunes

Bilal Gunes, Ph.D.

Degree Information
PHD, Gazi University (1996)
MS, Gazi University (1993)
BA, Gazi University (1988)
Research Interests: Solid state physics, x-ray crystallography, theory of relativity, science education, physics education, misconception, conceptual change, curriculum development, teacher qualifications, teacher training, and computer based education.
Dr. Gunes is a professor at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey. He has been working both in physics and physics education. He took part in many projects such as the National Science and Technology Curriculum development and the National High School Physics Curriculum development projects. His research interests include learning and teaching in science education, and especially misconceptions and conceptual change approaches. In addition, he has been working on teacher training and teacher competence development. Computer and internet-based learning are among his interests.


Graduate Assistants

salisburySara Salisbury, M.S.

Sara Salisbury is pursuing her Ph.D. in Math and Science Education, with a concentration in Biology Education. Sara graduated with her B.S. in Environmental Science from Allegheny College in 2012, and her M.S. in Biology from Texas State University in 2018. She has over 15 years of teaching experience in environments both inside and outside of the classroom, and has taught ages ranging from pre-school through post-secondary. Her research interests include k-12 science education in outdoor learning environments, as well as pre-service teacher identity development. Sara is an avid rock-climber and hiker, and hopes to someday either open her own nature school or be the director of research and education at an outdoor research center.

shagaShaghayegh Fateh

Shaghayegh is a first year PhD student at Middle Tennessee State University, studying Math and Science Education. Her concentration is on Chemical Education which includes the study of the teaching and learning of chemistry. Her research interests include identifying student misconceptions in chemistry, chemistry instructional strategies, and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in chemistry. Recently, she has joined The Rushton Research Group, working on a project titled “PDConnect: A Scalable Community Approach to Improving Instruction in AP Chemistry Nationwide.”

samSamuel Karanja

Samuel is a Ph.D. graduate student at MSE program In Middle Tennessee State University with a concentration in chemistry education. Before joining the program, he taught junior high integrated science for almost six years both in testing and non-testing areas. Recently, he has been working with other colleagues on using games to illicit student conceptual understanding in biochemical pathways. Other research interests include the expert vs. novice disconnect approach in multi-synthesis. He loves sports (especially soccer and basketball), exploring new adventures, and learning about other cultures.

brockBrock Couch, M.S.

Brock is a 1st year PhD student in the Mathematics and Science Education program with a focus in Biology Education. He received a Bachelor’s in Biology from Missouri Western State University and a Master’s in Ecology from the University of Maryland. Currently, his research interest is on student interactions within the classroom, particularly when discussing socio-scientific issues (e.g. climate change, cloning, extinction).


Lisa Hanson

Lisa Hanson

Lisa is a first-year Ph.D. student in the MSE program at Middle Tennessee State University with an interdisciplinary math and science concentration. At her undergrad, Southwestern Adventist University, she received a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in biology and business. She worked alongside the Board of Education in New York City as an educational advocate for children in foster care. She received an M.Sc. in Special Education from Touro University (then Touro College) and an M.Sc. in Biology from Texas State. Lisa has worked with K-12 populations for the past 15 years and has taught at the college level for the past seven years. Her research passion is STEM education, looking specifically at gender equality and underrepresented populations in STEM, as well as teacher training and students’ interests and performance in STEM fields. Currently, she is interested in how, including engineering design in K-12 education, can make a difference in STEM education. She is a marathon runner who loves track and field, and she is also passionate about the outdoors; she hails from the beautiful island of Jamaica.

 Lauren QuickLauren Quick

Lauren is a 1st year Masters student in the Master of Science in Professional Science program with a concentration in Biotechnology. She received a Bachelors in Biochemistry from Middle Tennessee State University. Currently, she is working as a Graduate Research Assistant at TSEC.


Tennessee STEM Education Center

820 Fairview Ave,
Suite 102
MTSU PO Box 82
Murfreesboro, TN 37132