Advisors

Teach@Mines is housed in the University Honors and Scholars program. 

Wendy Adams

Research Professor of Physics
Teach@Mines Director
CoorsTek 307
Phone: 303-273-3068
Email: wkadams@mines.edu

Jared Breakall

Teach@Mines Faculty

Email: jbreakall@mines.edu

Kristine Callan

Teaching Professor
Teach@Mines Physics Advisor
CoorsTek 326
Email: kcallan@mines.edu

Debra Carney

Teaching Professor 
Teach@Mines Applied Mathematics and Statistics Advisor
Stratton Hall 209
Phone: 303-273-3977
Email: dcarney@mines.edu

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Adams is the Get the Facts Out PI. In this role she manages the project and directs all research and development activities. She is also the Director of Teach@Mines at the Colorado School of Mines, an APS Fellow, and co-recipient of the 2018 American Physical Society Excellence in Physics Education Award. A Physics Education Researcher by training, she earned her PhD. from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2007 under the guidance of Dr. Carl Wieman. Adams’ research focuses on formative assessment, curriculum design, and perceptions of the teaching profession. She is the author of the CLASS, which measures students’ perceptions of physics and how to learn physics; has done extensive work on problem solving evaluation; developed the interface design guidelines for the PhET Interactive Simulations; designed and developed several curricula including the Explore Sound project – K-14 materials for acoustics; and has most recently developed the suite of Get the Facts Out resources including the PTaP and PTaP.HE instruments (Perceptions of Teaching as a Profession) for students and for faculty in Higher Education, respectively.

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I love teaching physics. I had my first formal teaching experience as a senior in high school and my first exposure to physics as a sophomore in college; ever since, I have been seeking out ways to combine these two passions. Whether as a lead instructor, teaching assistant, individual tutor, or outreach volunteer, I thoroughly enjoy facilitating the discovery and understanding of interesting physical phenomena. As a teaching faculty member at Mines, I strive to provide a high-quality and welcoming educational experience for all of our physics students.

While my previous research has focused mainly on small networks of nonlinear dynamical systems, I now enjoy reading about physics education research (PER) and striving to put these results into practice. In particular, I am interested in learning how to make physics classrooms and departments more equitable spaces.

My academic background is also a bit nonlinear (pun intended). After earning my bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics at Pacific University, I enrolled as a PhD student at Duke University. I decided to leave after finishing my MS degree, and then moved to the Winsor School in Boston, Massachusetts, where I taught both algebra- and calculus-based introductory physics for two years before returning to Duke to complete my PhD.

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Debra (Deb) Carney is teaching professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the Colorado School of Mines.  She grew up in Massachusetts and received her B.S. in mathematics from the University of Vermont in 1991 and then earned her Ph.D. in Mathematical Logic from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1998. After graduate school she quickly determined her true passion was for the teaching and learning of mathematics and has held several faculty roles with a teaching emphasis in universities across the country. She is interested in innovative teaching techniques that improve student Learning, including active learning. Recent projects at Mines revolve around partially flipped models of instruction for both linear algebra and calculus and her research interests are in the area of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Deb has also developed a passion for mentoring women in mathematics. In 2013, She co-created and currently co-advises the Society for Women in Mathematics (SWiM) at Mines. In 2019 SWiM was an awarded an Association for Women in Mathematics Student Chapter Award for Professional Development and recently Deb was named to the 2022 AWM class of fellows https://awm-math.org/awards-awm-fellows-2022-awm-fellows/ for her mentoring work.

Deb enjoys spending time with her mathematician husband and two kids, ages 16 and 21 (in 2022). For outdoor pursuits she enjoys walking, hiking, and paddle boarding. For indoor pursuits she enjoys bar trivia, board games, and reading.

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Katie Cooper

Teach@Mines Teacher In Residence
CoorsTek 216
Email: kacooper@mines.edu

Steven Decaluwe

Associate Professor
Teach@Mines Mechanical Engineering Advisor
Brown Hall WB410B
Phone: 303-273-3666
Email: decaluwe@mines.edu

Renee Falconer

Teaching Professor and Assistant Department Head
Teach@Mines Chemistry Advisor
120A Coolbaugh Hall
Phone: (303) 384 2110
Email: rfalcone@mines.edu

Tracy Gardner

Teaching Professor
Teach@Mines Chemical & Biological Engineering Advisor
Alderson Hall 435
Email: tgardner@mines.edu

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My name is Katie Cooper and I’m thrilled to be a part of the Teach@Mines team!  As a kid, I found people’s behavior to be fascinating and, at times, quite confusing.  I was intrigued by the differences in how friends thought about things in life and interacted with each other.  These and other curiosities about people led me to a psychology degree at The University of Texas, where I went from participating in some fun social experiments on campus in order to see the power of social modeling to cheering on the Longhorn football team with friends.  While in college, I explored the external, social influences of human behavior as well as the internal, biological influences including a deep dive in evolutionary psychology. During this time, I started working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which inspired increasing interests in cognitive development and learning.  I then completed a postbaccalaureate internship at UCLA’s Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention.  And shortly thereafter, I studied executive functioning skills while earning a Master’s degree in Human Neuropsychology and then studied social-cognitive development while earning a Doctorate degree in Educational Psychology.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work in and consult with schools near and far including in Nigeria and Panama and along the way, I have first-hand experience with how challenging it truly is to teach based on the science of learning without losing sight of the psychology of learners. I’m grateful because every day I get to learn from students, educators, principals, paraeducators, parents, and school-based mental health providers.

While I value a “work-life” balance, I definitely don’t model it.  But some of my favorite things to do are to cheer for my teenage son during his basketball games and cross-country meets, watch my elementary-age daughter complete another gymnastic feat, or run on the trail near my house in Denver.  We are a family that loves to travel so please share your travel recommendations with me!

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Steven DeCaluwe is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and has been at Mines since 2012.  He specializes in teaching energy-related content: thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and electrochemistry for clean energy storage.  Before coming to Mines, he lived in the Washington, DC area, where he got his PhD at the University of Maryland and served as a post-doc at NIST, using neutrons to understand limitations in batteries and fuel cells.  Before that, Steven was an elementary school teacher, with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Elementary Education.  He taught 1st and 2nd grade for 3 years in Nashville, TN, and still considers his training and experiences there as an important influence on his teaching, today.Outside of work, Steven enjoys playing, listening to, and writing music, spending time with his family, and getting outside as much as possible.  He is an avid recreational runner, a mediocre snowboarder, and an occasional rock climber.

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Dr. Falconer grew up in western Pennsylvania graduating with her BS in Chemistry from Grove City College.  She then attended the Univ of South Carolina for her PhD in Environmental Chemistry where her scientific research centered around the environmental chemistry of organic pollutants and their transport and fate in the environment. Her work looked at the movement, distribution and degradation of these compounds in the environment to determine their long-term effects. Her first professional position was as a faculty member at Youngstown State Univ in Ohio.  After receiving tenure, she moved on to the US Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park, NC where she worked on numerous projects and included local college students in her research.  Next Dr. Falconer returned to academia as a faculty member at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA.  She taught many different classes and did environmental chemistry and chemical education research with undergrad and grad students during her time there.  In 2012, Dr. Falconer came to Mines where her teaching interests revolve around improving chemical education through the use of modern pedogogies that focus on student centered learning. In particular, she is working to improve general chemistry curricula through the creation of inquiry-based, active learning experiences in both the classroom and the lab. She uses research based best practices to show to all students, no matter their field of interest, that chemistry is central to the world of science.

Stephan Graham

Teach@Mines Teacher in Residence
Email: sgraham@arrupemail.org

Gus Greivel

Teaching Professor
Teach@Mines Math Advisor
Stratton Hall 202
Phone: 303-273-3840
Email: ggreivel@mines.edu

Jia Wern Hue Headshot

Jia Wern Hue

Teach@Mines Instructor and Advisor
CoorsTek 216
Email: jiawern.hue@mines.edu

Vince Kuo

Assistant Department Head
Teach@Mines Physics Advisor
CoorsTek 320
Phone: 303-273-3764
Email: hkuo@mines.edu

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My name is Stephan Graham, a material-science engineer turned chemistry and physics teacher.  After receiving my B.S. and M.S. in material-science engineering at Rutgers and Penn State University, respectively, I worked at Corning, Incorporated for nearly five years as a process engineer in the photochromic glass and ceramic catalytic converter industries.  

More jazzed about local high-school visits I made to talk to students about material science, I knew where my heart and motivation were.  Over twenty years and counting, and I am still a chemistry and physics teacher in urban America.  As a Latino, my passion for working in urban America derives from the recognition that other Latinos and non-whites make up a growing segment of the US population, yet they are the least likely to graduate from college, and even less likely to enter fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  

Outside of the classroom you might find me teaching snowboarding at Vail Mountain, flying down single-track trails on my mountain bike,  playing (read: destroying) pickleball with Dr. Callan or walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain!

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Gus Greivel is a Teaching Professor and Interim Department Head in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics (AMS) at the Colorado School of Mines.  He regularly teaches classes in the Calculus sequence as well as in the Statistics and Data Sciences curriculum at Mines.  He has taught in the McBride Honors Program with an emphasis on the intersection of public affairs, science, and engineering.  His primary academic interests are in mathematics education, large-scale optimization, and statistics. 

Gus has had an active role in the Multicultural Engineering Program as well as with nontraditional transfer student enrollment and access at Mines.  Where his activities have ranged from summer programs for student from underrepresented communities in STEM to the creation of academic pathways from the Colorado Community College System to Mines to increase access to the STEM pipeline to all residents of Colorado.  He has also played a role in the development of pathways for Mines students to pursue careers in secondary education via the Teach@Mines Program and the GetTheFactsOut initiative.

Gus is extremely pleased to be involved with Teach@Mines on behalf of the Mines faculty and the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics.

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While undergoing my graduate studies, I found that teaching was the favorite of my duties.  Thus, I completed my dissertation in experimental condensed matter physics, then got a job as a high school teacher.  Now, I am trying my hand in physics education research to see how well I do in it.

Besides finding me on campus, you can find me dabbling in philately and history; being a spectator at sporting events; travelling, or preferably, all of the above.

Headshot of Christine Liebe

Christine Liebe

Teach@Mines Computer Science Advisor
Email: cliebe@mines.edu

Leslie Light

Director & Associate Teaching Professor, Cornerstone Design@Mines
Teach@Mines Engineering, Design, & Society Advisor
Engineering Annex
Email: llight@mines.edu

Mirna Mattjik

Teaching Associate Professor
Teach@Mines Engineering, Design, and Society Advisor
Engineering Annex
Phone: 303-273-3010
Email: mmattjik@mines.edu

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DAWSON LANG

Teach@Mines Advisor
CoorsTek 216
Email:dawsontlang@mines.edu

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Christine Liebe has a joint appointment with the Computer Science department and the Honors College (Teach@Mines). She teaches introductory programming, CS pre-service teacher courses, and supervises graduate students conducting CS Education research as well as CS student teachers. She is involved in several interdisciplinary research projects combining education and STEM topics (e.g., additive manufacturing, semiconductor engineering, AI education tools). Her research interests include, the instruction of abstraction, computational thinking, CS assessments, CS interdisciplinary connections, and the correlation between learning human and computer languages. Christine manages the Discover Explore Create with Technology (DECtech) outreach program which serves ~500 K-12 students through after-school and summer camps. She enjoys hiking with her dog and gardening in her free time. Read more here.

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Mirna Mattjik is a Teaching Associate Professor in the Engineering, Design, and Society Department. Mirna primarily teaches design engineering and occasionally contributes in the McBride Honors Program. Mirna’s formal education is in industrial technology, international political economy, project management and leadership. She is also currently learning about educational equity in higher education. Mirna’s goal as Teaching Faculty is to enhance students’ learning through high impact practices and to broaden participation in innovation. Mirna strives to provide equal learning opportunities for all learners and to design learning environments that garner students’ belonging at Mines. In the classroom, Mirna encourages students’ intrinsic motivation to learn through modeling authenticity in teaching and learning.

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Hi! My name is Dawson Lang, and I am a math and science teacher at Jefferson Academy Secondary School. I graduated from Mines in the spring of 2022 with a B.S. in Engineering Physics and a minor in Teaching. I will start my first year of teaching in the fall of 2022 by teaching 8th-grade math, Algebra I, and an engineering course at the high school level. Alongside teaching, I am also the assistant coach for the softball team, which will have its first season this year. I also hope to coach some more sports at the high school level later in my teaching career. 

Through Teach@Mines, I was able to get the Noyce scholarship which opened several opportunities for me as an educator and a researcher. This is the third year I will work with the STAR program through California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. This program allowed me to work with several different research experiences with the University of California Santa Cruz, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Within these other projects, I was able to work on an astrophysics project and an app development project. I am currently working on a project with the deicing of aircraft and the weather conditions these aircraft fly in. It was great to get all these different research opportunities and bring this into the classroom. 

I was also the first to get a Teach@Mines minor at Mines. It was a fantastic experience taking all the classes through Mines to prepare for teaching. The support from Teach@Mines advisors Wendy Adams, Allie Bolter, and Kristine Callan truly helped me choose a career in education. I was also a member and the Teacher’s Education Alliance president as an undergraduate. I highly recommend participating in this club if you are interested in Teaching. Again, it was great to get support from my Teach@Mines advisors, but I built terrific relationships and received a lot of help from my peers in the TEA club.  

I feel that education has the benefits of feeling you are making a change in someone else’s life, and because of the support of Teach@Mines, I can make a fundamental change in the world every day. 

Sabina Schill Headshot

SABINA SCHILL

Teach@Mines Instructor & Advisor
CoorsTek 216
Email: sabina.schill@mines.edu

KATE YOUMANS

Teaching Associate Professor
Teach@Mines Engineering, Design & Society Advisor
Engineering Annex
Email: kyoumans@mines.edu

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My name is Sabina Schill. I initially thought I was going to grow up and be a paleontologist, but after an intriguing lab in my high school physics class involving a rather long spring, the top of the football field bleachers, and a Buzz Lightyear action figure, I decided to get a B.S. in Physics (shoutout to Mr. Roth!). After that, I received my Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, but I happily got to form my own path in grad school and did my research in STEM Education.  

My classroom teaching experience has mainly been at the college level, but I was fortunate enough to meet many high school teachers while working on my Postdoc with Engineering for US All (e4usa), a program which provides an engineering curriculum and professional development for teachers. Fast forward to my current position with Teach@Mines and Get the Facts Out, where I can continue research in STEM Education while also supporting future teachers!  

When not on campus, you will likely see me spending time outdoors, creating collages, visiting family in Delaware, or cooking/baking.  

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Dr. Kate Youmans is a Teaching Associate Professor in the Engineering, Design, and Society Department. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an M.Ed. in Science Education from Boston University. She completed her Ph.D. in Engineering Education at Utah State University with a focus on the use of empathic concern as a teaching practice to support students in engineering.

Dr. Youmans brings a broad perspective to her work, drawing from her experience designing surgical instruments in the medical device industry, leading diversity and outreach initiatives for MIT’s Office of Engineering Outreach, and launching STEM programs in Design Thinking, Computer Science and Robtics at at K-12 charter school. As an engineering educator and researcher, she is passionate about breaking down barriers and transforming engineering into a more inclusive field. In addition, her teaching focuses on the implementation of authentic project-based learning to develop students’ 21st-century skills such as collaboration and ill-structured problem-solving.