Kristine Callis-Duehl,

PhD

The Sally and Derick Driemeyer Director of Education Research and Outreach

A Circuitous Route

When working in research and medicine in Laos, PDR, Dr. Kristine Callis-Duehl’s triple interests in plant science, research, and education began to come together for the first time.

“That’s when I started to understand the intersection between medicine and conservation. The plants the villagers were reliant on were disappearing because the habitat was being degraded. A new highway was going in to connect Thailand to the rest of Asia and it was devastating to the forest remnants there.”

She also became interested in education. “If everybody in the valley had had more than a third-grade education, they might have understood their rights and resisted the destruction.” When she returned to the U.S. to resume graduate school, Kris forged an unusual path: tropical ecology with a parallel track of NSF-funded K-12 education. But she soon narrowed in on education. “Be it healthcare, agriculture, the environment, or human empowerment and freedom, the way we solve the majority of the world’s problems is through education.”

Today, Kris is the Sally and Derick Driemeyer Director of Education Research and Outreach at the Danforth Center, working to bring high-quality science education to more people and to inspire the next generation of scientists.

Knowledge is Power and Science Fuels the Future

At the Danforth Center, Kris is the director of Education Research & Outreach. The department takes as its mission to inspire the next generation of scientists to help feed the world and save the planet. “Plants form the foundation of life on Earth. When the general public lacks understanding of plants, that threatens the wellbeing of us all. “

She and her team bring cutting-edge STEM education to students throughout the St. Louis region and beyond. She explains:The research we’re doing is to determine how to educate the most number of people the most effectively. In doing so, we want to make education accessible to everyone worldwide.”

Mobile Ready

Kris cites the Internet and mobile devices as the greatest technological advances in the field of education. “Mobile devices allow knowledge to be at the fingertips of people worldwide. Even in fairly remote areas without a lot of electricity. Having information at your fingertips, education is no longer about memorizing facts, but about how knowledge is applied creatively in new and novel ways.”

Something others might not know

She enjoys boxing for fitness. Originally trained in karate, she picked up a mixed martial arts style of kickboxing while working in Laos.

Something others might not know

She enjoys boxing for fitness. Originally trained in karate, she picked up a mixed martial arts style of kickboxing while working in Laos.

Get in touch with Kristine Callis-Duehl

Research Team
Research Summary

The Education Research & Outreach team studies how to effectively engage students in authentic STEM research at all grade levels, K-16, in formal, informal and virtual learning environments in an effort to recruit the next generation of diverse STEM and AgTech scientists and leaders in St. Louis and around the world.

Kristine Callis-Duehl

Director of Science Education

Sandra Arango-Caro

Education Programs Facilitator

Ruth Kaggwa

Education Programs Facilitator

Kristine Callis-Duehl

Director of Science Education

Sandra Arango-Caro

Education Programs Facilitator

Ruth Kaggwa

Education Programs Facilitator

Knowledge is power and science fuels the future. As such, my goal is to promote access to science education for every student around the world. My research program focuses on both K-12 education and Undergraduate+ education through student engagement in content, participation in authentic science practice and improvement in science communication.

Our K-12 program provides education on sustainable food production in food deserts (Green Means Grow), creating and validating tools to measure students’ understanding of plant science (through Mutant Millets) and using citizen science projects to engage students in authentic science practice while providing opportunities to improve their own communities and foster a sense of agency and science identity. These projects utilize both synchronous, formal educational settings, such as classrooms, and asynchronous and informal educational settings, such as virtual reality and online discussion boards to promote learning through a variety of educational settings.

Our Undergraduate+ program offers opportunities for scientists create Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) for community colleges and primarily-undergraduate institutions. Through these CURE labs, students engage in authentic research experiences by running Danforth experiments that further the research agenda of the DDPSC labs, while learning the importance of productive failure and creating a sense of community and science identity within the lab courses.