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Jennifer Cromley

My research focuses on two broad areas: 1) reading comprehension of illustrated scientific text and 2) cognitive and motivational predictors of STEM students' achievement and retention. My research includes both studies of basic processes (how learning works) and classroom interventions (how to help students learn better). I use a variety of research methods, including questionnaires, think-aloud protocols, eye tracking, analyses of student work products such as sketches, and analyses of computer logfiles. My research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation.

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Joe Mirabelli

Joe Mirabelli is a doctoral student in the CSTL division of the Educational Psychology department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He holds a Master's degree in Physics from Indiana University and a Bachelor’s degree in from Engineering Physics at UIUC. Previously, he researched computational particle physics and worked in the space of physics education. As a result of his experiences as a physics graduate researcher, Joe became interested in the culture of STEM programs. His current areas of research include academic mentorship, engineering culture, and graduate student wellness and retention. He works as a graduate research assistant in the Cromley lab and also in collaboration with Bioengineering's Jensen lab.  Joe hopes to influence the development of proactive policies which deconstruct toxic academic culture, promote student wellness, and boost retention in STEM pipelines.


Karin Jensen

Karin Jensen is a Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include student mental health and wellness, engineering student career pathways, and engagement of engineering faculty in engineering education research. Before joining UIUC she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Sanofi Oncology in Cambridge, MA. She earned a bachelor's degree in Biological Engineering from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Avi Kaplan 
Temple University
Tony Perez
Old Dominion University
Ting Dai
University of Illinois Chicago 
Yona Davidson
Temple University

Wanda Brooks
Old Dominion University
Eboni Zamani-Gallaher
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Julie L. Booth
Temple University 


Tia Fechter 
Frank Nelson
Temple University
Arianna White
Old Dominion University
Kyle R. Mara
University of Southern Indiana
Michael J. Balsai
Temple University
Natasha Beretvas
University of Texas at Austin
Nora S. Newcombe
Temple University 


Martin Van Boekel

Taylor Williams

Taylor Williams finished a Master’s program at UIUC in Secondary Science Education. Taylor worked in the Cromley Lab for 2 years working on various projects related to science learning throughout the grade levels. She completed a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Kinesiology from UIUC where she worked in the Exercise Psychophysiology Lab.  Both experiences have inspired her to delve more deeply into the learning process and how children learn science. She currently teaches middle school science.

Rachel Bentivenga

Rachel Bentivenga is an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in English as a Second Language.  At UIUC, Rachel works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Cromley Lab.  Her research revolves around comprehension and common misconceptions in various subjects in a classroom setting.  She also works at the University of Illinois Foundation as the Coordinator of Hiring and Recruitment.  Rachel’s goals for the future are to teach at the elementary level and promote a classroom environment that is inclusive and values the differences among all students.

Chelsea Oleson

Priyanka Chopra

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Nur Dane

Nur Dane is a Doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the department of Counseling Psychology. She graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s in Genetics and her involvement on campus and a minor in Psychology allowed her to choose to do race related research, specifically racial bias, during her graduate work. Nur currently works as a research assistant at the Cromley Lab. She plans on working as a faculty researcher once she is done with her degree.

LuEttaMae Lawrence is a Master’s student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the department of Curriculum and Instruction, Digital Environments for Learning, Teaching, and Agency program. At UIUC, LuEttaMae works as a research assistant in the Cromley Lab and the Collaborative Learning Lab. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from Iowa State University, which inspired her interest in the visual design of educational technology. Her research currently explores how incremental design modifications of multimedia tools impacts learning. LuEttaMae’s goals are to continue creating and researching multimedia tools in industry or complete further research at the doctorate level.  

Colin Castleberry

Colin Castleberry is a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the departments of Bioengineering and Engineering Education. At UIUC, Colin works as a research assistant in the Cromley Educational Psychology Lab, The Imoukhuede Systems Biology Lab, and Amos Engineering Education Lab. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which inspired his interest in complex biological system control, and his recent experiences in teaching and mentoring as a teaching assistant sparked his passion for education. His research currently explores complex system design, analysis, and control in both adaptive teaching applications and in biological systems for therapy. Colin’s goals are to continue enhancing system control methods to effectively adapt curriculum instruction to individual student needs, and to facilitate the development of life-saving therapies.

Yang Du

Yang Du is a doctoral student in the Queries division in the Department of Educational Psychology. She joined the Cromley lab in spring of 2018. Yang earned her master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 and taught ESL classes in various educational settings. Her master’s research on language assessment leads to her current study about educational measurement. Particularly, she is interested in computerized adaptive testing (CAT), item response theory (IRT), and differential item functioning (DIF). Yang’s short-term goal is to continue exploring realistically optimal algorithms in CAT and to apply them in test industry. In the long run, Yang plans on working as a faculty researcher and implementing more cutting-edge projects.

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Annie Hart

Annie Hart is currently a senior in bioengineering with a minor in German.  She joined the Cromley lab in the fall of 2021 and is very excited to gain further research experience studying the stressors of doctoral students in engineering.  On campus, she is a Student Leader at Carle Hospital and a member of the Illini Medical Screening Society.  After graduation, Annie hopes to continue her education by attending medical school.  

Dale Robbennolt

Dale Robbennolt is a senior in civil engineering and sociology. He joined the group in the fall of 2021 to gain more experience in social research methods and is very interested in learning more about engineering education and stressors for graduate students. His other research interests include emerging technologies in public transportation and contextual factors in engineering. After graduation he plans to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in transportation engineering.


Christopher George

Christopher George is a Junior studying Bioengineering on the Therapeutics Track. He joined Dr. Cromley's group in August of 2022 to gain further experience in the data analytics field. He also joined to try and help decrease the significant effects that troubles with stress have on graduate student retention rates in engineering programs. Outside of Dr. Cromley's Lab, Chris works as a Clinical Research Assistant in the department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (ENT) at Rush University in Chicago. There, Chris uses his data analytics and technical writing skills to help mitigate the increasing disparities between rural and urban ENT care. After graduation, Chris aspires to work in the data analytics industry or research fields and then apply to MD/MBA programs. He hopes to one day run a medical practice that can see patients regardless of their insurance.

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