2011 TC Research
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University


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Felicia Moore Mensah

Professional Background

Educational Background

B.S. Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1988)
M.S. Biology & Secondary Education, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (1992)
Ph.D. Science Education, Florida State University (2003)
Dissertation: Professional Development and Poststructural Analysis: Stories of African American Science Teachers.
Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science, Michigan State University (2003 - 2005)

Scholarly Interests

Selected Publications

Mensah, F.M. (2013). Theoretically and practically speaking, what is needed in diversity and equity in science teaching and learning? Theory Into Practice, 52(1), 66-72. Special Theme Issue:Diversity and Equity in Science Education
Mensah, F.M. (2012). Positional identity as a lens for connecting elementary preservice teachers to science teaching in urban classrooms. In M. Varelas (Ed.), Identity construction and science education research: Learning, teaching, and being in multiple contexts, (pp. 107-123). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
Rivera Maulucci, M., & Mensah, F.M. (2012). NARST equity and ethics committee: Mentoring scholars of color in the organization. In J.A. Bianchini, V. L. Akerson, A. Calabrese Barton, O. Lee, & A. J. Rodriguez (Eds.), Moving the equity agenda forward:  Equity research, practice, and policy in science education, (pp. 295-316).  New York, NY: Springer.
Mensah, F.M. (2012). Retrospective accounts in the formation of an agenda for diversity, equity and social justice for science education.  In J.A. Bianchini, V. L. Akerson, A. Calabrese Barton, O. Lee, & A. J. Rodriguez (Eds.), Moving the equity agenda forward:  Equity research, practice, and policy in science education, (pp. 317-336). New York, NY: Springer.
Mallya, A., Mensah, F.M., Contento, I.R., Koch, P.A., & Calabrese Barton, A. (2012). Extending science beyond the classroom door: Learning from students' experiences with the Choice, Control & Change (C3) curriculum. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(2), 244-269.


Johnston, A., Butler, M. B., Mensah, F.M., & Williams, B. (2011). Playing with science: Models for engaging communities. Special issue on Designing Environments to Promote Play-based Science Learning. Children, Youth and Environments , 21(2), 312-324.

Mensah, F.M. (2011). The DESTIN: Preservice teachers' drawings of the ideal elementary science teacher. School Science and Mathematics, 111(8), 379-388.


Mensah, F.M. (2011). A case for culturally relevant teaching in science education and lessons learned for teacher education. The Journal of Negro Education, 80(3), 296-309. Special Issue, Teacher Education and the Black Community: Preparing Teachers to Teach Black Students, Preparing Black Students to Become Teachers


Mensah, F. M. (2011). On the road to reform: A sociocultural interpretation of reform. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 6(3), 671-678.

Mensah, F.M. (2011). The hardest questions aren't on the test: Lessons from an innovative urban school. Book Review.  Science Education, 95(4),768-770.

Brotman, J.S., Dawson, V., & Mensah, F.M. (2011).  Metalogue: Critical issues for teaching with socio-scientific issues. In T. D. Sadler (Ed.), Socio-scientific issues in the classroom: Teaching, learning and research (pp. 347-353). The Netherlands: Springer.


Yu, Yuqing, & Mensah, F.M. (2011). The multiple response model for the "views on science-technology-society" (VOSTS) instrument: An empirical application in the context of the electronic-waste issue. In I.M. Saleh & M. S. Khine (Eds.), Attitude research in science: Classic and contemporary measurements(pp. 137-176). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.


Brotman, J.S., Mensah, F.M., & Lesko, N. (2011). Urban high school students' learning about HIV/AIDS in different contexts. Science Education, 95(1), 87-120.

Mensah, F.M. (2010). Toward the mark of empowering policies in elementary school science programs and teacher professional development. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 5(4), 977-983.
Mensah, F.M. (2010). Who do I look like? Diversity in self, family, and others. Science Activities, 47, 125-132. Special Issue on Multicultural Science Teaching


Brotman, J.S., Mensah, F.M., & Lesko, N. (2010). Exploring identities to deepen understanding of urban high school students' decision-making about HIV/AIDS. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(6), 742-762.


Geelan, D., Mensah, F.M., Rahm, J., & Maulucci, M.R. (2010).  Forum: Roles, caring and learning to teach science. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 5(4), 649-663.

Mensah, F.M. (2009).  A portrait of black teachers in science classrooms. The Negro Educational Review, 60(1-4), 39-52.
Mensah, F.M. (2009). Confronting assumptions, biases, and stereotypes in preservice teachers' conceptualizations of science teaching through the use of book club. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(9), 1041-1066.

Brotman, J.S. & Moore, F.M. (2008). Girls and science: A review of four themes in the science education literature. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(9), 971-1002.

Moore, F.M. (2008). Agency, identity, and social justice: Preservice teachers' thoughts on becoming agents of change in urban elementary science classrooms. Research in Science Education, 38(5), 589-610.

Moore, F.M. (2008).Positional identity and science teacher professional development. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(6), 684-710.


Moore, F.M. (2008). The role of the elementary science teacher and linguistic diversity.  Journal of Elementary Science Education, 20(3), 49-61.


Moore, F.M. (2008). Preparing preservice teachers for urban elementary science classrooms: Challenging cultural biases toward diverse students. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 19(1), 85-109.


Moore, F.M. (2007). Teachers' coping strategies for teaching science in a "low performing" school district. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 18(5), 773-794.


Moore, F.M. (2007). Language in science education as a gatekeeper to learning, teaching, and professional development. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 18(2), 319-343.


Moore, F.  (2006). Multicultural preservice teachers' views of diversity and science teaching. Research and Practice in Social Sciences, 1(2), 98-131.


Gunckel, K. & Moore, F.M. (2005). (April, 2005). Including students and teachers in the co-design of the enacted curriculum. NARST Annual Conference. Dallas, TX. ERIC Digest, ED498676.


Moore, F. M. (2005). The dissertation and graduation: Not just a black and white process-Mountain climbing, middle passage, and learning as a postdoctoral fellow. ERIC Digest, ED489985.


Moore, F.M. (2005). Science and reading integration for primary grades, K-2. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.


Moore, F.M. (2005). Science and mathematics integration for intermediate grades, 3-4. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.


Moore, F. M. (2005). Science and reading integration for intermediate grades, 5-6. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Moore, F. (2005). Vocabulario espanol para profesores de biologia, Editor. Professional Resources Project.


Moore, F.M.  (2003). In the midst of it all: A feminist perspective on science and science teaching. In A.L. Green & L.V. Scott (Eds.), Journey to the Ph.D.: How to navigate the process as African Americans (pp. 104-121). Sterling, VA: Stylus.


professional presentations

honors and awards

2012 AERA 2012 Early Career Award, Division K (Teaching & Teacher Education)

2010-11 Dean's Fellowship Program for Teaching and Diversity Faculty & Student Research Grant: African American Scientists Book Club

2009 National Science Teachers Association, Summer Reading List for Science Teachers, Article selected: Teachers’ coping strategies for teaching science in a “low performing” school district

2009 Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Second most frequently downloaded paper of 2008 & 2009, Article:
Girls and science: A review of four themes in the science education literature

2009 Early Career Nomination, National Association of Research in Science Teaching

2008 Research Travel Grant, New Connections Research and Coaching Clinic, Robert Wood Foundation

2008 National Technology Award Paper Nomination,
Science in the city photo albums: Connecting science content standards using digital photography

2007 Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Status

2006 Cambridge Who's Who Executive and Professional Registry

2006 Race, Culture and Diversity Teaching Fellowship Grant

2005 Dean's Summer Research Grant

2005 National Association of Research in Science Teaching Equity and Ethics Scholars Award


biographical information

Dr. Felicia Moore Mensah has worked collaboratively and independently in developing as a scholar in the areas of science teacher education and teacher professional development. Professor Mensah received her doctorate in Science Education at Florida State University (May 2003). Using a feminist poststructuralist analysis of power, language, difference, and knowledge construction, her dissertation focused on three African American secondary school teachers' experiences in professional development, teaching, and learning science.

As a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science at Michigan State University (June 2003-July 2005), Professor Mensha focused on developing science curriculum materials that addressed issues of diversity in planning, assessing, and teaching science for understanding. 
Professor Mensah was awarded the 2005 Dean's Summer Grant for Research (Teachers College) and was one of five awardees of the Equity and Ethics Scholarship from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) in 2005, and the Race, Culture and Diversity Research Grant (Teachers College) in 2006. She serves on the NARST Board and co-chairs the Ethics & Equity Committee of this organization. Professor Mensah serves on the editorial review board of Cultural Studies of Science Education and Journal of Elementary Science Education.

current projects

My interests are diverse and at the same time connected to my overall research agenda which is situated in urban elementary science education.  I focus on improving the teaching and learning of science in urban schools by designing ongoing professional development models with elementary and middle school teachers. Five current projects are:

Preservice elementary science teacher identity; focusing on the construction of a science teacher identity; extending this work to include preservice high science teachers' identity and how identities affect how they teach science to diverse learners.

Longitudinal studies of elementary preservice teachers; following former science methods students into years 1-3 as new teachers; creation of a professional development model for elementary teachers.
Working in partnership with Columbia University Chemistry department and the Center for Technology and School Change on professional development in science with Yonkers elementary and middle school science teachers.
Working in partnership with NYC elementary and middle schools on improving science education expeiences for teachers, students, and parents through elementary after school science programs, middle school science fair & family science night.
Working with TC faculty in collaboration with NYC schools through the GE grant for science and mathematics. Much of this work is focused on teacher professional development, classroom support, and student engagement in science classrooms.

doctoral dissertations sponsored


(Date of Defense-Confirmation of Degree, Dissertation Title)

 PhD & EdD Science Education: (Sponsor)

1.       Jane Marincic Lewinter (Spring 2013), Factors that support women in being successful in engineering professions: Identity as a lens

2.       Katemari da Rosa (Fulbright Student, Brazil) (Fall 2012), Gender, ethnicity, and physics education: Understanding how black women build their identities as scientists

3.       Gita Bhirman-Raza (Spring 2012), Using forensic science as a context to enhance scientific literacy

4.       Alissa Berg (Spring 2012), De-marginalizing science in the early elementary classroom: Fostering reform-based teacher change through professional development, accountability, and addressing teachers' dilemmas

5.       Catherine Quinlan (Spring 2012), Use of the think aloud protocol, schema theory, and applied cognitive psychology to examine adolescents' cognition during problem solving of STS biology issues

6.       Natasha Cooke-Nieves (Spring 2011), A collaborative "diagonal" learning network: The role of formal and informal professional development in elementary science reform

7.       Megan Roberts (Spring 2010), Lesson study: Professional development and its impact on science teacher self-efficacy

8.       Kathie Moskovitz (Spring 2010), One eye on the curriculum, one ear on the kids: Elementary teachers' efforts to incorporate student ideas into inquiry science lessons

9.       Yuqing Yu (Spring 2010), Adults' decision-making about the electronic waste issue: The role of the nature of science conceptualizations and moral concerns in socio-scientific decision-making

10.    Amanda Gunning (Spring 2010), Exploring the development of science self-efficacy in preservice elementary school teachers participating in a science education methods course

11.    Jennie Suzanne Brotman (Spring 2009), Urban high school students' talk about HIV/AIDS decision-making: Learning, identities, and the influence of school

12.    Lisa Kozlowski (Spring 2009), Influence of project based science practices in teaching for diversity

13.    Aarti Mallya (Spring 2009), Extending science beyond the classroom Door: Learning from students' experiences with the Choice, Control and Change (C3) curriculum

14.    Lisa M. Currie (Spring 2009), Uncovering the veil: Science performance assessment practices in a rural Delaware high school

15.    Dorothy Patterson-Strange (Spring 2009), A case study of the implementation of a customized multicultural program in an urban high school

16.    Meghan Merraro (Fall 2008), Uncovering student conceptions of the ocean: A critical first step to improving ocean literacy

17.    Janell Catlin (Spring 2007), An opportunity for success: Understanding motivation and learning from urban youth participation in an after school science program

18.    Shannon Halprin-Brunt (Spring 2007), Differentiated instructional practices: A case study of science teachers in a suburban middle school setting

EdD MST Department: (Sponsor)

1.       Janice Kelly, Computing (Fall 2006), A comparison of prime-time situation comedy fathers and real fathers on involvement, communication and affection

PhD Science Education: (Committee member, Second Reader)

1.       Phillip Steward (Spring 2013, chair), Learning the rules of the game: The nature of game and classroom supports when using a concept-integrated digital physics game in the middle school science classroom

2.       Tanzina Taher (Spring 2012), Exploring the impact of the implementation of reality pedagogy: Self-efficacy, social capital, and distributed cognition

3.       Roseanna Graham (Spring 2010), The reliability, validity, and usefulness of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) in dental education

4.       Gou-Li Chiou (Spring 2009), Exploring beyond mental models: An interview-based study of students' in-depth understanding of heat conduction from a multi-dimensional cognitive perspective

5.       Chiara Brandoni (Spring 2007), Merging divergent thinking with neuropsychology: Implications for research and practice in science education

6.       Kathleen St. Louis (Spring 2007), Parental engagement: Beyond parental involvement in science education

7.       Miyoum Lin (Spring 2006), Exploring urban children's sense of place

8.       Melina Furman (Fall 2006), Becoming urban science education teachers by transforming middle-school classrooms: A study of the urban science education fellows program

9.       Edna Tan (Fall 2006), Latina girls' identities-in-practice in 6th grade science

PhD Mathematics Education: (Committee member, Second Reader)

1.       Mark Causpin, Mathematics Education (Spring 2012), Mathematics self-efficacy and its relation to proficiency-promoting behavior and performance

 EdD Science Education(Committee member, Second Reader)

1.       Robert Douglas Mirchin (Spring 2012), An analysis of high school students' perceptions and academic performance in laboratory experiences

2.       Mary Elizabeth T. Murray-Wilson (Spring 2009), Using data to inform curriculum, instruction and professional development in science education

3.       Jessica F. Riccio (Spring 2008), Content area literacy and preservice teacher education: Preparing preservice science teachers to view literacy in service of science teaching

MSTC 4001: Qualitative research methods in science education

This introductory course is designed to support graduate students in qualitative research methodology in science education. It includes qualitative research design and role of theory in guiding and informing research.

MSTC 4007: Urban and multicultural science education

Students will explore the intersections of policy, science and society and the impact these have on standard K-12 urban science curriculum and multicultural teaching practices. Drawing from scholarship in policy, curriculum, and teaching, this course explores major issues faced in urban science education, including: (1) the issue of resources (physical, human, and social) in urban schools and how urban science education programs might draw from local resources in meeting the needs of urban learners, (2) the issue of what roles might teachers, administrators, policy makers, and curriculum writers play in the design and implementation of empowering curricular and pedagogical practices in urban science classrooms, and (3) the issue of multicultural science education in terms of both content and pedagogy. This course challenges commonly used practices where multiculturalism is often taught as one distinct and often separate component of the science curriculum. This course provides students with both research-based and field-based experiences.

MSTC 4040: Science in childhood education

This is an integrated lecture/laboratory course. This course provides an introduction to the creation of science curriculum and instruction that attends to current state and national standards. The course is based in constructivist perspectives and has as a goal the teaching of science well with all children.

MSTC 4055: Concepts of Biology

Professional content knowledge course examining the major concepts in biology and their applications in teaching secondary school biology.

MSTC 4902: Guided study in science education

Permission required from the instructor with whom the student wishes to work. Independent study in selected areas. Use of professional laboratory facilities.

MSTC 5040: Science curriculum improvement in the elementary school

This course provides an introduction to the creation of science curriculum and instruction that attends to current state and national standards at the elementary level.

MSTC 6902: Research and independent study in science education

Permission required. Guided independent study leading to the preparation of a major project or paper. May be taken repeatedly by doctoral candidates engaged in research.

Documents & Papers

Download: Curriculum Vita [PDF]

Download: Journal Abstracts [PDF]

Centers and Projects

Center for Technology and School Change
Website: http://ctsc.tc.columbia.edu/

The Center for Technology and School Change helps schools integrate technology into their curricula and daily lives, by planning with schools for the use of technology, educating teachers how to use it, planning curriculum projects that include technology, helping teachers to implement projects, and assessing the effect of technology on schools. The Center is based on the idea that technology will have a large impact on the structure of schooling, as it has in the past, and that schools must plan for the kinds of change they want it to have. We believe that technology should be integrated with curriculum in ways that emphasize active student learning, collaboration, interdisciplinary learning and problem-solving in areas that are meaningful to schools, and conducts site-based research.

Harlem Schools Partnership
Website: http://www.tc.edu/hsp

The Harlem Schools Partnership (HSP) for STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is a collaborative effort of Teachers College (TC), and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) at Columbia University in association with the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) and with support from the General Electric Foundation.

The mission of the HSP is to improve STEM education by helping schools create rich environments for STEM teaching and learning.  We accomplish this through professional development that strengthens curriculum, increases teacher knowledge of STEM content and teaching practices, diversifies assessment of student learning, and ensures that English Language Learners are successful in STEM.  The intended outcome is that HSP schools will be models of excellence for STEM teaching and learning, and that participating teachers will become leaders and mentors for others at their schools and in the Department of Education.

Office of Teacher Education
Website: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/ote