Dr. Karin Lohwasser is a Researcher in the College of Education, University of Washington. Her professional interest focuses on teacher education and professional development, mainly in the area of science. Karin studies the productive collaboration between various players in the education system in support of ambitious and equitable teaching practices, from learning opportunities for pre-service teachers in their field placements to in-service teachers’ learning communities. Her work examines the role of coaches, facilitators and science experts, and the building of Local Improvement Networks.
Current project involvement:
The clinical experience for pre-service science educators: An exploratory study of their collegial networks and “opportunity to learn” trajectories (NSF-Noyce, Co-PI): This work examines the experiences of pre-service science teachers in their field placements. We study who pre-service teachers seek out for professional advice, and how they learn to make principled decisions related to their professional activities, in the areas of planning, teaching, assessment, and coming to know one’s students.
PASTL: Partnership for Ambitious Science Teacher Leaders (MSP, WA State): The PASTL project was developed to support NGSS-aligned ambitious science teaching practices and tools to positively impact the problem of inequity and disengagement in science classrooms. It supports professional development and collaboration between regional science teacher leaders, coaches, science experts, university and educational school district partners to share and enhance our common expertise.
Past project involvement:
Building Capacity for Ambitious Science Teaching & Next Generation Science Standards through Networked Improvement Communities (NSF): This design-based implementation project supported the development of Local Improvement Networks with science teachers, science and English Learner (EL) coaches and principals in 10 schools and the development of an innovation hub. This community is seeking to improve teaching and learning for all students, but EL students in particular.
Observing for Evidence of Learning (NSF, Institute for Systems Biology): Developed as a comprehensive professional development series, this work supported science teachers to collaboratively learn and better target standards and to engage all students in rigorous science. For over ten years, professional learning communities within and across schools were implemented in eight regional school districts. http://logancenter.systemsbiology.net/oel/
Systems Education Approach to Science (HHMI, Institute for Systems Biology): This project developed a model for teacher leadership and integration of science education in 13 regional elementary schools.
While pursuing her doctoral studies at the University of Washington, Karin worked as a science coach for the secondary teacher education program and started the high school science course at Seattle World School, which serves immigrant students. Prior to that, she was project manager and professional development provider at the Institute for Systems Biology’s Logan Center, closely collaborating with scientists, and partners at school districts and universities.
In Germany, she led as executive producer, editor and author the science department at the media institute of the federal states (Institute for Film and Image in Science and Education, FWU). And she still draws from her experience as a classroom teacher: For over 12 years, she taught 5th- through 13th-grade biology and chemistry, including AP courses in genetics, evolution, ecology, and neurosciences/behavioral sciences at several secondary schools (Gymnasien) in Germany and at the German School London (United Kingdom).
Her personal interests are cooking (and the scientific, environmental, and social aspects of food), traveling, hiking, cycling, reading, and Pilates.