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Dr. Mandy Smith Joins PAST as the new Director of Research

The PAST Foundation is proud to announce Dr. Mandy McCormick Smith as the new Director of Research. Dr. Smith joins PAST with 10+ years of experience in research and evaluation with purposeful skills that intersect in numerous areas, including research design, evaluation, statistical analysis, testing and assessment protocols. Dr. Smith’s research experience includes digital narrative/storytelling, identity, youth voice and activism, informal learning space design, community-informed partnerships, self-efficacy, conceptual understanding, item response theory, quasi-experimental studies, and research synthesis. She utilizes qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methodology approaches to research.

Dr. Smith’s work spans numerous areas of education, including informal education contexts, PreK-16 education, play-based and problem-based learning, teacher effectiveness and value-added analysis, professional learning communities, school improvement, adult and workforce literacy, post-secondary success, and college readiness.

Dr. Smith’s work centers on rehumanizing educational experiences in both formal and informal settings, learner identity, conceptual understanding, and student reasoning. Research centers on expanding learning opportunities for learners by multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in, STEM, science, and inquiry-based experiences. Dr. Smith’s scholarship is framed within culturally sustaining pedagogies and social change through education with aims to redefine and redesign inquiry-based educational experiences for all learners. Dr. Smith’s work is grounded in sociocultural theories of learning yet is also influenced by critical perspectives. It is through this intersectionality, which she explores equity, diversity, and inclusion within educational contexts.

Published in outlets such as Young Children, the International Journal of Science Education, and the International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. She has co-authored chapters in Research in Early Childhood Science Education and International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 10 years’ experience working and teaching in higher education and teacher education, and 20+ years’ experience teaching and partnering with urban, rural, and linguistically diverse PreK-12 schools.

Mandy is excited to be a part of our PAST multi-disciplinary team, where she is looking forward to developing and building upon existing collaborations as well as creating/facilitating new opportunities.


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