Melissa Luna, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Science Education
After earning a B.S. in Elementary Education from Valparaiso University, Dr. Melissa Luna became a 4th grade teacher. Her interest in elementary science teacher thinking and learning stems from her own experience teaching science to her 4th graders early in her teaching career. During this time, she attended professional development in which she was introduced to a different way of teaching and learning science—one that started with students’ ideas in order to support students constructing deeper understanding of phenomena in the world. Subsequently, as Dr. Luna tried out and shared this new way of teaching and learning science with her students and fellow teachers, she became increasingly curious about how teachers think about science teaching and learning and about how to support teachers in learning to teach science differently. Addressing this has become her passion and has fueled her desire to become a science education scholar. She, therefore, returned to her studies earning an M.S. in Environmental Education from Lesley University and a Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University.
Dr. Luna is currently an assistant professor of science education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at West Virginia University. Her research interests include elementary teachers’ noticing and sense-making of students’ scientific thinking and elementary teacher preparation and professional development in science. In 2016, Dr. Luna was awarded the National Science Foundation Career Award.