Search Committee Members
D. Richard Cutler, Ph.D. - Search Committee Chair
Professor and Head, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Richard Cutler is Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Utah State University. He obtained his B.Sc. in mathematics from the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 1983, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in statistics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1985 and 1988, respectively. Dr. Cutler's research interests are in applied statistics with emphases in ecological and environmental statistics and in epidemiology. He is also a former director of the Statistical Consulting Center at USU. Dr. Cutler has been actively involved in mathematics and statistics education projects in his department and helped write the K-12 mathematics standards for the state of Utah.
Kurt Becker, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Engineering Education, College of Engineering
Kurt Becker is the current director for the Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER) which examines innovative and effective engineering education practices as well as classroom technologies that advance learning and teaching in engineering. He is also working on several National Science Foundation (NSF) funded projects including a project exploring engineering design knowing and thinking as an innovation in STEM learning. His areas of research include engineering design thinking, adult learning cognition, engineering education professional development and technical training. He has extensive international experience working on technical training and engineering projects funded by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and U.S. Department of Labor, USAID. Countries where he has worked include Armenia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Thailand. He is currently a consultant on a USAID-funded project that involves workforce development and enterprise competitiveness. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the department.
Janis L. Boettinger, Ph.D.
Vice Provost and Professor of Soil Science, Department of Plants, Soils, and Climate
Janis has been a faculty member at USU for 21 years. She is a professor of soil science in the Department of Plants, Soils, and Climate, and is active in research, teaching, and outreach. She earned her B.S. at Cornell University and M.S. and PhD. at the University of California, Davis. Her research interests are soil formation, soil mapping, and soil-biota interactions, and she works with the Utah, Western, and National Cooperative Soil Survey programs. Janis has taught courses in general education physical science, upper division and graduate-level soil science, and the senior capstone experience. She is an engaged mentor of undergraduate and graduate researchers. As Vice Provost, Janis focuses on faculty development and diversity. She has recently stepped in as interim director of the STE2M Center while the search for a full-time director is underway.
Brynja Kohler, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Brynja Kohler has been on the faculty at Utah State University since 2004, specializing in mathematics education and teacher development. Her background includes four years as a high school mathematics teacher, as well as interdisciplinary research in biology and mathematics. She received her B.A. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, her M.S. from the Courant Institute of New York University, and her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Utah. Dr. Kohler coordinates with the Utah State Office of Education on the design and delivery of teacher professional development and leads field-based components of the department's mathematics education programs.
Victor Lee, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences
Victor Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. His research focuses on the use of emerging technologies in K-12 STEM education and conceptual change. Current work involves designing and testing instruction that involves students gathering and analyzing their own physical activity data. He previously served, for two years, as chair of the special interest group for Advanced Technologies for Learning for the American Educational Research Association. In 2011, Victor received an NSF Early CAREER award. His Bachelor's degrees are in Mathematics and Cognitive Science, and he completed his doctoral studies in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University.
Nancy Mesner, MS, MSE
Associate Professor, Department of Watershed Sciences
Nancy is an associate professor in the Department of Watershed Sciences, Associate Dean of the College of Natural Resources and USU's Extension Specialist in water quality. She conducted her graduate work in limnology and environmental engineering at the University of Washington and worked for several agencies and as a private consultant before joining the faculty at Utah State University in 1999. Her general research interests include the effectiveness of nonpoint source best management practices and design and implementation of monitoring programs to meet specific data objectives. She teaches an integrative capstone course for seniors and graduate students. Her extension program focuses on citizen science and best practices for water science and watershed education and engagement. Her program develops and assesses water science and watershed curricula, conducts teacher trainings in the use of these curricula, and provides over 7000 youth each year with hands-on monitoring and water exploration activities. As Associate Dean, she works closely with undergraduates, with a special emphasis on recruitment, retention, and career pathways.
Eric D. Packenham, M.Ed.
Senior Lecturer of Science Education
Eric Packenham is a faculty member in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership. He specializes in science teacher development and science career access. He coordinates STEM Education initiatives between the College of Education and Human Services and the disciplinary colleges (Science, Engineering, Agriculture, Natural Resources) at Utah State University. He mentors students that major in STEM disciplines to broaden the pool of female and underrepresented students graduating with university-level STEM majors and STEM careers. He has expertise in working with state and national initiatives and served as Director at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). He also directed the Mathematics and Science Education Network (MSEN) Pre-College Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been actively involved in large scale professional development programs to support teacher development. He has experience in recruiting and developing programs for the Expanding Your Horizons to inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM by engaging professional women from businesses, government agencies, and other universities to share their enthusiasm for science, engineering, and mathematics. He is also Principal Investigator and Director of the Utah State University STARS! GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program) which is a federally funded partnership between the U.S. Department of Education and targeted schools in Utah and Nevada.