New School of Education faculty member to lead efforts to diversify STEM fields
July 13, 2022
Lezly Taylor has joined the Virginia Tech School of Education as an assistant professor of science education.
Taylor was a participant in Virginia Tech’s Future Faculty Diversity Program where she was selected from a national pool of applicants.
Taylor earned her doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Tech and a master's degree in science education from Georgia State University. She previously taught biology at Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia, Georgia, and she is certified in biology and broad field secondary science.
Taylor will assume the role of a tenure-line faculty member in the Science Education program beginning in the fall of 2022.
George Glasson, Taylor’s doctoral advisor said, “Dr. Taylor's research effectively bridges theory and practice to promote equity and the participation of historically underserved and underrepresented populations.”
As a doctoral student, Taylor was a graduate research assistant for the Actualizing STEM Potential in the Mississippi Delta and Alliances for Graduate Education, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Her responsibilities included developing STEM curriculum for a robotics program for underrepresented students, collaborating with faculty and partners for community STEM projects, conducting a college readiness workshop aligned with a STEM career focus, and compiling and analyzing data for program evaluation and research presentations and publications.
Additionally, Taylor served as a graduate research assistant on the Alliance for Graduate Education and Professoriate (AGEP) project, also funded by the NSF. In this project, she served as project director, a role in which she coordinated recruitment and conference planning, developed marketing and publicity materials, and served as an administrative liaison among universities for the HBCU Instructors Bridge to Academia Fellowship Program.
Taylor’s dissertation research, Examining Changes in African American Students' Epistemic Agency as STEM Learners, focused on curricular design of learning trajectories that advance students' mastery of disciplinary content and practices while documenting dispositional factors that foster meaningful STEM participation. The preliminary results have been published in the Journal of Cultural Studies in Science Education.
"I look forward to continuing to engage in the work and expand the body of research that focuses on creating equitable STEM opportunities for historically underrepresented populations,” Taylor said. “As a teacher educator, I look forward to working with teachers to create classrooms that center the intersection of science and society in an effort to create students that are equipped to address 21st century challenges."
Virginia Tech School of Education Director, Kristin Gehsmann, said she is excited about Taylor’s hire.
“Dr. Taylor is a skilled researcher and exemplary teacher,” she said. “Her commitment to emancipatory pedagogies and diversifying STEM fields aligns with the school’s commitment to advance diversity, equity, and social justice. We are deeply fortunate she chose to make the Virginia Tech School of Education her academic home.”