Megan is an educational researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Education and Outreach program at the University of Colorado Boulder. She has conducted quantitative and qualitative research to examine educational outcomes and goals of science learning programs funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Megan serves as the lead educational researcher and evaluator on a variety of projects, including We are Water (co-PI); Lens on Climate Change; HEART Force (Hazard Education, Awareness, and Resilience Task Force), UTMOST (External Evaluator) at CIRES E & O. She is also PI on a project funded by the CU Office for Outreach and Engagement that introduces students to improv theater and environmental science to build science communication and collaboration skills and introduced improv exercises to teachers to facilitate learning and engagement in their classrooms. She holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Colorado State University, with a focus on applications of cognitive theory in education.
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; Cognitive Psychology, Ph.D. 2011
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; Cognitive Psychology, M.S. 2008
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA; Psychology, B.S. 2005
2016- present Educational Researcher, CIRES Education and Outreach, University of Colorado Boulder
2015- 2017 Lecturer, University of Colorado Denver
2013–2018 Research Associate, Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado Boulder
2011-2013 Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City
2009-2011 Graduate Teaching Fellow, Colorado State University
2006-2009 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Mentor, Colorado State University
2005-2009 Graduate Teaching Assistant, Colorado State University
Educational Research on Learning Outcomes: As an educational researcher in the CIRES Education and Outreach program, I lead research on the Lens on Climate Change project and HEART Force for middle and high school students. My role primarily includes leading instrument development and selection, data collection, conducting case studies, and running statistical analyses to assess program outcomes and effectiveness.
CU Outreach and Engagement Award (2018-2019): “Building Science Communication Skills through Improvisational Theater.”
I am currently developing a workshop series that brings together high school students and University of Colorado (CU) graduate students studying environmental science in an informal science learning setting. The goal of the workshop is to facilitate learning communication and collaboration skills through improvisational theater exercises, integrated with science content learning. This project is funded by the CU Office for Outreach and Engagement.
Educational Consulting: Recent work I have completed involves curating and generating a variety of resources in a series of “Toolkits” for middle school teachers to facilitate the translation of cognitive theory and research findings into practice for educational settings. This work was completed for the Middle School Matters Institute (www.greatmiddleschools.org).
Tayne, K., Littrell, M. K., Okochi, C., Gold, A. U., & Leckey, E. (2020). Framing action in a youth climate change filmmaking program: Hope, agency, and action across scales. Environmental Education Research, 1-21. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2020.1821870.
Littrell, M. K., Tayne, K., Okochi, C., Leckey, E., Gold, A. U., & Lynds, S. (2020). Student perspectives on climate change through place-based filmmaking. Environmental Education Research, 26 (4), 594-610. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2020.1736516.
Littrell, M.K., Okochi, C., Gold, A.U., Leckey, E., Tayne, K., Lynds, S., Williams, V., & Wise, S. (2019). Exploring students’ engagement with place-based environmental challenges through filmmaking: a case study from the Lens on Climate Change program. Journal of Geoscience Education, 68(1), 80-93. doi: 10.1080/10899995.2019.1633510.
Littrell, M., Gold, A., Leckey, E., & Okochi, C. (2019, June). Engaging middle and high school students in the Lens on Climate Change filmmaking program. National Science Foundation ITEST Principle Investigator and Evaluator Summit: Living, Learning, and Working in the Digital Age, Alexandria, VA.
Gold, A.U., Boyd, K., Leckey, E.H., Littrell, M., Lynds, S.E., Curry, R.M., Morton, A., Okochi, C., Schloesser, K., Taylor, J. (2019, May): How CIRES Education & Outreach can support you and broaden the impact of your science. CIRES Rendezvous, Boulder, CO, United States
Gold, A. U. , Leckey, E., Littrell, M., Okochi, C., Lynds, S., Wise, S., (2018, December): Lens on Climate Change. Inspiring youth to learn about local impacts of climate change through filmmaking- a transformative experience. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Washington, D.C.
Leckey, E., Gold, A., Boyd, K., Taylor, J., Littrell, M., Morton, A., 2019, January): Empowering Rural Communities to increase Sustainability and Resilience through Disaster Planning Games . National Council of the Environment, Washington, DC.
Littrell, M., Gold, A., Boyd, K., Taylor, J., Leckey, E., Schloesser, K., & Morton, A. (2019, May): Empowering Youth to Envision Community Resilience Actions around Natural Hazards. CIRES Rendezvous, Boulder, CO, United States.
Littrell, M., Leckey, E., Gold, A.U., Tayne, K., Okochi, C., & Lynds, S. (2019, March). The Lens on Climate Change: Engaging and inspiring secondary students through place-based filmmaking. Paper presented at the 92nd Annual International Conference of the National Association for Research in Science Education (NARST), Baltimore, Maryland.
Littrell-Baez, M., Tayne, K., Leckey, E., Gold, A.U., Okochi, C., Lynds, S., & Smith, L. (2018, April). A qualitative approach to understanding Lens On Climate Change (LOCC) students’ perspectives on climate change. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting in New York, NY.
Tayne, K., Littrell-Baez, M., Leckey, E. & Gold, A.U. (2018, April). Towards more meaningful climate change education: Investigating the role of climate change solutions. Paper presented at roundtable at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting in New York, New York.
Gold, A.U., Leckey, E., Littrell-Baez, M., Smith, L., & Lynds, S. (2018). Student-produced short films about impacts of climate change on local communities: An effective approach that combines art and place-based learning opportunities and challenges of program implementation with secondary school students. Journal of Sustainability Education, 17.
Tayne, K., Littrell-Baez, M., Leckey, E. & Gold, A.U., (2018, June) Engaging with climate change as a socioscientific issue in an informal science learning environment. In The Proceedings of The International Conference of the Learning Sciences, London.
Caccamise, D., Littrell-Baez, M., & Weatherley, J. (2018, June). Translating theory to practice: Technology solutions to solve practical issues for teaching reading comprehension at the secondary level. In the Proceedings of The International Conference of the Learning Sciences, London.
Littrell-Baez, M., Clark, J., Leckey, E., Gold, A., Wise, S., & Lynds, S. (2017, September). Case study on science and storytelling through film: American Indian students in the Lens on Climate Change (LOCC) summer workshop. Poster presented at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, Denver, CO.
Oonk, D.J., Leckey, E., Gold, A.U., Margo-Sneider, J., Littrell-Baez, M., Smith, L.K., Lynds, S. (2017). Lens on Climate Change: Using place-based learning to explore climate change effects. Science Scope, 41(2), 86-95.
Littrell-Baez, M., & Caccamise, D. (2017). A cognitive perspective on chemistry instruction: Building students’ chemistry knowledge through advancing fundamental literacy and metacognitive skills. In P. Daubenmire (Ed.), Metacognition in chemistry education: Connecting research and practice. (pp. 31-42). ACS Symposium Series; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC.
Leckey, E., Gold, A., Wise, S., Littrell-Baez, M., Lynds, S., Oonk, D., Smith, L., Cozzetto, K., Alweis, D., Forsyth, S., & Carpenter, E. (2016, September). Lens on Climate Change (LOCC)—Engaging diverse secondary students in climate science through filmmaking. Paper presented at the Geological Society of America, Denver, CO.
Littrell-Baez, M.K., Friend, A., Caccamise, D., & Okochi, C. (2015). Using retrieval practice and metacognitive skills to improve content learning. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 58(8), 680-687. DOI: 10.1002/jaal.420.