Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Teacher Education and Teacher Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Douglas B. Larkin

Committee Member

Monica Taylor

Committee Member

Emily Hodge


This study investigated how the figured world of the RET, and other figured worlds of science that teacher’s experience, impacted their conceptions around the nature of science and their identities in science and as science teachers. The main premise behind RET programs is that by partnering science teachers with scientists as mentors, science teachers will glean insight about science they can bring back into their classrooms. Although there is a large body of literature around the impacts of RETs as sites of PD for science teachers, there are several gaps this study aimed to address, such as the use of ecofeminism as a tool for analysis and a focus specifically on identity. This study suggests as science teachers move through figured worlds of science, certain experiences can work to stabilize, or destabilize an identity as a science person or as someone who is not welcomed in science. Looking across science teachers’ storied science identities, I identified four shared storylines: 1) The impact of elementary and middle school science figured worlds on science/teacher identity; 2) the roles of recognition and sense of belonging in the development of science/teacher identity; 3) science/teacher’s identity informing pedagogical practice and commitments; and 4) science teachers feeling valued for their role as expert communicators in RETs. This study suggests that RETs, as figured worlds of science, shape science/teacher identities and their conceptions around the nature of science, in turn impacting science teachers’ classroom practice. It also highlights the need for RETs to take an even more critical examination of the teachers who are participating, the scientists with whom teachers are paired, the students of the participating teachers teach, as well as the language used to describe science and the relationships between teachers and scientists.

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