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Brenda Capobianco

Associate Professor
Science Education
Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Science Education -- Science teachers' and teacher educators' engagement in action research; young women's participation in science, technology, and engineering and the role teachers play in supporting young women's participation; issues of gender, culture, and identity in science and engineering education.


Current Projects

Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) is a multi-year, large scale NSF-funded Math Science Partnership project. SLED Partners include faculty from the Colleges of Education, Engineering, Science and Technology, Taylor Community School Corporation, Plymouth School Corporation, Lafayette School Corporation, and Tippecanoe School Corporation. The goal of the SLED Math Science Partnership is to increase grade 3-6 student learning of science by developing Indiana’s first integrated, engineering design-based approach to elementary/intermediate school science education. Research activities explore student and teaching learning and partnership development and sustainability.

See:  and


Engineering indentity development among young learners -- This project is a multi-year research study that examines the different ways girls approach, experience, and interact with engineering learning activities and how their learning informs their identity formation in science and engineering.

The NSF grant is entitled "Examining engineering perceptions, aspirations and identity among young girls"


Appointments on National/International Organizations

  • Board of Directors
    Association for Science Teacher Education
  • Associate Editor
    Journal of Science Teacher Education


Ed.D.      University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2002, Science Education,
Teacher Education and School Improvment
M.S. Central Connecticut State University, 1993, General Science
B.S. University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1986, Biological Sciences, minor in Chemistry

Selected Publications

  • Capobianco, B. M., Diefes-Dux, H., Mena, I., & Weller, J. (2011). What is an engineer? Implications of elementary school student conceptions for engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education, 100(2), 304-328.
  • Capobianco, B. M. (2011). Exploring a science teacher’s uncertainty with integrating engineering design: An action research study. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 22(7), 645-660.
  • Capobianco, B. M., & Feldman, A. (2010). Repositioning teacher action research in science teacher education. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 21(8), 909-915.
  • Capobianco, B. M., & Tyrie,N. (2009). Problem solving using design. Science and Children, 47(2), 38-41.
  • Capobianco, B. M., & Joyal, H. (2008). Engineering best practice: An action research study. Science and Children, 45(8), 22-26.
  • Feldman, A., & Capobianco, B. M. (2008). Teacher learning of technology enhanced formative assessment. Journal of Science Education and Technology. 17(1), 82-99.
  • Capobianco, B. M. (2007). Science teachers' attempts at integrating feminist pedagogy through collaborative action research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(1), 1-32.
  • Capobianco, B. M. (2007). A self-study of the role of technology in promoting reflection and inquiry-based science teaching. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 18(2), 271-296.


2008 - present                      Associate Professor, Science Education and Engineering Education (Courtesy Faculty) Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
2002 - present Affiliated Faculty, Women's Studies Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
2002 - present Assistant Professor in Science Education, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
2005 - present Assistant Professor of Engineering Education (Courtesy Faculty), Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
2002 - present Affiliated Faculty in Women's Studies
2002 - present Associated Faculty with the Gifted Education Research Institute, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
1998-2002 Graduate Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, and University Supervisor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
1995-1998 Adjunct Instructor, Depatment of Physical Sciences, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut
1989-1998 Science Teacher, Irving A. Robbins Middle School, Farmington, Connecticut


EDCI 36500 Teaching Science in the Elementary School
EDCI 51700 Survey in Science Education
EDCI 56700 Action Research in Science Education
EDCI 61800/WOST 59100    Gender and Culture in Science Education
EDCI 62200 Seminar in Science Education