Carrie Tzou, Ph.D.

Professor & Director, Goodlad Institute for Educational Renewal

Room: UW1-271K
Box: 358531
Phone: 425-352-3251
Website: Open STEM Research
Website: Goodlad Institute for Educational Renewal


  • Ph.D., Learning Sciences, Northwestern University
  • M.S., Science Education, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University
  • B.S., Biology and B.A. in English, Stanford University

Academic Interests

Dr. Tzou explores the application of sociocultural theories of learning to the design of science and environmental science learning environments to study issues of culture, agency, and identity as connected to science learning. Additionally, she researches issues of place, power, race, and identity in environmental and science education through cross-setting ethnography and design-based research.


  • BEDUC 421: Knowing, Teaching, and Assessing in Earth, Space, and Life Science
  • BEDUC 423: Knowing, Teaching, and Assessing in Health, Fitness, and Issues of Abuse
  • BEDUC 425: Reflective Practice Seminar
  • BEDUC 430: Knowing, Teaching, and Assessing in Secondary Classrooms


  • Post-Doctoral scholar, University of Washington, College of Education, LIFE Center, COSEE-OLC Center (2006-2009)
  • Middle school science teacher, Martin Murphy Middle School, Morgan Hill Unified School District, San Jose, CA (1996-1998)                        
  • Research Assistant, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, Stanford, CA (1993-1996)

Honors & Awards

  • 2019-2020: Distinguished Research and Creative Activities Award

Selected Publications

  • Horstman, T., Tierney, G., & Tzou, C.T. (in press). Design principles for creating digital badges to support learning. Information and Learning Sciences.
  • Tzou, C.T., Starks, E., Meixi, Rambayon, A., Ortiz, S.M., Peterson, S., Gladstone, P., Tail, E., Chang, A., Andrew, E., Nevarez, X., Braun, A., Bang, M. (2020). Codesigning with Indigenous families and educators: Creating robotics education that contributes to Indigenous resurgenceConnected Science Learning, 2 (3).
  • Tzou, C.T., Rother, D., Starks, E., Meixi, Suarez, E., Rambayon, A., Bell, P., Twito, A., Peterson, S., Ortiz, S. M., & Bang, M. (2020).  Trust the process: Developing STEM mindsets through family storytellingConnected Science Learning (Volume 2.I1.P2).
  • Conner, L, Tsurusaki, B., Tzou, C., Teal-Sullivan, P., Guthrie, M., & Pompea, S. (2019). Fostering a STEAM mindset across learning settingsConnected Science Learning (Issue 12).
  • Tzou, C.T., Meixi, Suarez, W., Bell, P., LaBonte, D., Starks, E., & Bang, M. (2019). Making, materiality, and robotics within everyday acts of indigenous presence and resurgence. Cognition and Instruction, 37(3), 306-326.
  • Tierney, G., Horstman, T., & Tzou, C.T. (published online August 22, 2019). Youth Co-Design of Responsive Digital Badge Systems- Disrupting Hierarchy and Empowering Youth. CoDesign.
  • Conner, L.P., Tzou, C.T., Tsurusaki,  B.K., Guthrie, M., Pompea, S., & Teal-Sullivan, T. (2017). Designing STEAM for broad participation in science. Creative Education, 8, 2222-2231.
  • Teal-Sullivan, P., Conner, L., Guthrie, M., Pompea, S., Tsurusaki, B., & Tzou, C. (2017). Colorful Chemistry: Painting with the power of chemical reactions. Science and Children, 54(8), 34-40.
  • Tsurusaki, B., Tzou, C., Conner, L, & Guthrie, M. (2017). 5th-7th grade girls’ conceptions of creativity: Implications for STEAM education. Creative Education, 8(2), 255-271.
  • Bell, P., Tzou, C., Bricker, L., & Baines, A. D. (2012). Learning in diversities of structures of social practice: Accounting for how, why and where people learn science. Human Development, 55(5-6), 269-284.
  • Bell, P., Bricker, L. A., Tzou, C., Lee, T., & Van Horne, K. (2012). Engaging learners in scientific practices related to obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
    • The Science Teacher, 79(8), 31-36,
    • Science Scope, 36(3), 17-22,
    • Science & Children, 50(3), 11-16. 
  • Tzou, C. & Bell, P. (2012). The role of borders in environmental education: Positioning, power, and the paradox of categories. Ethnography and Education, 7(2), 265-282.
  • Tzou, C., Scalone, G. & Bell, P. (2010). The role of environmental narratives and social positioning in how place gets constructed for and by youth: Implications for environmental science education for social justice. Equity and Excellence in Education 43(5), 105-119.

Active Grants

  • 2019-2020: National Science Foundation, Advancing Information Science Learning, Supplemental funding for Robotics Backpacks for Family Learning: Transforming science center-library partnerships to support family engineering learning. Role: PI. Co-PIs Philip Bell and Megan Bang (University of Washington Seattle), Amy Twito (Seattle Public Library), $167,000.
  • 2019-2021 Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Role: Evaluator. $1,066,417. Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program.
  • 2017-2021: National Science Foundation, Advancing Informal Science Learning, Learning in Places: Field Based Science in Early Childhood EducationRole: co-PI. PI Megan Bang (Northwestern University), Co-PIs Mary Margaret Welch (Seattle Public Schools), Sharon Siehl (Tilth Alliance), $2.9 million.
  • 2017-2023: National Science Foundation, Advancing Informal Science Learning, Collaborative research: Advancing professional development and broadening participation in informal science learning via the integration of the science and art of color. Role: Co-PI. $1.2 million

Selected Presentations

  • Tzou, C.T., Bell, P., Bang, M., Meixi, Suárez, E., & LaBonte, D. (April 2019). Family camp, lightning storms, and eagle relatives: How family stories bring meaning to robotics learning. In D. Siegel (organizer), Weaving stories into STEM. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Toronto, ON.
  • Tsurusaki, B, Tzou, C.T., & Conner, L. (April 2019). Centering multiplicities of meanings from materials in STEAM professional development. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Toronto, ON.
  • Bang, M., Tzou, C.T., Johnson, A., Mengist, N., Neldom, M., Nolan, C., Pugh, P., Siehl, S., Sherry-Wagner, J., Tsoodle, A. (April 2019). Designing with teachers, families, and communities for heterogeneity in field-based science learning. In D. Hammer (organizer), Designing For and Engaging With Heterogeneity in Students’ Thinking in Science. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Toronto, ON.
  • Suárez, E., Bell, P., Tzou, C., Braun, A., LaBonte, D. (April, 2019). Designing equitable STEAM learning environments that invite and leverage learners’ stories and experiences. Submitted to the NSTA 2019 Annual National Meeting, St. Louis, MO.
  • Braun, A., Suárez, E., Bell, P., Tzou, C. (April, 2019). Learning Together: Engaging Families in Equitable STEAM Learning. Submitted to the NSTA 2019 Annual National Meeting, St. Louis, MO.
  • Bell, P., Suárez, E., LaBonte, D., Tzou, C., Bang, M. (March, 2019). The sociomateriality of family creativity in story-centered STEAM learning environments. In Suárez, E. (session organizer), Reimagining STEM Learning Through Centering Families’ Sense-Making Practices. Paper submitted to the NARST 2019 Annual International Conference, Baltimore, MD.
  • Tzou, C.T., Bang, M., Bell, P., & Starks, E., (August 2018). Supporting collaboration and expansive learning in family-centered robotics and e-textiles design projects. In K.A. Searle & B.K. Litts (organizers), Connecting learning across generations and contexts: Designing for family learning. Poster presented at the Connected Learning Summit, Cambridge, MA.
  • Tierney, G., Horstman, T., Tzou, C.T. (April 2018). Involving youth as educational program co-designers: Disrupting hierarchy and empowering youth. In G. Tierney (organizer), Youth co-design: The possibilities, affordances, and challenges of including youth in educational design. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), New York City, NY.
  • Tsurusaki, B., Tzou, C.T., Conner, L, & Guthrie, M. (April 2018). How middle school girls leverage identity resources to engage in STEAM practices. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), New York City, NY.


  • Tzou, C., Bricker, L. A., & Bell, P. (2007). Micros & Me: A Fifth-Grade Science Exploration into Personally and Culturally Consequential Microbiology. Seattle, WA: Everyday Science & Technology Group, University of Washington.
  • Tzou, C.T., White, B.D., Phillips, J. (2007). Is seeing believing? A high school exploration in how the brain interprets the world around us. Seattle, WA.