Researcher Biographies

Meet our Research Partners

Maureen Callanan, Ph.D.

Maureen Callanan is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Her research focus is in developmental psychology; more specifically, she studies children’s cognitive and language development in the context of social interactions. Much of her recent research focuses on family conversations about science topics in museum settings. She is a co-author of the National Academy of Science Book,Learning Science in Informal Environments, and she was a core faculty member of the Center for Informal Learning and Schools (CILS).


Megan Luce, Ph.D.

Megan Luce has her Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Cruz, and her B.A. from California State University, Stanislaus. She conducted several years of graduate work at CDM while working with her advisor, Professor Maureen Callanan. Megan’s research interests include the development of children’s scientific thinking through everyday interactions and conversations with parents, and understanding how children develop and sustain interest in science learning. Guided by sociocultural theory, she is now doing postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley, Lawrence Hall of Science, and Stanford University.


Michael Frank, Ph.D.

Michael Frank started as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University in Fall of 2010 after finishing his dissertation in Brain and Cognitive Sciences as a graduate student at MIT. He is broadly interested in the relationship between language and cognition, both in the ways that children’s understanding of other people and the physical world plays a role in the acquisition of language and in the ways that learning words can change the ways people think about the world. Current projects include modeling and empirical work on early language acquisition as well as a line of research on cross-linguistic studies of numerical cognition. More about Michael Frank.

Kevin Crowley, Ph.D.

Kevin Crowley is an Associate Professor of Education and Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research & Development Center, where he also directs the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Settings. Dr. Crowley’s research interests focus on the development of children’s scientific thinking in informal, formal, and everyday settings. His work focuses on understanding how children develop knowledge and skill in the context of family scientific thinking in context such as museums or on the web. He conducted his graduate work at Carnegie-Mellon University, and he was a Postdoctoral Researcher at UC Santa Cruz, where he worked with Maureen Callanan and they began their collaboration with Children’s Discovery Museum.