Meet the Augmented and Mobile Learning Team 

Heather Toomey ZimmermanLead Researcher: Heather Toomey Zimmerman 

Heather, an Associate Professor of Education, is a  learning scientist who studies how multiple learning experiences contribute to the development of knowledge, practices, and identity towards (or away) from science. Her interests include everyday science learning, parent-child interactions, designing for learning in informal institutions, technology to support learning across settings, and gender  issues that intersect with STEM disciplines. Her prior work experience involved designing and implementing museum programs for families, youth, and community organizations—including the Storybook Science early childhood science/reading program and camp programs for rural and urban youth in their communities. She has published in Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Science Education, International Journal of Science Education, Research in Science Education, Journal of Museum Education, Environmental Education ResearchMuseums & Social Issues, and the 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2014 Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences. Heather is active in AERA’s Learning Sciences and Informal Learning Environments Research (ILER) SIGs and in NARST’s Science Learning in Informal Contexts Strand.

Link to website:
Link to Google Scholar profile: Heather’s Google Scholar profile

Susan M. LandLead Researcher: Susan M. Land

Susan is an Associate Professor in the Learning, Design, and Technology Program at Penn State University, University Park, since 1997. She earned a doctorate in Instructional Systems from the Florida State University. Previously, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Georgia’s Learning and Performance Support Laboratory and held a faculty position at the University of Oklahoma in the Instructional Psychology and Technology Program. Before that time, she worked on instructional design projects with organizations such as the U.S Air Force Academy, Citibank, and Hewlett Packard. Land’s research emphasizes frameworks for the design of open-ended, technology-rich learning environments. A common thread of her research involves how to better understand and support the processes whereby learners more deeply and meaningfully engage learning with technology in student-centered learning contexts. Land’s current research group is investigating the design of learning environments afforded by new media in everyday, informal, or classroom contexts that utilize technologies such as social media and mobile devices. Recent research projects have studied the use of digital photography and mobile devices to capture everyday experiences that connect home-school learning; context-sensitive, place-based mobile learning in outdoor informal environments; and frameworks for design of mobile, augmented reality leaning.

Link to website:
Link to Google Scholar profile: Susan’s Google Scholar profile.

Lab Manager

Katie Grills
Katie Grills is the current lab manager for the Augmented and Mobile Learning Research Group. She has an M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State, during which she studied the intersection between early childhood socioemotional development and physical health. Originally from Michigan, she earned her B.A. in Psychology from Kalamazoo College before coming to State College.

Graduate Researchers

Yu-Chen Chiu
Yu-Chen Chiu is a doctoral student in the Learning, Design, and Technology program at Penn State. She received a B.S. in Education from National Taiwan Normal University and a MS.Ed. in International Educational Development from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests are in the intersection between technology use in informal learning environments, learning on the move, and children and youth’s learning of environmental and community issues.
Lillyanna Faimon
Lillyanna Faimon is a doctoral student in Learning, Design and Technology. She received her B.S. in Cognitive Science from Indiana University. Her research interests include creativity, motivation and the intersection of STEM and the arts to support learning in informal settings.
Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams is a doctoral student in the Learning, Design, and Technology program. He received an M.S.Ed. in Instructional Technology and in Special Education/Visual Impairments. Jeff is interested in studying how emotionally salient experiences created using mobile technology and augmented reality facilitate learning about oneself and one’s environment.


Jessica Briskin
Gi Woong (Josh) Choi
Jaclyn Dudek
Sam Fecich
Chris Gamrat
Chris Gamrat
Brittany Groff
Brittany Groff
Yong Ju Jung
Yong Ju Jung
Soo Hyeon (Sue) Kim
Lucy R. McClaine
Lucy R. McClain
Michael Mohney
Michael Mohney

Brian J. Seely,
Huihui Zhang