Research Group

Heather works with a team of researchers investigating topics related to informal learning, including informal science education, family learning, mobile technologies, museum and outdoor learning, and learning across social settings (such as school-community connections).


Lucy Richardson McClain  is a doctoral student at the Pennsylvania State University.  She currently is a graduate researcher and the Youth Programs Coordinator at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center.  McClain holds a M.Ed. in Science Education and a B.S. in Archaeological Science from Penn State.  Her research interests include environmental education, how youth best learn about their natural world in out-of-doors settings, and how informal learning institutions can extend their relationship with local schools in order to engage young learners with their local environment.




Chris Gamrat earned a M.Ed. in Instructional Systems and a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Penn State. Chris is also the Principal Investigator for the COIL Lifelong Learning Landscape project, an initiative to develop a digital badging platform at Penn State. Prior the working for the College of IST, Chris worked for the NASA Aerospace Education Services Project based in Penn State’s College of Education. Chris worked to help support teacher professional development in STEM subjects across the country.  His research interests include: digital badges, MOOCs, lifelong learning, and innovation in high education.



Jaclyn Dudek is a doctoral student and a native of Detroit.  She received her B.A in Ancient History and Classical Languages from the University of Michigan, and M.A in Classical Studies from Wayne State University.   In 2012 Jaclyn participated as a scholar in the NEH sponsored project Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives.  Her research interests include online programs in higher education, and digital humanities.




Yong Ju Jong  completed her undergraduate work in Department of Education and masters in Educational Technology, Korea University, Seoul. She has participated in diverse projects regarding mobile learning and technology integration.  Recently, as a Ph.D student, she is interested in how to design and support learning activities and socio-emotional interactions with mobile/AR.   She is especially interested in learning in museum settings


Soo Hyeon (Sue)

Soo Hyeon (Sue)

Soo Hyeon (Sue) Kim is a Ph.D. student in Learning, Design, and Technology program at Penn State University. She received a B.S. in industrial design from KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and a M.S. in industrial design engineering from Delft University of Technology. Prior to her doctoral studies, she has worked as a smartphone product manager for LG Electronics in Korea. Her research interests are in the intersection between creativity, making as learning, informal learning, and mobile technologies.




Michael Mohney has a BS in Art Education from Penn State.  After working as an Art Specialist for Montgomery County Public Schools in Rockville, Maryland; Michael returned to Penn State to pursue his Masters in Horticulture.  Michael has been Instructor in the Landscape Contracting major of the Horticulture Department at Penn State.  He is responsible for teaching the digital technology courses which include:  Computer Aided Drafting, 3D Modeling, Computer Rendering, and Photo Imaging.  In 2011, Michael was the first recipient of the Paul R. and Joan M. Shellenberger Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.



Jennifer L. Weible, Ph.D.,  was a graduate research assistant on the Learning Across Social Settings project at the Pennsylvania State University.  She holds a B.S.  in Secondary Education, Chemistry and Physics  from Clarion University and a M.Ed. in Educational Technology from Penn State. Weible has taught science for 17 years, specializing in chemistry and physics. She is interested in the role of technology in teaching and learning and has worked as a Keystone Integrator. Weible’s research interests are centered in how learning experiences, especially those facilitated by technology, influence students’ cognitive processes and social practices and lead to development of science knowledge and practice. Jen is‎ an Assistant Professor in Educational Technology at Central Michigan University.

Laura March is a graduate of both the Learning, Design, and Technology program in the College of Education and Art Education in the College of Arts and Architecture. Laura’s interests include new media outreach possibilities and designing accessible creative learning environments. Last fall, she founded and organized the Blue Out movement which brought over $50,000 to child abuse prevention charities.

Donny Tusler is a graduate of the Learning, Design, and Technology program in the College of Education with interests in instruction design, interaction design, emotion in learning, and accessibility. Donny has returned to Penn State as a doctoral student.

Huihui Zhang  graduated with her M.Ed. in Learning, Design and Technology.  She is originally from China and  graduated from Shandong University as an English major.  She is interested in technology and young learners. Some projects include using and designing ibooks for children.  Huihui also volunteers at the Child Care Center at Hort Woods.

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