Toggle Accessibility Tools

Current Members


  I earned my Ph.D. at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for work that examined how carbon enrichment redirects plants’ allocation of resources to growth, reproduction and defense.  In my postdoctoral work, I extended this line of inquiry below-ground to explore how soil microbial communities respond to plants’ carbon surplus when grown in carbon-enriched atmospheres. After coming to MSU, my research interests have shifted toward questions that provide insights into how students develop conceptual understanding in biology.  I am especially interested in the barriers and benefits that accompany learning and reasoning with visual information.


Departmental Page



Graduate Students

Joelyn de Lima

  I am a graduate student in the Long Lab, Department of Plant Biology, MSU. My research is focused on undergraduate biology education. I explore how context influences the way students reason about evolution, and the way they represent their knowledge and reasoning. Specifically, I study the variation in students’ responses to equivalent questions asked using different contexts, and the degree to which different modes of response influence the content and accuracy expressed. My research leverages analytic and statistical approaches used by population biologists and network scientists to test theories rooted in psychology and the learning sciences. In addition to my research, I am involved in various science communication and community building endeavours.

de Lima




Bethany Gettings

  I am a third-year Ph.D. student and NRT-IMPACTS fellowship recipient in the Long Lab where I am interested in short- and long-term achievement differences exhibited by students in undergraduate biology courses taught through model-based instruction. I hope to use my research as evidence to inform instructional practices which are effective to the majority of students; ultimately, addressing the STEM achievement gap and increasing retention within STEM undergraduate programs. 




Seth Hunt

  I’m a Ph.D. student in the Long Lab whose research joins traditional ecological research with discipline-based education research. My dissertation research looks at dissolved oxygen cycling in rivers and the different roles that various physical, chemical, and biological parameters play in it’s alteration. From an education perspective, I’m interested in systems thinking in ecological contexts with particular emphasis on how undergraduate biology students reason with nutrient cycling models.  I have a bachelor’s in biology with a secondary education option from Waynesburg University and a master’s in aquatic ecology from Murray State University.  Prior to joining the Long Lab I had previously worked at the University of Delaware as a preceptor where I helped teach integrated version of both introductory biology and introductory chemistry to freshman life science majors.




Research Associates


Jyothi Kumar

  I am the Program Coordinator for NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) - Integrated training Model in Plant And Compu-Tational Sciences (IMPACTS) at Michigan State University. NRT is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education training in high priority interdisciplinary research areas through a comprehensive traineeship model. The program aims to provide training for doctoral students at the interface of plant biology and computational sciences. As program coordinator, I am involved in understanding efficient ways to train graduate students in interdisciplinary research, estimate project impact on trainee outcomes, and develop a resource repository to support evaluation efforts across science education community. I have a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Bangalore University, India and a PhD in Agronomy and Horticulture from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. 




Undergraduate Researchers


Devin Babi

  I am currently a senior at Michigan State majoring in Neuroscience. After graduating from Michigan State I plan to attend medical school. I joined the long Lab in the spring semester of 2018 and I’m involved with data transcription and other logistical needs of the lab. I previously conducted a research project titled “Measuring students’ consistency of core genetics concepts” which I presented at UURAF 2019. I found that students’ understanding wavered across multiple items addressing the same concept, especially when they varied in specific thinking. Currently, I am working on a research project observing students’ understanding of evolutionary concepts across organisms which I plan to present at UURAF 2020. Outside of the lab, I volunteer at multiple organizations including the MSU Breslin Cancer Center and Camp Kesem.




Hunter Hicks

  I am a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Fisheries & Wildlife with a concentration in Wildlife Biology & Management. I am interested in approaches we will take to manage the environment in modernized world. In the Long Lab, I am involved in transcribing data to offer insight into how students conceptualize biology.  I presented a project in which I measured the consistency of students’ elicited understanding of core genetics concepts at UURAF 2019. I am currently working on a project exploring the reliability of data collected by students in an undergraduate biology course, which I will present at UURAF 2020.




Josh Marwede

  I am currently a freshman enrolled at Michigan State University’s College of Lyman Briggs pursuing a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology. After joining the Long Lab this past fall, I have been working with various forms of transcription involving undergraduate level biology and model-based data comprehension. Besides lab work, I am also apart of the American Medical Student Association and intramural basketball here at Michigan State. In the near future, I intend on furthering my education through medicine.