Samuel Severance
  • Title
    • Assistant Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Education Department
  • Affiliations Environmental Studies Department
  • Phone
    (831) 459-3850
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • McHenry Library, Room 3146
  • Office Hours By Appointment
  • Mail Stop Education Department
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064

Summary of Expertise

Science Education, Design-Based Research, Collaborative Design, Community-Engaged Research, Project-Based Learning, Sociocultural Theory, Cognitive Science

Research Interests

I develop science education materials and study how they can support learners in having more meaningful and empowering STEM learning experiences. My work includes a focus on the process of designing STEM materials. I explore how to productively leverage the expertise of groups often excluded in design work (e.g., students, teachers, and community members) in order to achieve more effective design spaces and more inclusive research-practice partnerships. I also examine how to support the implementation of STEM innovations, particularly how to sustain them over time and bring them to scale across education systems and spaces while showing integrity to their intended purpose.

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D. Learning Sciences & Human Development with Cognitive Science (Combined)

University of Colorado Boulder (2016)


M.A.+ Curriculum & Instruction + Secondary Science Licensure

University of Colorado Boulder (2007)


B.A. Neuroscience & Behavior

University of California, Santa Cruz (2002)

Honors, Awards and Grants


"'Seed Spoon Science': Building Community and STEM Identity with Science in the Garden"

PI: Alexie Leauthaud; Co-PI: Samuel Severance

Funder: David & Lucile Packard Foundation

$40,000 (2021-2023)

(UCSC News Article)


"Community-Engaged Transformative Learning with Informal STEM in a School-Based Community Garden"

PI: Linnea Beckett; Co-PI: Samuel Severance

Funder: Spencer Foundation

$50,000 (2021-2023)

(UCSC News Article)


"SEMILLA Teach Project"

PI: Pablo Reguerín; Co-PI: Nandini Bhattacharya, Judit Moschkovich, Samuel Severance

Funder: US Dept of Ed Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) - STEM Articulation Programs

$149,798 (2019-2021)


"Equipping Middle School Teachers with Resources to Monitor the Progress of their Students’ Science Learning"

PI: James Pellegrino; Co-PIs: Joseph Krajcik, Christopher Harris, Daniel Damelin

PI: Samuel Severance (subaward)

Funder: Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative 

$23,928 (2019-2021)



Hellman Fellowship (2021-2022)

Miramontes Scholar Fellowship (2012-2016)

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in STEM Education (2013)

ETS Recognition of Excellence (PRAXIS General Science) (2007)

Hach Scientific Foundation Chemistry Teacher Scholarship (2007)