Research and Learning Center

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Dr. Christopher Parker


Texas Wesleyan University

Dr. Christopher Parker is an Assistant Professor of Microbiology at Texas Wesleyan University.  After receiving his training in Microbiology at the University of Texas at Austin, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.  He taught briefly at Purdue University Calumet before accepting his current role at Texas Wesleyan.  His research interests far into two broad categories: microbial genetics and science education.  His microbial genetics research focusses on understanding how microbes alter their gene expression in response to external signals.  His other research interest is improving the way in which science is taught by better understanding how students learn.  Dr. Parker is a member of the American Society for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and was a recent participant in the Biology Scholars Program.  More information can be found at

Dr. Mandy Maguire

Director, Developmental Neurolinguistics Lab, Callier Center for Communication Disorders

University of Texas at Dallas

Dr. Mandy Maguire earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Penn State University followed by her PhD in Developmental Psychology at Temple University in 2005.  She then spent 2 years studying electrophysiology and cognitive neuroscience as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Louisville. She is currently the director of the Developmental Neurolinguistics Lab housed in the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UTD and her research interests include studying children's language development through behavioral and brain responses. Mandy’s primary goal is to use behaviors and brain responses to understand the best environments for children to learn language. She uses much of this work as a foundation for better understanding language disorders and delays.

Dr. Haiyan Fan

Author, Chinestory Series

A former language teacher, linguist, and user experience researcher, Dr. Haiyan Fan combined her principles and expertise in cognitive science, learner-centered design, kinetics and game elements into the design of an innovative language curriculum – the Chinestory book series. Her hope is to make learning Chinese a meaningful, long-lasting and fun experience for you!  A native Chinese speaker, Haiyan came to the states in 1997 as a TESL/Applied Linguistics student at the University of Arizona. After working at the Artificial Intelligence Lab,she received her doctoral degree in management information systems from Texas A&M University.  Her research lies at the intersection of the cognitve, social, and kinetic aspects of language learning.



Xue (Michelle) Yang

 Visiting Research Scholar

University of North Texas

  Xue (Michelle) Yang, UNT Visiting Research Scholar, is on the faculty of the Educational Technology Department at Shanghai International Studies University. A designer, trainer, and graphic facilitator, she develops and delivers instruction on visual culture and media literacy. She has provided designing, training and course development services to students in a variety of venues, from primary schools and universities to Fortune 500 corporations. Michelle is the author of Learn Slides Design via Stories (China: Electronic Industry Press, 2014).



  Dr. Catherine Spann

  Research Scientist, Social and Affective Computing

  University of Texas at Arlington

 Dr. Catherine Spann serves as Research Scientist: Social and Affective Computing in LINK Research Lab ​ at the University of    Texas at Arlington​ . She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Georgia in 2010 and her Ph.D. in    Experimental Psychology from UTA in 2016. Catherine’s research focuses on the role of contemplative practices in mental and    physical health and general well-being, exploring the psychophysiological impact of such practices. She has led numerous    research studies in controlled lab settings, museums, and classrooms with both children and adults on the topic of mindfulness    and self-regulation. Her research engages in wearable and mobile technologies in order to increase understanding of the      physiological and psychological factors that lead to wellness and successful learning.


Fun Fact
When established in 1941, the Museum was the first children's museum in Texas and one of the first children's museums in the nation.

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