We are a collaborative, inclusive, and culturally diverse research group. We collaborate within and outside the group to support and learn from each other and address major challenges in chemistry education. We believe that our collective strength comes from the broad range of skills, talents, and perspectives of our diverse backgrounds and aspirations. We strive to create a positive and welcoming environment that encourages open communication and empowers group members to express themselves and feel confident in their abilities. For more information about our group climate, check out the “Our Values” tab.

Research in the Popova Group focuses on three main areas:

  • Chemistry students’ representational competence (RC). We designed multiple studies that investigate faculty instructional practices for developing student RC, evaluate the effectiveness of chemistry textbooks for promoting student RC, characterize student reasoning with representations using cognitive interviews and/or eye-tracking, and design an assessment to measure student RC.
  • Chemistry faculty pedagogical reasoning and instructional practices. Current projects in the group investigate chemistry faculty pedagogical reasoning and instructional practices for teaching symmetry in inorganic chemistry learning environments and developing student RC in organic chemistry learning environments.
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in chemistry education. We are working on studies characterizing the experiences of marginalized women pursuing Ph.D. in chemistry, evaluating the departmental climate around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and characterizing the experiences of neurodivergent students learning chemistry.

For a more detailed description of projects, check out the “Research” and “Publications” tabs. Our research is currently funded or has been funded through several National Science Foundation grants:

  • NSF DUE-2337028 – Collaborative Research: Broadening Instructional Innovation in the Chemistry Laboratory through Excellence in Curriculum Development (current). For more information, see the website of the Chemistry Laboratory Curriculum (CLC) Innovators Program.
  • NSF DUE-2142214 – Collaborative Research: Exploring Connections Between Instructional Practice and Student Learning in Inorganic Chemistry Learning Environments (current).
  • NSF DUE-2025216 – BCSER: Developing Expertise in Educational Testing to Support Characterizing the Impact of Organic Chemistry Instruction on Students’ Ability to Reason with Representations (past).