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Eileen Parsons, Ph.D. - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Eileen Parsons, Ph.D. Eileen Parsons, Ph.D.

Professor of Science Education | UNC-Chapel Hill


Associate Professor of Science Education



Eileen Parsons, Ph.D. Publication



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BVI Masters - Eileen Parsons




Eileen Parsons studies the influences of socio-cultural factors, specifically race and culture, on learning in science and participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Her research uses primarily, but not exclusively, qualitative methods to investigate the cultural and racial responsiveness of practices with respect to African American students in K-12 learning environments with a focus on middle school and cultural and racial inclusiveness for traditionally underrepresented students of color in undergraduate STEM. Learning and participation of students of color also foreground her scholarship. Her scholarship centers and extends critical and socio-cultural theories that weigh the historical and contemporary positioning of people of color. Her research and scholarship are inspired by the belief that diverse perspectives and voices result in the most innovative, equitable, and productive approaches to a society’s challenges.

Parsons’ future research and scholarship interests include a K-postsecondary cross-disciplinary synthesis of STEM literature on students of color; mixed-methods longitudinal examinations of youths’ and their adult significant others’ (e.g., parents) science learning and participation in culturally responsive informal learning environments; and STEM education policy.

Industry Expertise (6)


International Affairs



Program Development

Public Policy

Areas of Expertise (4)

Broadening participation in STEM

STEM Education policy

African American education

Racial equity

Accomplishments (2)

Contribution of Research to Practice Award (professional)


2005, Association for Science Teacher Education "Contribution of Research to Practice" Award

Science Policy Fellow (professional)


2011, American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy Fellow

Education (3)

Cornell University: Ph.D., Science Education 1994

Cornell University: M.S., Science Education 1991

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: B.S., Science Teaching (chemistry) 1989

Affiliations (3)

  • National Association for Research in Science Teaching
  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science

Media Appearances (1)

Eileen Parsons to receive award on September 20

BVI News  


Former educator, legislator and cultural icon Eileene Parsons will on Friday (September 20) receive her award following an appearance on The Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June of this year. The List recognises persons for outstanding achievement and service across the UK and its overseas territories which include the BVI. As was earlier announced, Parsons will be honoured for her services to education and to the community in the British Virgin Islands.

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Event Appearances (5)

Mindset, agency, and African American high school students

Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association  Washington, DC.


A critical race theory critique of Next Generation of Science Standards: Manifestations of “racism as ordinary” and “interest convergence.”

Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association  Chicago, IL.


Critical race theory and the Next Generation of Science Standards: Implementation to address “Racism as ordinary” and “counter storytelling.”

National Association of Research in Science Teaching International Meeting  Chicago, IL.


Awaken the dialogue: Race and the experiences of Black faculty in the science education community

National Association of Research in Science Teaching International Meeting  Pittsburgh, PA.


What are the perceptions of scientists held by Black college students majoring and not majoring in scientific fields?

National Association of Research in Science Teaching International Meeting,  Rio Grande, Puerto Rico


Articles (5)

Unpacking and critically synthesizing the literature on race and ethnicity in science education

The Handbook on Research in Science Education

2014 This quote is taken from Ralph Ellison's classic novel entitled "The Invisible Man", first published in its entirety in 1952. The main character and narrator in The Invisible Man is an unnamed African American whose story speaks to the experiences of those who were Black and American in the United States during the time period the book was written...

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An Examination of Black Science Teacher Educators’ Experiences with Multicultural Education, Equity, and Social Justice

Journal of Science Teacher Education

2013 Diversity, multicultural education, equity, and social justice are dominant themes in cultural studies (Hall in Cultural dialogues in cultural studies. Routledge, New York, pp 261–274, 1996; Wallace 1994). Zeichner (Studying teacher education: The report of the AERA panel on research and teacher education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, pp 737–759, 2005) called for research studies of teacher educators because little research exists on teacher educators since the late 1980s. Thomson et al.(2001) identified essential ...

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Exploring the Alignment of Black Scientists with the American Scientific Community: Does Race Still Matter?

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

2013 This study examined Black scientists' characterizations of the relationship between their race and their alignment with the science community. Using exploratory factor analysis, we examined 110 scientists' experiences in accessing science. Over half of the participants (54%) indicated high alignment with the scientific community. By contrast, 46% of Black scientists perceived themselves as having low alignment with the scientific community. Using these grouping for subsequent quantitative and qualitative analyses, ...

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Culture and science education in the 21st century: Extending and making the cultural box more inclusive

Journal of Research in Science Teaching

2013 We are pleased to introduce the Special Issue, Culture and Science Education in the 21st Century. In the past 20 years, the concept of culture has become more prominent and relevant in science education. The culture of science, culture of school science, culture of science classrooms, and cultures of individual actors in the science educative process are among the many ways in which culture has been cast and examined in the science education literature. Many studies described culture and examined its role in the ...

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Conceptualizations of context in science education research: Implications for equity

Moving the equity agenda forward: Equity research, practice, and policy in science education

2012 Context is commonly equated to the setting in which events take place. Researchers often capture this place in their descriptions of participants, physical surroundings, and artifacts relevant to the phenomenon under investigation. In this chapter, context is treated as part of the researched phenomena. The first treatment of context considers factors internal and external to the individual. This conceptualization of context is illustrated via research on middle school science teachers' views about students in ...

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