Peabody College, Vanderbilt University
Ph.D. student in the Mathematics and Science Education track of the Teaching, Learning, and Diversity Department at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Portia received her A.B. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard College (2010) with a secondary field in Classics. Between her undergraduate and graduate studies she taught middle school science and high school biology and chemistry for four years at a charter school in Boston, MA. Her research interests include teaching practices in science education to promote inclusiveness, equity, and increased student engagement for marginalized student populations, the categorization and development of schema in math and science education, and student identity as a learner in the classroom space. Portia is presently engaged on research projects involving curriculum design to support the development of spatial reasoning in elementary mathematics and engineering education, investigation of the contributing factors in the underrepresentation of African Americans in engineering faculty positions, and the design of a mentoring program for Black engineering students.