The Making Sense of SCIENCE project, formerly known as the Understanding Science for Teaching project, was formed in 1998 on the belief that quality professional learning is critical to the success of teachers and students alike. This belief, shaped by years of research and development, formed the foundation of the Making Sense of SCIENCE approach to professional learning.
Based in Alameda, California, the Making Sense of SCIENCE team has been recognized nationally for its expertise in teacher professional development, and over the years, has partnered with numerous universities and institutions to provide quality professional development impacting thousands of teachers and students nationwide.
THE MAKING SENSE OF SCIENCE TEAM
Kirsten Daehler DIRECTOR
Kirsten began her work in science education as a high school chemistry and physics teacher and department chair, delighting in her work with adolescents and her fellow science teachers. Upon joining WestEd in 1994, she served as the lead teacher developer and content expert for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Kirsten directs the Understanding Science for Teaching project and oversees the development of Making Sense of SCIENCE courses. Her goal is to transform the way teachers learn about science and the complex art of teaching. Kirsten holds a BA in chemistry from Wellesley College and an MA in secondary education from San Francisco State University.
Jennifer Folsom LEAD LEARNING ARCHITECT
Jennifer holds a BA in biology and has studied many other branches of science, environmental education, English, and anthropology. She began her career in science education in high school, conducting research in a pharmacology lab and teaching K–5 students at a neighborhood environmental education center. Since then, she has worked with numerous school districts, nonprofits, and universities to conceptualize and produce innovative science curricula for students and teachers in collaboration with scientists, teachers, and science education professors. Jennifer combines her writing skills, teaching insights, and science knowledge to develop Making Sense of SCIENCE courses with the Understanding Science for Teaching project at WestEd.
Kathy Huncosky PROFESSIONAL LEARNING SPECIALIST
Kathy has been a general K–8 educator for many years, as well as a science education specialist for the Madison Metropolitan School District. She holds a BS degree in Education and an MS degree in Curriculum and Instruction, both from UW-Madison, Wisconsin. On the Making Sense of SCIENCE team she serves as the professional learning specialist and as the Wisconsin Site Coordinator for the i3 (Investing in Innovation) grant. She loves to facilitate professional learning across the country and shares her skills in the development of the Making Sense of SCIENCE courses.
Alexander Kent PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
Alexander earned his BA with a focus in digital visual media at San Francisco State University, and has since worked as an accomplished freelance graphic designer and illustrator. He brings his artistic passion and experience to the Making Sense of SCIENCE program, providing design support for digital and printed materials. The son of two teachers, Xander is proud to apply his skills to the Making Sense of SCIENCE team and their mission to further develop science education.
Diana Mejia PROJECT ASSISTANT
Diana earned a BA in human development with a focus in early child development at Cal State East Bay. Prior education includes: AS degrees in arts and humanities, psychology, and social and behavioral sciences. As a project assistant for the Making Sense of SCIENCE team, Diana provides support with making kits, tracking production orders, supporting staff for events, and assists in most operations tasks for the MSS Team. Before joining WestEd, Diana worked in the Health Care field for over a decade in record keeping, registration, appointment scheduling, and was part of the piloting team during Kaiser Permanente's Epic release software upgrade. Diana loves learning, helping others, and tackling challenges head-on. In her free time, she enjoys travel, outdoor activities, and taking on hurdles life has to offer.
Jennifer Mendenhall SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS LEAD
Jennifer holds a BFA in communication arts from East Carolina University. On the Making Sense of SCIENCE team she pairs her love of science with her talent for design and communication. Jennifer began her career at WestEd in 2001 as the graphic designer and illustrator for the Making Sense of SCIENCE professional development series. Since then, she has become an integral contributor in shaping how complex science content is communicated. Since 2012 Jennifer has been a Making Sense of SCIENCE instructor, facilitating the learning of hundreds of teachers and staff developers from across the country.
Patrick Moyle SERVICES LEAD
Prior to joining WestEd, Patrick spent nearly a decade teaching middle school science in Fresno Unified School District. He then left the classroom to work as a Teacher on Special Assignment developing district-wide professional learning for NGSS implementation. Patrick’s main interest is in developing young science teachers and teacher leaders. To this end, he has worked for California State University, Fresno and as a mentor teacher in the Fresno Unified Teacher Residency Program. On the Making Sense of SCIENCE team, Patrick works as a Professional Learning Specialist, where he facilitates professional learning and manages MSS’s many services to states, counties, and districts across the country.
MSS has forged partnerships and collaborated with a variety of agencies, districts, and educational institutions, who share the goal of furthering science education for all teachers and students.
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Freeport McMoRan Inc.
Institute for Education Sciences
Morgan Family Foundation
National Science Foundation
S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
W. Clement & Jesse V. Stone Foundation
Discovery Place Education Studio
National Writing Project
Smithsonian Science Education Center
STEMworks Change the Equation (CTEq)
Strategic Literacy Initiative, WestEd
COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES
Northern Arizona University
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
University of Wisconsin, Madison
STATE SCIENCE NETWORKS
Mathematics and Science Partnership Program of Arizona
New Mexico Public Education Department
Southwest Regional Education Cooperative
Texas Regional Collaboratives
DISTRICT CLIENTS & PARTNERS
Alameda County Office of Education
Brentwood Union School District
Lodi Unified School District
Manteca Unified School District
Oakland Unified School District
Palo Alto Unified School District
San Joaquin County Office of Education
Stockton Unified School District
Sylvan Union School District
Turlock Unified School District
Coconino County Education Service Agency
Gila County Regional School District
Gilbert Public Schools
Peoria Unified School District
Madison Metropolitan School District
Milwaukee Public Schools
Racine Unified School District