Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Barbra Spector, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Eugenia Vomvordi-Ivanovic, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arthur Shapiro, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marie Bourgeois, Ph.D., MPH


Co-mentoring, constructivism, concept-mapping, emergent design, well-being


This autoethnography illustrates benefits of doctoral education consistent with the holistic paradigm underlying today’s society and development of a practice-research-practice cycle useful to science teacher educators. Emergent hypotheses indicate ways to increase a doctoral student’s well-being, intellectual risk taking, production of creative products, and expedite in-depth learning. The hypotheses were derived from the processes and pathways I used to make sense of the learning opportunities afforded me and features of my experience that led to my well-being and maintaining my enthusiasm despite the significant life challenges I encountered and the tedious parts of the doctoral process.The original research question was, “What is the impact of the learning experience in a science education doctoral program on a middle school science teacher’s professional practice?” Impact was evident in four areas of practice: As a learner, a middle school science teacher, a novice science teacher educator (teaching and researching); and as a professional from public health. Co-mentoring and emergent design constructivist teaching and learning were keys to my intellectual and psychological transformation. I documented my perceptions of events, including several culture shocks, and my emotional responses to events as they occurred. I used metacognitive and reflexive processes to reflect (revisit and record my constructed understandings). Outcomes were my occupational satisfaction, determination to be an agent of change in science education, an illustration of an emergent constructivist process to educate doctoral students, and an original teaching model, the Three-Tiered-Transformative-Classroom (TTTC) for teaching middle school science and use in teacher education.