Our Team


Robb Lindgren is a Learning Scientist and Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at UIUC. He also has affiliate appointments in Educational Psychology, Informatics, and the Beckman Institute. Dr. Lindgren’s research examines theories and designs for learning within emerging media platforms (e.g., simulations, virtual environments, mobile devices, video games, augmented and mixed reality, etc.). He seeks to understand how digital technologies can be used to construct new identities and generate new perspectives that lead to stronger comprehension of complex ideas, particularly in STEM content areas. On the GRASP project Dr. Lindgren oversees the research design and manages the data analysis effort focused on identifying core mechanisms of embodied learning and reasoning in several critical areas of science.


David Brown is an Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction at UIUC and is a co-Investigator on the GRASP Project. Dr. Brown’s research focuses on the dynamics of instructional interactions in science. This research focus is informed by a complex dynamic systems perspective on the various dynamics involved with instructional interactions, including social, affective, and particularly conceptual dynamics. Instructional contexts include classroom instruction, tutoring, and technology assisted instruction. A current focus draws on this theoretical perspective in the design of online instructional environments. On the GRASP project Dr. Brown brings expertise in student learning of conceptually challenging science ideas to the design of the simulation learning environments and the analysis of data from these learning environments.


Nathan Kimball is a co-Investigator on the GRASP Project and a developer and researcher at Concord Consortium, in Concord, MA. For over 25 years he has worked in the field of educational technology, developing software tools and curricula for inquiry science for students in kindergarten through college. He has a science background in both physical and earth science. His two special research interests are the role of experimentation, data collection, and dialog in scientific sense-making, and the effective design, context, and interpretation of computer simulations in educational settings, with emphasis currently on early elementary students. On the GRASP project, Mr. Kimball manages the software development of the simulations used in the project and the design of the gesture-based control of the simulations.


Jina Kang is a postdoctoral research associate in the department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Educational Technologies from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds a M.S. and a Bachelor’s in Astronomy and Space Science. Prior to joining UIUC, her scholarly contributions focused upon learning analytics in diverse learning environments for P-16 contexts coupled with extensive experience developing a game-based learning and a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) environment. Her current research interest is to understand captured data in innovative learning environments, develop an analytical model by discovering hidden primary factors that indicate students’ diverse behaviors in cognitive processes, and ultimately facilitate personalized learning and teaching.


Rob Wallon is a graduate research assistant who brings his perspective as a former high school biology teacher to his pursuit of a doctoral degree in Curriculum & Instruction at UIUC, expected May 2019. His research interest is the use of educational technologies for science learning. He is currently researching how digital simulations are used in secondary science education.


Nitasha Mathayas is a graduate research assistant who has worked previously as a science content developer and consultant with several elementary and middle schools in India. She has also taught in an elementary school. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at UIUC and her research interests include science education, digital learning environments, and collaboration. She has recently presented a paper at NARST (National Association for Research in Science Teacher) 2016.


Shelana Martin is an undergraduate student majoring in Learning Educational Studies with a concentration in Digital Environments for Learning Teaching Agency, is minoring in Informatics or information technology, and is a Gates Millennium Scholar.