Tammy Long, P.I.

I earned my Ph.D. at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for work that examined how carbon enrichment redirects plants’ allocation of resources to growth, reproduction and defense.  In my postdoctoral work, I extended this line of inquiry below-ground to explore how soil microbial communities respond to plants’ carbon surplus when grown in carbon-enriched atmospheres. After coming to MSU, my research interests have shifted toward questions that provide insights into how students develop conceptual understanding in biology.  I am especially interested in the barriers and benefits that accompany learning and reasoning with visual information.


Caleb Trujillo 

I am a Research Associate in the Long lab. My research seeks to identify the components indicative of  “systems thinking” and to understand how undergraduate life science students develop systems thinking. I received my PhD in biology from Purdue University where I modeled the components biologists use to explain molecular and cellular mechanisms and taught students to explain with the model.


Steve Bennett

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Teacher Education where I am interested in improving student learning in lab-based biology courses for non-science majors. My research focuses on the science practice of constructing scientific explanations and how best to improve student performance in this area. I joined the Long Lab in the fall of 2014 and will be researching student reasoning and how students construct and revise models.

Mitch Distin

I am a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Neuroscience with an additional major in Psychology. I am pursuing a career in academia with hopes of being an Evolutionary Neurobiologist. I have an affinity for understanding and sculpting the public perception of biological principles, predominantly evolution. I am also an E-board member of the MSU Neuroscience club.

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Seth Hunt

I’m currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Zoology where I’m studying the effects of nutrients on dissolved oxygen cycling in Michigan rivers. I’ve been working with the Long lab for the past couple of years where I’ve been exploring how students’ responses as both model and essay formats compare. In addition, I’ve been looking at students’ preferences for response formats and the reasoning behind their preferences.

Noah Julyk

I am a Junior at Michigan State University studying towards a degree in Microbiology, and afterward a career in Clinical or Research Immunology. I have been working as a Resident Assistant from 2013 to the present and have most recently joined the Long Lab in 2015. I hope to research and learn how students are learning and comprehending Biological topics. Aside from working in the Long Laboratory, I am the president of the MSU longboard club, and the vice president of the MSU Fossil Free coalition.  


Katelyn Klinesteker

I am a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Physiology with a minor in Nutritional Science, pursuing a career in medicine. I joined the lab in Spring 2014 and my research interests include, but are not limited to, identifying which aspects of genetic structures are the most misunderstood for students and why. Outside of the lab, I am a Neighborhood Host (student supervisor) for the MSU REHS Outreach office, a Volunteer Coordinator for Sparrow Hospital, and an E-board member of the MSU Sailing club!


Molly McNamee

I am a senior at MSU and I am majoring in Human Biology. I am currently developing a research project centered around student misconceptions as presented in their drawings and models of various biological processes. I have a passion for teaching biology and for trying to understand what makes students think a certain way about biological concepts.

Hannah Rose

I am Junior at Michigan State University majoring in Microbiology while also pursuing a career in medicine. I joined the Long Lab the spring semester of 2015, hoping to better understand how students learn and understand introductory Biology concepts, as well as trying to learn the best way to teach and present these topics. Outside of the lab, I am involved in the Pre-Medical Association and also a part of another research lab in the Kinesiology department. 


Etiowo Usoro

I am a recent graduate from Michigan State University where I obtained a Bachelors of Science in Physiology. In the Long Lab, I have worked with analyzing the content of students’ biological models as well as the relationship between the models with other types of assessments. In 2013, I presented some of my research about model trends at the annual MSU UURAF conference which can be seen here. I am currently researching the comparison of student biological models versus student essays.


Patrycja Zdziarska

I am currently working as a lab manager in the Long lab. My interests are in information visualizations such as concept maps and how they can be used to bolster students’ ability to make sense of information. Recently, I have also been exploring the connections between students’ studying strategies and their performance on exams that require critical thinking. I graduated from MSU in 2014 with a BS in cognitive psychology.