Edna Tan

Teacher Education and Higher Education (TEHE) Department 
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Associate Professor
Email: e_tan@uncg.edu
Office: 402 SOE Building

Research Interest

Empowering science education, Critical science literacy, Critical science agency, Identity work, Equity, Critical ethnography, Design-based research, Formal-informal science connections


  • Ph.D. in Science Education, Columbia University in the City of New York, February 2007 (Title of dissertation: Latina girls’ identities-in-practice in 6th grade science)
  • Masters in Science Education, Ed.M., Teachers College, Columbia University, May 2003
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Education, Nanyang Technological University, National institute of Education, August 1998
  • Bachelor of Science Honors (second division upper), National University of Singapore, School of Biological Sciences, July 1997


Edna Tan is an Associate Professor of Science Education. She takes a critical, sociocultural approach in her work with minoritized youth and science teachers across in/formal settings. She focuses on how minoritized youth can be empowered in their STEM engagement and how such modes of empowerment, understood in terms of youths’ identity work in STEM and critical agency, can be mobilized across STEM-infused settings to position minoritized youth as capable and valuable members in STEM. Her current collaborative projects include working with minoritized youth in community-based makerspace settings at the Boys and Girls club and at a refugee-residential community center.

Link to Dr. Tan’s CV


Calabrese Barton, A., Tan, E., & O’Neill, T. (2014). Science Education in the Urban Context: New Conceptual Tools and Stories of Possibilities. In Lederman, N., &
Abell, S. (Eds.), Handbook of Research in Science Education. (pp. 246-265) Routledge: New York.

Tan, E., Calabrese Barton, A., Kang, H., & O’Neil, T. (2013). Desiring a career in STEM fields: Girls’ Narrated and Embodied Identities-in-practice. Journal of Research in Science Education, 50(10), 1143-1179.

Tan, E. (2013). Just like my nanny: Troubling teacher’s social identity in the science classroom. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 8(2), 361-365.

Calabrese Barton, A., Kang, H., Tan, E., O’Neill, T., & Brecklin, C. (2013). Urban Girls Identity Trajectories through the Participation between Figured Worlds. American Educational Research Journal, 50(1), 37-75

Tan, E., & Calabrese Barton, with Turner, E., & Gutierrez, M. (2012). Empowering science and math in urban communities: Creating hybrid spaces for meaningful learning. University of Chicago Press.

Tan, E., & Faircloth, B. (forthcoming). I come because I make toys: Examining nodes of criticality in an afterschool STEM club with refugee youth. In Marx, S. (Ed.) Qualitative Research in STEM. Routledge.