Edna Tan

Teacher Education and Higher Education (TEHE) Department
Edna Tan TEHE

Email: e_tan@uncg.edu
Office: 402 SOE Building

Research Interest

Justice-oriented STEM teaching and learning, participatory critical ethnography, community & design-based research+practice+partnerships, critical connected learning


  • 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


Dr. Edna Tan is professor of science education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her collaborative research investigates what constitutes equitable and consequential science and engineering learning for historically underrepresented, minoritized youth across learning contexts and over time. She investigates how systemic injustice is made manifest in local practices and the related impact of such oppressive local practices on youths’ science and engineering learning experiences. Her work is also focused on understanding how youths’ experiences across science-related settings and across time can be studied and understood as holistic experiences, rather than siloed in particular formal or informal settings. Her research has been published in the American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, the Journal of the Learning Sciences, Journal of Research in Science Education, Science Education, among others.

Link to Dr. Tan’s CV


Tan, E., & Calabrese Barton, A. (2020, Early View).  Hacking a path in and through STEM: Exploring how youth build connecting pathways between STEM-related landscapes. Teachers College Record. https://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentId=23204

Calabrese Barton, A., & Tan, E. (2020, Early view). Beyond Inclusion: Equity as Establishing Rightful Presence. Educational Researcher. DOI: 10.3102/0013189X20927363

Calabrese Barton, A., Tan, E., & Birmingham, D. (2020, Early View). Equitable & Consequential Teaching & Learning: Towards Dismantling Systemic Injustices through New High Leverage Practices. Journal of Teacher Education https://doi.org/10.1177/002248711990020

Tan, E., Calabrese Barton, A., & Benavides, A. (2019). Engineering for sustainable communities: Epistemic Tools in support of Equitable and Consequential Middle School Engineering. Science Education. 103(4), 1011- 1046.

Calabrese Barton, A., & Tan, E. (2019)*. Designing for rightful presence in STEM: Community ethnography as pedagogy as an equity-oriented design approach. The Journal of Learning Sciences. DOI:  10.1080/10508406.2019.1591411,1-43.

*2019 Best Paper of the Year Award, The Journal of the Learning Sciences

Tan, E., & Calabrese Barton, A. (2018). Towards Critical Justice: Decolonization & Reinhabitation in STEM-rich making with youth from non-dominant communities. Equity & Excellence in Education, 51(1), 48-61


NSF funded AISL Project: Research in Service to Practice: Equitably Consequential Making among Youth from Historically Marginalized Communities
Award # 1392586 (PI: Angela Calabrese Barton, Co-PI: Edna Tan)

Equitably Consequential Making, a Research in Service to Practice 4-year project, focuses on understanding and designing for equity in STEM-oriented making for youth from historically underrepresented backgrounds, including recently-resettled refugee youth. Given the proliferation of makerspaces in education settings, we seek to contribute new knowledge and practice for transforming the maker culture in ways that are equitably consequential; processes and outcomes of making which: a) Deepen STEM and making knowledges & practices; b) Connect STEM-making with one’s community and with broader social issues; and c) Support transformative outcomes at the individual and community level focused on learning, becoming and doing in STEM through sustained engagement in making.

NSF funded DRK12 Project: Tools for Teaching and Learning Engineering Practices: Pathways Towards Productive Identity Development in Engineering [I-Engineering]

I-Engineering supports student identity development in engineering as a part of (not apart from) learning two core practices in engineering: 1) defining problems and 2) designing solutions. In particular, the I-Engineering framework and tools helps teachers/students to localize the engineering design process. The process of localizing engineering design as involving iterative engagement with both the technological and social dimensions of engineering design towards refining the problem constraints/specifications while exploring possible modes of solution optimization for particular people/contexts. We will ground this work in two engineering design challenges: safe/green commutes and portable energy, both of which fall under the domain of engineering for sustainable communities.

Website: engineeriam.org