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Get Real! Science is a community. Together, we work towards justice-centered science learning. We continually design and enact learning experiences support a community-engaged teacher learning.  Science education is realized in collaboration with community, and with an explicit focus on sustaining local culture.  Our community grows and expands every year, including more teachers, youth, researchers, families, administrators, fisher-people, farmers, movie theater owners, city animal service providers and more! A common tongue-in-cheek warning we give to newcomers is, “Once you join GRS, we don’t let you leave.” Youth who engage in our programs across years mentor our graduate students as they move through their programs!


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April Lynn Luehmann, Ph.D.  (She/Her)


Hi All! Though I am the director of Get Real! Science and the PI of the COVID Connects Us project, it is important to quickly explain what that really means. I have had the privilege of working with well over 100 graduate students, as well as more youth, practicing science teachers, community members and academic colleagues than I can count, over the past two decades in these and other projects. 


Get Real! Science is ours, not mine. COVID Connects Us is ours, not mine. 


Science STARS is ours, not mine. 


Together, I work with this diverse group of colleagues in Rochester, Sodus and across the country toward understanding and realizing social justice in diverse science learning spaces through teaching. Each and every student matters to us, most especially those whose parents and grandparents have been undervalued and under-honored through science education in the past.


We hurt for you for the damage that has been done, and we are committed to enacting personal, institutional and systemic change to both challenge and use the power of science to make the world more equitable and joy-filled for all.

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Yunfan Gong (She/Her)

Hello! I am a doctoral student at Warner School of Education and a research assistant of Get Real! Science. I am interested in the design of technology enriched STEM learning environments and topics that examine inequities in digital learning.


What wakes me every morning and motivates me to start a day of work is to build a less oppressive and more equitable world for all, in which each individual is being loved and cared.


By creating optimal learning experiences for our learners and helping them recognize their agency to engage in justice centered science learning, they would understand the context around them and work towards creating a more just, sustainable, and culturally thriving world. 

Research Assistant

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Hello! I am a doctoral student at Warner, STEM educator, and former mechanical engineer. I’m researching how to create learning environments where students feel comfortable trying new things, particularly in STEM. I became an engineer partially because I have wonderful parents who supported my interests and two amazing teachers (Ms. Michaels and Mr. Redding) who cultivated my love of math even if my grades weren’t the best. Like them, I want to encourage students’ curiosity about STEM. I want everyone to know that science and math are tools that you can use however you want!

Danielle Daniels (She/Her)

Research Assistant

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Hey there, friends! Your favorite Chicago native Sher Bear here. I’m a jack of all trades, but a master of none. I am a PhD candidate in the teaching and curriculum program at Warner, a researcher with Get Real! Science, I run a program for sustainability, and I teach at a local community college. My real interests are in social justice. My research is focused on mentoring relationships and how they can help lead to liberation for minoritized youth who are often living through negative stereotypes of who they are and who they can be. Before I came to Rochester, I worked at a non-profit focused in workforce development and created and led a GED tutoring program. That work inspired me to pursue a degree in education to try to make schools safe for all minoritized individuals. Don’t ever forget that you’re doing great, friend!

Sherin George

Research Assistant

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Gena Merliss (She/Her)

Hi! As a doctoral student in Teaching and Curriculum, I am lucky to be on the Get Real! Science team, where I feel like I am a part of a movement to improve science teaching. I have always been drawn to innovative teaching and schools (I have taught middle and high school science) and ongoing professional development (now I lead the Teaching and Creativity Center at Monroe Community College). So, my work supporting the COVIDXUS project feels exciting because it uses the strong GRS network to develop new understandings about teaching practices that are both ambitious and justice-centered. I love being in the room with anyone who is learning – and we are all in the process of learning together: researchers, teachers, and kids.

My own interests lie in supporting preservice teachers as they work to develop those ambitious and justice-centered teaching practices. Learning to teach is hard, but also beautiful and fulfilling.

Research Assistant

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Hi friends! As a doctoral student in Human Development at the Warner School at The University of Rochester, I get to surround myself with people who are ambitious in creating a more just and equitable world. Through Get Real! Science, I get to support the COVIDxUs project as we seek to excavate the expertise and knowledge of students and teachers to create equitable learning environments.


As I study empathy, self-reflection, and peace-making, I am searching for the tools and traits that everyday people exemplify in living well together and working towards a more human, more whole world. With a background in pastoral ministry, non-profits, and higher education student development, I have had the privilege of seeing firsthand the unique experience of each person’s story and to partner with individuals on their journey’s to a flourishing self and a flourishing community.

Kyle Sullivan (He/Him)

Research Assistant

Eve Tulbert

Hello!  I’m an instructional designer and educational researcher with an interest in sustainability and STEM workforce development.


What does the safe, green campus of the future look like to you? I want to learn more about how students and school leaders can work together to create sustainable campus environments with real-world work connections.


I join the Get Real! Science team with the ambition of designing new strategies for justice-centered STEM education in our communities, our country, and our world!

Eve Tulbert (She/Her)

Researcher /

Communications Coordinator

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Yang Zhang (She/Her)

Research Assistant

Hi there! I’m a former classroom teacher teaching in a rural school in China and currently a PhD candidate at Warner School of Education. My research interest falls into science teachers’, especially preservice teachers’ professional identity development regarding their becoming of justice-centered science educators. It is a long story of how I got to the place where I am now.


All I have to say is that I was lucky enough to work with around 200 kids in my early 20s, who taught me to become a fighter for the ones I loved and who were the reason why I started working on equitable science education; I was lucky enough to have a group of wonderful former colleagues from whom I learned how to be humble and realized that teachers came into this profession with a desire to make a change but they needed support to sustain this commitment; and I was lucky enough to join Get Real! Science as a research assistant in the first place and then it constantly nurtured my identity as a justice-oriented educator and educational researcher.

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