When Dr. Jason A. Chen was looking for places to begin his academic career, he wanted to find a university that put a heavy emphasis on undergraduate teaching, but also highly valued cutting edge research. At William and Mary he has found a nice synergy between research and teaching. He wanted to teach undergraduates in an intimate setting and do great research in STEM. "It's exactly what I wanted!" said Dr. Chen.
As an undergrad himself, Dr. Chen studied as a pre-med student, but in his sophomore year took a distribution requirement – American Education - and loved it. He added education as a second major and by the time he graduated had an equal desire to be a doctor and an educator. He taught high school chemistry and physics for five years in Seattle, WA and in Atlanta, GA. and then decided to pursue a doctorate in education.
His research interests center around students' motivation in science and mathematics, as well as their implicit beliefs about what scientific knowledge is. Before arriving in Williamsburg, he earned his doctorate at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and then went on to do a postdoctoral research fellowship at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. During his time at Harvard, Jason led a research group in developing innovative technology activities for adolescents to bolster or support their motivation in mathematics. These technologies included a 3-dimensional game-like virtual world and a web-based learning module. The overarching question that Jason and his team hope to answer is, "which types of technology activities work for which types of students under which types of conditions?"
Jason is also the recipient of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Early Career Award for Division 15 (Educational Psychology). This award will fund his research efforts in developing an innovative technology-based virtual environment for assessing students' motivation and their beliefs about scientific knowledge.
As a former bench scientist and high school chemistry and physics teacher, Jason is passionate about issues related to students' self-beliefs in science and mathematics. And although very excited about the great potential that innovative technologies hold, he also maintains a healthy level of skepticism. Jason is excited about working with a diverse group of faculty and students.
Dr. Chen has adjusted quickly to Williamsburg life and is pleased with how little time it takes to get places. Having lived in Atlanta he is used to the warm summers of the south. He and his wife find Williamsburg to be a charming place to live and are looking forward to rearing their daughters, ages 4 and 1 here.