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Jason A. Chen

Professor of Education

Office: 3058
Phone: (757)221-6201
Email: [[jachen]]
Areas of Expertise: Academic Motivation, Academic Engagement, Science Education, Nature of Science, Immersive Virtual Environments, Educational Technology, STEM Education


Jason A. Chen is a Professor of Educational Psychology at the William & Mary School of Education. The questions that drive his research have to do with the variety of ways that emerging technologies can be used as a tool for motivation, engagement and learning. Rather than assuming that technology is inherently motivating for students (it's not!), Jason is interested in understanding how to design learning environments (especially digital ones) to direct people’s motivation toward difficult learning tasks. Prior to arriving at W&M in 2012, Jason was a high school chemistry and physics teacher in Seattle (2001-2003) and Atlanta (2004-2006), and did a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (2010-2012).


Ph.D. in Educational Studies (Educational Psychology specialization), Emory University, 2010
M.A.T. in Secondary Science Education, Emory University, 2004
B.S. in Biology, Emory University, 1999

Activities and Honors

EAGER: Networking faculty seeds for collective change in the geosciences. National Science Foundation, Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity-Expanding the Network (GOLD-EN). 2020-2023 ($135,087 out of a $300,000 total budget). Principal Investigator.

JEDI Alliance: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Geo- and Environmental Sciences. National Science Foundation, Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES), 2020-2023 ($99,658). Principal Investigator.

W&M Bray School Faculty Fellow. Office of Strategic Cultural Partnerships at William & Mary. Academic Year 2022-2023.

Sam and Bonnie Rechter Fellowship. University of Louisville College of Business’s Project on Positive Leadership. January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.

PurpleState 2.0: Investigating the impact of a virtual internship on argumentative reading and writing in civic education. Institute of Education Sciences, Special Topics—Social Studies, Goal 2, 2019 to 2022 ($299,387 out of $1.4M total budget). Funded. Role: Co-PI (Jeremy Stoddard lead PI).

GeoDES: Geoscience Diversity Experiential Simulations. National Science Foundation, Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD), 2017 to 2019 ($196,007 out of $400,000 total budget). Role: Principal Investigator. Funded.

Gerdelman Family Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Education, William & Mary, 2018-2021.

Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence, William & Mary, 2018.

Selected Publications

Chen, J.A. (accepted). Virtual reality and educational psychology. In P. Schutz & K. Muis (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology. New York, NY: Routledge.

Chen, J. A., & Stoddard, J. D. (2020). A virtual internship to prepare high school students for civic and political action. Educational Technology Research and Development.

Chen, J. A., Tutwiler, M. S., & Jackson, J. F. L. (2020). Mixed-reality simulations to build capacity for advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the geosciences. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.

Kier, M. W., Chen, J. A. (2019). Kindling the fire: Fueling preservice science teachers’ interest to teach in high-needs schools. Science Education, 103(4), 875-899.

Chen, J. A., Star, J. R., Dede, C., & Tutwiler, M. S. (2018). Technology-rich activities: One type does not motivate all. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 54, 153–170.

Chen, J. A., Tutwiler, M. S., Metcalf, S. J., Kamarainen, A. M., Grotzer, T. A., Dede, C. J. (2016). A multi-user virtual environment to support students’ self-efficacy and interest in science: A latent growth model analysis. Learning and Instruction, 41, 11-22. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2015.09.007

Chen, J. A., & Metcalf, S. J., Tutwiler, M. S. (2014). Motivation and beliefs about the nature of scientific knowledge within an immersive virtual ecosystems environment. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39, 112-123.

Chen, J. A., & Pajares, F. (2010). Implicit theories of ability of Grade 6 science students: Relation to epistemological beliefs and academic motivation and achievement in science. Contemporary Educational Psychology,35, 75-87. [Recognized as Contemporary Educational Psychology’s 4th most highly cited article published since 2010].