Sara E. Tolbert


Dr. Sara Tolbert is an Associate Professor of Science Education in the Teaching, Learning, & Sociocultural Studies Department at the College of Education. Drawing from critical theory, critical feminist/feminist science theories, and critical race theories, Dr. Tolbert partners with teachers to investigate relationships among local and global justice issues, school science, community, and students’ experiences, and to understand how opportunities for justice (as “pockets of resistance”) are constituted within rigid institutional constraints. She has also collaborated on the design of new transformative models for science teacher education to improve teaching and learning for/with students historically marginalized in scientific research and science education, such as the National Science Foundation Discovery K-12 Research Project, Secondary Science Teaching with English Language & Literacy Acquisition (SSTELLA). Her work has been published in top-ranked academic journals including The Journal of Research in Science Teaching and Race, Ethnicity & Education, as well as widely disseminated practitioner journals such as Rethinking Schools and The Science Teacher. Her work has been recognized through several prestigious awards including a 2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, UA College of Education Erasmus Scholar Award, and Bright Spots for Hispanic Education, The White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics. Dr. Tolbert teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on bilingual science education, indigenous science education, and equity/social justice in math and science education. She received her Ph.D. in Education (Focus Areas: Social Contexts of Education, Science Education, Teacher Education) from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2011. Before pursuing her Ph.D., Dr. Tolbert taught and directed programs for ESOL, science and sheltered science, and sustainability education in formal and informal settings in the South Bronx, NY, Atlanta, GA, South Auckland (Papatoetoe), New Zealand, and Latin America.