Sandra Swenson
Phone number
Room number

2010   EdD       Columbia University Teachers College (Geoscience Education)
1989   EdM       Columbia University Teachers College 
1983   BS         Northeastern University (Natural Science, Science Education)


Dr. Swenson’s educational and professional experience is a culmination of 20 years of science teaching as well as 7 years of entrepreneurship running a successful desktop publishing business. Dr. Swenson was trained as a science educator (B.S.) as well as a technology educator (Ed.M) and most recently received her doctorate in geoscience education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her interest and passion are in teaching students about the Earth and how to understand the Earth using data. Her publications include a chapter in Geoscience Research: Geological Society of America Special Paper, The Journal of Chemical Education, and a web-based learning module, Earth Exploration Toolbook: Exploring Seafloor Topography. Her thesis focused on student interpretation of one specific kind of data set (topography/bathymetry maps) but, with this grant, she plans to continue further investigations into how students understand and utilize other data sets important for studying the Earth with the goal of refining her contributions to research-based pedagogy. Currently Dr. Swenson is a Lecturer of Environmental Science, Curriculum Coordinator, and Academic Advisor in the Department of Sciences at John Jay College, CUNY.

JJC Affiliations
Environmental Science Lab
Courses Taught

SCI 110 Origins: From the Big Bang to Life on Earth  Lecture and lab
SCI 112: Environmental Science: A Focus on Sustainability Lecture and lab
SCI 220: The Human Body: An Incrediable Machine
SCI 222: Ecology of the Five Boroughs

Professional Memberships

National Science Teachers Association

NAGT Geoscience Education Research Division

Natioanl Association for Research in Science Teaching

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Scholarly Work

Swenson, S.; He, Y.; Boyd, H.; Showe-Good, K.; A Design Heuristic for Analyzing and Interpreting Data.  The Journal of College Science Teaching. Sept. / Oct. 2022, Vol. 52 No. 1   A Peer-Reviewed Journal Published by the National Science Teaching Association
manuscript ID is 2020-Jun-JCST-RT-1558.R2.

He, Y., Swenson, S., Lents, N., 2012, Online Video Tutorials Increase Learning of Difficult Concepts in An Undergraduate Analytical Chemistry Course. The Journal of Chemical Education. Manuscript ID: ed 2011 - 00685p.R2

Swenson, S., and Kastens, K., 2011, Student interpretation of a global elevation map: What it is, how it was made, and what it is useful for, in Feig, A.D., and Stokes, A., eds., Qualitative Inquiry in Geoscience Education Research: Geological Society of America Special Paper 474, p. 189–211, doi:10.1130/2011.2474(13).

Earth Exploration Toolbook: Exploring Seafloor Topography

White, Mary Alice, et al (1989) Where Do Seventeen Year Olds Get Their Information – From School or Television? The History Teacher, v. 22, (3) p. 329-332\

Research Summary

2018 Society of Toxicology, 2018, Problems and Promises with Collaborative Learning in the Field in an Urban Public CollegeS. Swenson, Y. He, & H. Boyd; John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York

2013 The National Science Foundation grant award of $150,101 to The Research Foundation of CUNY, John Jay Col. of Criminal Justice for the project entitled "A Multi-tiered Approach to Undergraduate Science Learning in an Urban Public College," is under the direction of PI: Sandra S. Swenson & Co-PI: Yi He. This award is effective December 1, 2013 and expires November 30, 2015. 

2011 National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Orlando, Florida April 3 - 6. Poster Presentation: Undergraduate non-science majors' descriptions and interpretations of a scientific data visualization.

2010 Teaching Climate Change from the Geologic Record
University of Wyoming -Laramie, Wyoming, August 10 – 11,
Poster presentation: Undergraduate non-science majors’ interpretation of a 
topography/bathymetry data map.

2008 National Institute of Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) 
Bard College October 11th - 13th
Presented doctoral research at a conference on visualizations in the sciences. Member of plenary session: Invoking Visualization for Scientific Pedagogy