Our Mission

The Department of Science Education at California State University, Chico is committed to providing the North State with the highest quality science education for all learners, programs for teacher subject matter preparation and professional development, and research on teaching and learning to promote scientific appreciation and understanding.

Faculty and Staff


Leslie Atkins
Leslie Atkins
Joint Appt: Physics

Leslie J. Atkins, PhD (University of Maryland, 2004) is an award-winning associate professor in the departments of physics and science education. She was selected for Professional Achievement Honors in 2011-12 and given an Exemplary Online Instruction Award in 2010. Her professional interests lie in the design of learning environments that better reflect the creative, knowledge-building communities that characterize scientific research. Her students love her: “Leslie is the queen of analogies. She explains physics in a way everyone can understand and makes science seem easy.”

Julie Monet

Julie Monet
Joint Appt: GEOS

Julie Monet earned her Ed.D. in Science Education from Rutgers University, an M.S. in Applied Geosciences from San Francisco State University, and her B.S. in Geology from Sonoma State University. Since arriving on the CSU Chico campus she has held a joint position in both the Geological and Environmental Sciences Department and the Department of Science Education. She has served as the director for the Master’s in Science Teaching Program, and is highly regarded in her efforts to promote science learning in informal learning environments through her collaboration with the Gateway Science Museum. Dr. Monet’s research interests are in pedagogical and content knowledge preparation of teachers; Geoscience education research and metacognition. 

Lecturers and Lab Instructors

Tanya HeastonTanya Heaston

Tanya Heaston, MA (CSU, Chico) is lecturer in science education and coordinator of the Hands-On Lab at Chico State University. A graduate of the MiST Program, Heaston teaches and directs all activities associated with the Hands-On Lab which is the capstone experience in science for all liberal studies majors and introduces other students to the science teaching profession.

Chrystal MesserschmidtChristl Messerschmidt

Christl Messerschmidt-Yates received her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and her Master’s degree in Education from CSU, Chico. Making a positive difference in her students’ education through her teaching is Christl’s passion. After being an elementary teacher for 31 years, she was invited to join the Tri-Placement Program in the Professional Studies in Education Department at CSU, Chico, as a Distinguished Teacher in Residence. Christl was also able to share her love of teaching and its pedagogy when she worked with K-5th grade teachers as a consultant focused on science and literacy emphasizing English language development and coached 3rd -8th grade teachers in lesson study. Since the Fall of 2010, Christl has been lecturing for the Department of Science Education working with Liberal Studies students. She is excited to work with these future teacher candidates hoping to spark their passion for teaching science in their classrooms making a positive difference in their students’ education.

Jeremy MillerJeremy Miller

Jeremy Miller holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England and is a credentialed High School Biology Teacher. He has served as an 8th grade classroom science teacher and has held positions as an outdoor educator, curriculum designer, and lead teacher at outdoor science schools in Colorado, California, Oregon, New York and Switzerland. Jeremy enjoys gardening, backpacking, creek-walking, chicken raising, bike-commuting, blackberry picking, writing and singing nonsense songs with his two daughters.


Barbara Paquin

Having worked at CSU, Chico since 1989, Barbara joined the Department of Science Education in January 2014 as Administrative Support Coordinator, and is responsible for the day-to-day operations for the Department.