Trey Smith

Trey Smith

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, Learning Sciences
Fellow, Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences

Annenberg Hall
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-0001


A PhD student in the learning sciences at Northwestern University, John F. "Trey" Smith is interested in K-12 science learning that pushes beyond traditional science education boundaries to include social, cultural, historical, political, and community contexts and questions. Smith works with Dr. Brian Reiser on the Next Generation Science Storylines ​project​ and Dr. Shirin Vossoughi on the Learning Through Youth Community Tinkering project. Smith is also a fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences (MPES) at Northwestern funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education.

Smith previously taught science, social studies, and engineering in Philadelphia public schools for seven years. In addition, he taught secondary science education methods and foundations in education courses at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education in the Urban Teacher Master's & Certification Program. As a teacher consultant with the Philadelphia Writing Project and in partnership with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, he co-led a two-year, $60,000 grant from the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and the National Writing Project (NWP) to create an afterschool program for middle school students that integrates gaming, science, and literacy.

Smith served as a 2014-15 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. As a member of Senator Gillibrand’s (NY) legislative team, he helped secure bipartisan amendments to the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2016 related to engineering and computer science education, career and technical education, and teacher professional development. The following year, the Library of Congress selected Smith to be its first-ever Science Teacher-in-Residence. In his role at the Library he explored teaching and learning with historical primary sources in science and engineering classrooms.

Smith has a BA in communication studies and a BA in political science from Louisiana State University, and an MSEd in secondary science education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Twitter: @jftrey @jftrey

Curriculum Vitae

Adobe Acrobat PDF View Trey Smith's CV.


  • 2017 - Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences (MPES) Fellow, Northwestern University
  • 2016 - Emerging Leader, ASCD
  • 2015 - Science Teacher in Residence, Library of Congress
  • 2014 - Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, US Department of Energy
  • 2014 - Teacher as Hero Award, National Liberty Museum
  • 2014 - Philadelphia Social Innovations Lab Fellow, Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2007 - June Martin and Walter Rudd Outstanding Undergraduate Honors Thesis Award, LSU Honors College



Year Degree Institution
2009 MSEd, Secondary Science Education University of Pennsylvania
2006 BA, Political Science Louisiana State University
2006 BA, Communication Studies Louisiana State University

Selected Presentations

Smith, J. F., & Reiser, B. J. (March, 2018). "I'm just saying that's the question I have": Co-constructing investigations in a fifth-grade classroom. Paper to be presented at National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST). Atlanta, GA.

Symposia and Workshops

Year Description
2017 Summer teacher institute: Teaching science, technology, and engineering with primary sources. Workshop with M. Appfeldorf & C. Lederle. Library of Congress, Washington, DC, July 2017.

2017 Teaching science and engineering with historical primary sources: Opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning. National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) area conference, Milwaukee, WI, November 2017.

2017 Technology's impact on American history. Workshop with W. B. Carlson & C. Szwajkowski. Council for History Education (NCHE) -Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program. Hosted by US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Alexandria, VA, March 2017.

2017 Unpacking power, culturally sustaining pedagogies, and primary sources. Workshop for the Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, July 2017. 

2016 "Game On! Philadelphia: Engaging youth and families." Panel with S. Fecher, R. Houston, & A. Krish at the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums annual meeting, Wilmington, DE, October 2016.

2016 "Sound thinking!: Engineering invention and innovation with middle school youth." Workshop with A. Reimers at the Frontiers in Education conference, Erie, PA, October 2016.

Research Interests

Teachers' uses and adaptations of reform-based science curricula; teacher education and professional learning; learning in formal and informal education spaces; teaching and learning with historical primary sources in science classrooms; argumentation within and across disciplines and contexts


Professional Service

Year Organization Position Description
2017 - 2018 Science in the Classroom Advisory Board Member Provide advice to Science in the Classroom staff on NSF-funded project that annotates research papers published in AAAS's Science magazine to support college and secondary students in learning about scientific writing (currently active)
2017 National Writing Project (NWP) LRNG Grant Reviewer Reviewed and offered recommendations for funding grant proposals
2017 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Literacy Grant Review Panelist Reviewed and offered recommendations for funding grant proposals
2017 - 2018 Learning Sciences Graduate Student Conference Committee Member Co-plan graduate student-led conference and maintain conference website (currently active)
2017 Barat Education Foundation & Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) Curriculum Reviewer Review and provide feedback on K-12 math and science curricular units that integrate primary sources and civics education goals
2017 - 2018 American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Teacher Advisory Group Member Review and provide feedback on organization's physics teacher leadership framework and programming (currently active)
2016 - 2018 Philadelphia Writing Project Advisory Board Member Provide guidance on design of communication materials, programs for teacher learning (currently active)

Last Updated: 2018-01-22 09:10:37