Hillary Swanson

Hillary Swanson

Research Assistant Professor


Hillary Swanson is a research assistant professor of Learning Sciences in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. She holds a PhD in Science and Mathematics Education from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA in Physics from Colorado College. She taught high school physics, chemistry, and math for six years before transitioning to research. Broadly, her work explores how students’ everyday thinking can play a productive role in their science learning. More specifically, she investigates how classroom instruction can be designed to meaningfully engage students in scientific theory building in order to help them refine their thinking and develop theory-building competencies. In a related strand of research, Dr. Swanson investigates students’ joint development of scientific knowledge and computational thinking practices through engagement in computationally-rich science curriculum. 

Curriculum Vitae

Adobe Acrobat PDF View Hillary Swanson's CV.



Year Degree Institution
2015 PhD, Science and Mathematics Education University of California at Berkeley
2002 BA, Physics Colorado College


Year Title Source Period Amount Status
2019 Building Theories of Scientific Phenomena: Comparing and Integrating Aggregate Pattern-based and Agent-based Computational Approaches National Science Foundation 2019 - 2022 $1,642,149 Funded
PI: Wilensky, Uri   Sherin, Bruce   Swanson, Hillary   

Research Interests

Science education, the nature of scientific theory building, the role of intuitive knowledge in conceptual change, constructivist instruction and constructionist learning environments, computational thinking

Last Updated: 2019-05-24 11:13:35