Student Profile: Ron Rinehart

Ron Rinehart, Ph.D. student at the Graduate School of Education (GSE), wanted to become a chemistry teacher while a freshman studying natural resources at Oregon State University. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he stayed at Oregon State to pursue a master’s degree in geography and took a position as a graduate research fellow at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) where he engaged in educational outreach. During his fellowship, Ron introduced K-8 students to science projects such as a high-altitude balloon launch where they observed the effects of extreme temperatures and ultraviolet radiation.

After earning his Master’s degree, Ron moved to Florida and became a middle school science teacher. During that time, Ron began to explore how students learn science and how science teachers can become better educators. With this in mind, he began exploring Ph.D. programs.  “I want to give back and help the next generation of science teachers become better.” Ron decided to pursue his Ph.D. at the GSE after meeting with Dr. Clark Chinn and Dr. Ravit Duncan.

Ron’s research focuses on working with teachers to develop innovative techniques for collaborative learning through inquiry. “I find the experience very fulfilling. I see a lot of growth in the students, the teachers, and even in us as researchers.” His research is primarily classroom-based, enabling him to be fully involved within the classroom community, collaborating with teachers to help students.

Ron does not hesitate to express his high interest in both academia and teaching; however he strives toward a career in research, hoping one day his work will provide relevant, current information for teachers, educators, and administrators.

Ron’s enthusiasm for learning, research, and collaboration is contagious as he encourages others to find their own passion and continue pushing the boundaries towards innovation. He is a firm believer in not only keeping up with one’s own research, but also communicating with other researchers for feedback and support. He encourages prospective doctoral students to find their passion and embrace it through their academic career.

To learn more about Ph.D. programs at the GSE, click here