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Li Ke wins a 2021 Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence

Li Ke, a postdoctoral research associate with the School of Education, has won a 2021 Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence.

The awards are given by the UNC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs in recognition of the research promise demonstrated by individual postdoctoral scholars. He is one of five postdocs at Carolina to win one of the awards this year.

Ke’s research centers around promoting meaningful science learning. In particular, he is interested in how teachers can support students in engaging in scientific practices such as scientific modeling in ways that are meaningful to the discipline of science, the classroom knowledge building community, and students’ everyday lives.

Ke conducts research with Troy Sadler, the School’s Thomas James Distinguished Professor of Experiential Learning. Their projects address promotion of students’ scientific literacy through modeling in the context of socio-scientific issues.

He has published eight journal articles, including three as lead author, and has written two book chapters. He’s a co-principal investigator on a $1.9 million National Science Foundation-funded project aimed at developing instructional materials using scientific modeling to teach about viral pandemics

Ke also serves as managing editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

Ke was a high school chemistry teacher in China before coming to the U.S. in 2010 to pursue his master’s and Ph.D. degrees. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his doctorate from Michigan State University, with both degrees in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in science education. His dissertation examined the use of modeling in learning about science.