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Joe Michaelis has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology – Learning Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  After six years as a science educator and FIRST robotics coach in urban middle and high schools, he returned to Madison to pursue research interests in STEM education that focus on improving STEM interest and learning through technological support. Joe's current research focuses on designing learning companion robots to work with children to support learning and interest in STEM fields.


PhD: Educational Psychology - Learning Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

MS: Science Education Leadership, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL

BS: Philosophy, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Research Interests

My research involves studying interest development and its impact on learning in STEM education, focusing on the role of learning environments, feedback, cognitive development and influence of social constructs and identities.  This work examines designing scaffolded instruction from teachers, other students, and educational technologies to best meet the needs of students at different phases of interest development.  This work is conducted in lab studies as well as in classrooms, homes, and out-of-school STEM education settings, using a mixed methods approach to data analysis via observation, interview, survey, and eye-tracking.

Research Lab Experience

Human Computer Interaction Lab

Graduate Research Assistant

PI - Bilge Mutlu

2014 - present

Mathematical Action & Gesture in Instruction and Cognition

Graduate Research Assistant

PI - Mitchell Nathan


Learning, Representations, and Technology Lab

Graduate Research Assistant 

PI - Martina Rau


National Center for Cognition and Mathematics Instruction

Graduate Research Assistant 

PI - Mitchell Nathan

2014 - 2016

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