RICHLAND, Wash. – Lindsay Lightner, a Ph.D. student in mathematics and science education and coordinator of the Alternate Route Teacher Certification program at Washington State University Tri-Cities, has received the 2018 European Science Education Research Association Summer School in Finland scholarship from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching.

Lightner is one of two recipients nationwide to receive the scholarship, and she will spend one week at the University of Jyväskylä in Jyväskylä, Finland, for an institute program that will allow her and other students to collaborate and network.

“They haven’t set the program yet, but there are groups of students that we will be assigned to work on our dissertations and receive feedback,” Lightner said. “There also will be lectures, social activities and networking opportunities.”

Lightner said she is really looking forward to the opportunity and feels privileged to receive the scholarship to cover the costs of the program.

“I’m excited to talk to people about cultures and be with so many people from so many different backgrounds,” she said. “This is a major focus of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) to be able to internationalize more. It’s neat to be able to get different perspectives that you wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Lightner’s research focuses on how pre-service teachers integrate their experiences during their education into their work and their classrooms, as well as how different cultures change learning environments.

“I’m looking at how they take their experiences and put them together with their learning from universities and make the jump to professional teaching,” she said. “I’m also looking at how different factors support pre-service teachers.”

Lightner has experience in other cultures and other educational systems, as she was a senior lecturer on the education faculty at Canterbury Christ Church University in Canterbury, England. Prior to that, she was a lecturer in the English department at Pennsylvania State University and a science and mathematics teacher at Inwood Intermediate School 52 in New York. Since 2006, she has been at WSU Tri-Cities, first working as an academic advisor in the College of Education (2006-14) College of Arts and Sciences (2009-14) and College of Agricultural Human and Natural Resource Sciences (2009-14). From 2014-16, she was the assistant director of high school programs at WSU Tri-Cities and is currently the coordinator for the Alternate Route Teacher Certification program in the College of Education. She holds a BA in geology from Carleton College and an MA from the Writing Seminars at John Hopkins University.

She said she will use the one-week institute program to help her in her dissertation.

“I’d like to get that intensive mentoring and feedback and collect data and think toward different things I can do,” she said. “I’m especially interested in getting that international perspective.”

Lightner added that she is thankful for all the support she receives from WSU.

“I’m really grateful for the mentorship and the teaching and support we’ve all gotten from WSU,” she said. “Without that support, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do or represent the university.”