Meena Balgopal Professor


Phone: (970) 491-4277



  • Ph.D., North Dakota State University
  • M.S., University of Wisconsin Madison
  • B.S. University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign


Our research group is interested in how people make meaning of natural science concepts. We explore meaning making (interpretation) and learning (storing and recalling information) by studying how people speak, read, and write about science.We conduct our work in diverse field sites: undergraduate science and engineering classrooms; K-12 classrooms; and informal science education experiences (field trips, museums, school gardens) Our research informs how science educators can support science learning. The findings will inform students so they can become: more aware of their own conceptual difficulties and be independent learners; more inclusive and productive teammates during group work; and better communicators of science. The findings will inform instructors of science so they can support: student learning through writing activities; science communication skills; and critical thinking during problem-based learning activities.  


  • A sense of belonging: The role of higher education in retaining quality STEM teachersBalgopal, MM, Weinberg, AE, Sample McMeeking, LB, Lin Hunter, DE, Wright, DSPlos One 17(8), e0272552, 2022
  • Outperforming yet undervalued: Undergraduate women in STEMBloodhart, B., Balgopal, MM, Casper, AMA, Sample McMeeking, LB, & Fischer, EVPLOS One 15(6), e0234685, 2020
  • Writing from different cultural contexts: How college students frame an environmental SSI through written argumentsBalgopal, MM, Wallace, AM, & Dahlberg, S.Journal of Research in Science Teaching 54(2), 195-218, 2017