Dr. Kathryn "Katie" Stofer

Research Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education and Communication

Katie Stofer focuses on researching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, especially in free-choice or informal education and outreach settings, with an emphasis on making STEM evident in agricultural education. Stofer's primary interests center on how the public gathers, makes meaning from and uses current scientific research findings, and how that use relates to their science identities. In particular, she examines science communication using visualizations of data and models.

Stofer collaborates with scientists doing basic research to help them design innovative outreach projects around their work. She is interested in turning her research into practice by helping scientists and formal and informal educators improve their outreach.  

A lifelong love of learning, especially in museums and out-of-school activities has ultimately shaped her career. After growing up in Texas, Stofer has enjoyed moving around the country as part of her studies and work. Her original interests in neuroscience led her from her undergraduate degree in California to researching brain activity using fMRI in San Antonio.

Stofer moved to Boston to pursue science journalism and began working in outreach at the Museum of Science there. She spent two years as a video news release producer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center outside of Washington, DC, and then moved to full-time education and outreach at the Maryland Science Center, managing an exhibit on Earth Science news. It was there that she began educational research and evaluation in the museum setting.

Stofer's doctoral work ultimately brought her interests in research, education and communication together and set up her long-term research agenda at the University of Florida.

Recent Publications

  • Stofer, K. A. (accepted). When a picture isn’t worth 1000 words: Learners Struggle to Make Meaning from Data Visualizations. To appear in Journal of Geoscience Education.

  • Anthony, L., Stofer, K.A., Luc, A., Wobbrock, J. O. (2016). Gestures by Children and Adults on Touch Tables and Touch Walls in a Public Science Center. IDC '16: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children.

  • Vitone, T.,* Stofer, K.*, Steininger, S., Hulcr, J., Dunn, R. & Lucky, A.* (2016). School of Ants goes to college: Integrating citizen science into the general education classroom increases engagement with science. Journal of Science Communication. 15 (1), A03.

  • Chumbley, S. B.*, Haynes, J. C.*, & Stofer, K. A.* (2015). A Measure of Students' Motivation to Learn Science through Agricultural STEM Emphasis. Journal of Agricultural Education. 56(4). 107-122. doi: 10.5032/jae.2015.04107

  • Stofer, K. A. (2015). Connecting to agriculture in science centers to address challenges of feeding a growing population. Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. 7 (2), 77-86.

  • Stofer, K. (2015). Informal, Non(-)formal, or Free-choice Education and Learning? Toward a Common Terminology for Agriscience and Ag-STEM Educators. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension.!current-issue/c1bb7 

Awards & Honors

  • 2016 Outstanding Article, Journal of Geoscience Education. When a Picture isn’t Worth 1000 Words: Learners Struggle to Find Meaning in Data Visualizations
  • 2015-16 eXtension Citizen Science Fellow
  • 2014 Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel
  • 2014 Jhumki Basu Equity Scholars Award, National Association for Research in Science Teaching 
  • 2012 Hatfield Marine Science Center Markham Symposium, Best Poster
  • 2012 Curtis and Isabella Holt Marine Education Award, Hatfield Marine Science Center
  • 2011 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, Honorable Mention

Research Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education and Communication