Katherine P. Dabney, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning

Katherine P. Dabney, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D. in science education, University of Virginia
  • M.T. in elementary education, University of Virginia
  • B.S. in psychology, Colorado State University

Research interests

Formal and informal educational experiences that influence achievement, literacy and eventually persistence in science-related career fields, especially among underrepresented groups in STEM

Career highlights

  • VCU principal investigator from 2018-2023 for Impacts of STEM Experiences on Informal STEM Learning. This funded National Science Foundation AISL grant will undertake a longitudinal mixed-methods approach of Out of School Time/informal STEM experiences over a five-year time span of data collection for youth ages 9-19 in urban, suburban, town, and rural communities (NSF DRL 1811265, DRL).
  • Served on the advisory board from 2012-2017 for grant development and implementation, which examines the extent to which informal STEP activities that target pre-college students influence career aspirations, for the Outreach Programs and Science Career Intentions (OPSCI), a National Science Foundation STEP grant (NSF DUE 1161052, STEP).
  • Received the first VCU School of Education Presentations to Publications Award in 2014 and Distinguished Junior Faculty Award in 2017.
  • VCU principal investigator from 2014-2016 for Project Exploring Longitudinal Research on Out-of-school Time Experiences in STEM (EXPLORE). Project EXPLORE is a National Science Foundation AISL grant funded to design and implement a large-scale, multi-programmatic, longitudinal study of the United States' and United Kingdom's informal science learning programs (NSF DRL 1451275, AISL).

Recent publications/projects


Dr. Katherine P. Dabney teaches courses in science methods to pre-service elementary teachers. Her teaching interests include a focus on helping pre-service teachers plan and develop methods to foster interest, engage students and prepare effective lessons within the field of early science education.

Before joining the faculty at VCU, Dabney was an elementary school teacher in Albemarle County Public Schools and a GED instructor in the Charlottesville City Schools. These teaching experiences inspired Dabney to pursue and graduate with a Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Virginia.

At VCU since 2012, Dr. Dabney is involved in grant-funded research, supervision and mentoring of master’s and doctoral students, and production and dissemination of STEM education research with her research group, the VCU Early Science Education Research Lab. More recently, Dabney had Project EXPLORE, a National Science Foundation Advancing Informal Science Learning grant, funded as a subcontract principal investigator in collaboration with the University of Virginia.

For more information about Dabney and the VCU Early Science Education Research Lab, please visit her website.

Curriculum Vitae

(804) 828-1305 [main number for Department of Teaching and Learning]