University of Calgary

Krista Francis

Krista Francis-PoscentePhD 2009 (University of Calgary), M.Ed. 2003 (Athabasca University), BSc 1985 (University of Alberta)

Currently, I am an Assistant Professor and the Imperial Oil Science Technology and Engineering (IOSTEM) Director for the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary. Imperial Oil provided the Faculty of Education with $2.5 million dollars over five years to improve STEM education. The IOSTEM initiative is in its first year and is already off to a great start. The project strongly links practice and research and involves children, teachers, engineers, scientists, mathematicians and researchers. Each year will host a researchers’ think tank, a summer camp for children and professional learning for teachers. No event is a ‘one of’. Each event informs and builds the next event. My role is to organize the events and ensure continuity for sustained, systemic and specialized change.

With Dr. Brent Davis’ direction, we began the IOSTEM project in July 2012 with a think tank on spatial reasoning. Brent brought an astounding team of researchers together. The think tank began a tremendous research collaboration that is ongoing and productive. This summer we are going to continue to study spatial reasoning in our think tank and a Lego robotics camp for teachers and children. See ucalgary.ca/IOSTEM for more information.

My PhD journey at the University of Calgary was a time of tremendous growth. I am very grateful for Dr. Michele Jacobsen’s supervision. Michele encouraged me to explore, stretch beyond my limits and enjoy my PhD journey. Her teaching and research mentorship continues to this day. We just had an article accepted for publication. I am sure this is the start of many more.

During my doctoral studies, I was awarded the 2006 Gallagher Galileo Research Fellowship. This fellowship took me in directions I never imagined. Dr. Sharon Friesen’s research mentorship put me on a path to research and learning that I continue on today. Sharon helped me find my heart and took me back to my love of mathematics. I continued to work with the Galileo Educational Network for the remainder of my PhD studies. I am fortunate for the learning and research opportunities afforded me at the Galileo. A highlight was the Math Fair work with Judy Martin. Judy helped me learn the craft of teaching.

I was also fortunate to work as a research assistant for Dr. E. Lisa Panayotidis. Lisa helped me find my interpretive voice. Without Lisa, I would never have stuck my head out of my positivistic box. Lisa helped me learn how to critique technology interpretively.

After graduating from my PhD, I worked at St. Mary’s University College teaching in the education program. It was a brand new program and I was the first to teach many of the second year courses. In such a small program, I really got to know the students well. I had so many amazing students; I am sure they will make a difference in their student’s world.

Earning my PhD in Educational Technology and working closely with the Galileo through a doctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary opened many doors of opportunity for me. In the Faculty of Education, I was well prepared for the teaching, learning and research required of me after graduation. My PhD journey was so wonderful, I did not want it to end. Now, I know it was just the beginning of my scholarly career.