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Bilingual Math Education Research Assistant with the PhET Interactive Simulations project

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The PhET Interactive Simulations project ( at University of Colorado Boulder has an opening for a part-time Bilingual Mathematics Education Researcher to assist with a new project focused on emerging bilingual students in K–1 classrooms. The primary responsibility will be data collection in one or more St. Vrain Valley Schools. In particular, the successful candidate will regularly observe and record K–1 math lessons and will conduct interviews with K–1 students to investigate their mathematical thinking. Since the students are emerging bilingual (English–Spanish) or multilingual speakers, fluency in both English and Spanish is necessary. Relevant experience in preparation for the role would be experience teaching mathematics at the elementary level and/or experience conducting video-recorded classroom observations and interviews. The successful candidate will also need strong interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills. 

PhET’s mission is to create STEM learning tools that the whole world can enjoy using. As part of that effort, we aim to build STEM simulations that can be used by everyone. We build diversity, equity and inclusion into our work and we aim to cultivate a sense of belonging in our team.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder is a world leader in the design and use of interactive science and math simulations for advancing STEM education. The PhET team is dedicated to high-quality STEM education for all students, disseminating PhET simulations as open (free) education resources globally and pioneering approaches for making interactive content accessible to all learners. Today, PhET simulations are used more than 250 million times per year globally and translated into more than 90 languages. 

The PhET team is a passionate, creative, and productive group, including STEM education, simulation, and inclusive design experts, education researchers, software engineers, quality assurance specialists, and more. Our project is a blend of an academic research project, an outreach project, and an innovative education technology company, housed within the Department of Physics and working with diverse partners at CU Boulder and around the world. PhET’s work has received numerous international awards, including being named a 2017 WISE Awards Winner, a 2011 Tech Award Laureate, and winner of the 2014 Reimagine Education Award. 

The advertised role involves a partnership with Dr. Ian Whitacre at Florida State University, who will provide research guidance and remote supervision of data-collection activities.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

The successful applicant will join the vibrant and productive PhET team to lead a new, 3-year project funded by the WT Grant Foundation, working closely with Dr. Cathy Carter at PhET and Dr. Ian Whitacre and Florida State University, along with other PhET team members and participating teachers. The responsibilities will include:
  • Familiarize yourself with data collection procedures and protocols.
  • Plan and schedule visits to schools for data-collection purposes. This includes communication and building rapport with teachers, administrators, and other school staff.
  • Conduct video-recorded observations of math lessons in K–1 classrooms, focusing especially on aspects that are of interest for the purposes of the project.
  • Conduct video-recorded interviews to investigate the mathematical thinking of K–1 emerging bilingual students. 
  • Collect, organize, and prepare data for analysis, consistent with the IRB protocol. 
  • Participate in data analysis to the extent that time allows.
  • Communicate regularly with supervisors.

What You Should Know

  • All University of Colorado Boulder employees are required to align with the campus COVID-19 vaccine requirement. New employees must provide proof of vaccination or receive a medical or religious exemption within 30 days of employment.
  • This is a part-time (20 hours/week) position.
  • The specific start date is flexible, but we seek someone who can begin as early as mid-November or December 2022.
  • Candidates will need to live in the Boulder/Longmont/Denver area because the majority of the work will involve data collection in SVVSD schools.

What We Can Offer

The annual starting salary range for this part-time 50% appointment is $25,000-$30,000.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be Statements

Be ambitious. Be pioneering. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in a STEM discipline or in education.
  • Significant teaching and/or research experience. 
  • Experience managing and coordinating projects.
  • Fluency in both English and Spanish.

What You Will Need

  • Knowledge of the workings of public schools and classrooms, including understanding of teachers’ and students’ schedules and the priorities of school teachers and administrators.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with teachers, administrators, and other school staff.
  • Ability to communicate with young children in both English and Spanish, to establish rapport with teachers and students, and investigate students’ mathematical thinking in an interview setting. 
  • Outstanding organizational and time management skills, with the ability to coordinate, plan, and reliably conduct data collection activities at one or more SVVSD schools. 
  • Ability to work independently and within a team, including consistent and clear communication with supervisors. 
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills. 

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Masters or Ph.D. degree in STEM education, or equivalent research experience.
  • Experience teaching K–1 mathematics.
  • Significant personal experience conducting video-recorded classroom observations.
  • Significant personal experience conducting interviews for research purposes.
  • Experience with qualitative data analysis.
  • Knowledge of or experience using PhET simulations in STEM education.
  • Familiarity or experience with educational research, including research areas, methodologies, and data analysis approaches.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume or CV
  2. Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.
  3. Optional: Portfolio URL/ Link
  4. Optional: Official Transcripts/ Proof of Degree
  5. Application Task 1: Please answer the following questions to help us understand your experience as a researcher and/or educator:
    • If selected, what would your available start date be? 
    • Are you fluent in both English and Spanish? Please explicitly state your levels of proficiency in English and Spanish. This project involves working with emerging bilingual students and their teachers. Please describe your relevant background.
    • Do you have experience teaching elementary mathematics and/or collecting data for research purposes (especially video-recorded classroom observations or interviews)? Describe your relevant experience.
If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources Department using an approved online vendor. However, if your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version (if applicable) as an optional attachment.

During the application process you will need to enter contact information for three references. We will request letters of recommendation and additional materials, if needed, as the search progresses.

Application review will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.
Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Boulder Campus Human Resources

Posting Contact Email: