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Professional Research Associate in Inclusive Simulation Research in STEM Education

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Job Summary

The PhET Interactive Simulations Project ( at the University of Colorado Boulder has an opening for a Research Associate (experienced postdoc or early researcher) position with a focus on research involving multimodal interface features and their use by students with and without disabilities. The PhET Team designs and develops interactive simulations for teaching and learning science and mathematics with supporting professional development materials and makes all of these resources available for free to educators and students around the world. Research at the K-12 and college levels is a major component of the PhET project and focuses on understanding aspects of design and use that lead to increases in student engagement and learning. This particular position is part of PhET’s initiative to expand the multimodal features set of the interactive simulations.

Who We Are

The successful candidate will work at the University of Colorado Boulder which is a national leader in STEM education with over 50 campus programs addressing STEM education and the Center for Science Learning. The candidate will join the PhET Interactive Simulation project's growing team of 20+ full and part-time faculty, researchers, teachers, software developers, and staff. More information on PhET can be found at:

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

The successful applicant will join the vibrant and productive PhET team. Their responsibilities will grow as the applicant becomes familiar with the project, to include:
  • Design accessibility features (as part of a 3- to 5-person team) into existing PhET HTML5 simulations.
    • (Note: The PhET project has a team of professional software developers that will implement accessibility features in the simulations. Software programming skills are not required, though knowledge of basic coding principles is a plus – see description of desirable qualifications below.)
  • Lead research efforts - collect and analyze data of students using simulations, including interview, classroom-based or informal learning research studies, 
    • e.g., develop connections and collaborations with teachers, conduct classroom observations, etc.
  • Write research manuscripts (including collaborating on, plan, outline, draft, and edit manuscript content) and attend and present at research conferences.
  • Mentor graduate student researchers, support the onboarding of new team members to the PhET project, collaborate with software developers on prototypes for deployment within studies.
  • Conduct user-testing of simulation use through interviews of students with and without disabilities.
  • Serve as a PhET project liaison to the multimodal technology, accessibility, accessible technology, education research, and STEM and Special Education teacher communities.
  • Assist with dissemination of the PhET project’s resources to the accessibility and teacher communities, which may include: 
    • creating teacher supporting materials for the PhET website; developing and representing PhET in online forums and resources; running exhibit booths at national and local conferences; and/or assisting with teacher workshops.

What You Should Know

The start date is flexible. We will consider start dates as early as September 3, 2019 and as late as May 15, 2020, with a preference for an early start date. 


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 Collaborative. Be Engaged. Be Boulder.

What We Require

by Dec 31, 2019 (minimally, all degree requirements must be met if the degree has not yet been conferred by the deadline).

  • Ph.D. in Human Computer Interaction, Human-centered Computing or a closely related field
  • Ph.D. in Physics, Physics Education, Chemistry, Chemistry Education or a closely related field, with a strong interest and background in science education
  • Ed.D (with a strong science or mathematics background) in Science Education or Special Education or closely related field, or a
  • Ph.D. in Educational Psychology or a closely related field
  • M. Des. (with a strong science or mathematics background) emphasizing inclusive design, educational design, and/or emerging technologies
Have experience conducting research in formal or informal K-12 learning environments. 

What You Will Need

  • Highly organized, and attentive to details.
  • Proficient with common workplace software (e.g., spreadsheets and word processing) and open to rapidly learning new applications (e.g., Slack, Github).
  • Excellent technical writing and presentation skills.
  • Excellent professional and workplace communication skills (e.g., email). 
  • Is highly capable of advancing multiple projects with overlapping deadlines, and able to complete projects in a timely manner.
  • Can, with reasonable accuracy, estimate time to complete tasks (e.g., drafting a manuscript, designing an interview protocol, etc.).

What We Would Like You To Have

While not required, any of the following qualifications are highly desirable:
  • Experience conducting research involving students with disabilities or students from other underrepresented groups, and/or their teachers.
  • Experience with assistive technology (e.g., alternative input devices, screen reader software, etc.).
  • Knowledge of the semantic use of HTML and the main principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines by the World Wide Web Consortium.
  • An undergraduate degree in a STEM discipline (e.g., physics, mathematics, computer science, etc.).
  • Familiarity with PhET simulations and their use in learning environments.
  • Demonstrated interest in language (e.g., multilingual, linguistics, natural language processing, etc.), sound (e.g., playing an instrument, sonification, etc.), haptics (force-applying devices), or research at the interface of technology and tangible lab activities.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume/CV
  2. Cover Letter
  3. List of 2 References
This position will remain open until 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:

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.