Meet the LabRats Team

Scientists Teaching Science

Jason Merrill, Executive Director

Something about Jason!

LabRats Team

J. Ryan Merrill, VP and Director of Education

Ryan Merrill received his Master’s Degree in Chemistry from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2015 where he conducted research in Organic Polymers under Professor Christopher Bowman.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013 where he conducted over 3 years of research on Mass Spectrometry and the Proteins in Type 2 Diabetes under Professor Michael Bowers

Most recently, Ryan spent 2 years teaching a general chemistry class and labs at the University of Colorado and over 6 years tutoring for STEM-related classes.

Currently, he is the Educational Director for LabRats developing curriculum, teaching labs, and conducting demonstrations and experiments for local youth.

LabRats Team

Dr. Shawn Carlson, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer

Shawn Carlson (“Dr. Shawn”) earned a Ph.D. in physics from UCLA in 1989. He left academic research in 1993 to pursue his passion for finding novel and effective ways to inspire young people to love learning STEM. His innovative approaches won him a MacArthur Fellowship in 1999.

In 2008, Dr. Carlson codified everything he had discovered about inspiring students to become passionate lifelong learners into a system of instruction that called “Engagement Education,” which identifies three spheres of engagement.

First, it inspires students to become strongly committed to their own education journey.

Second, it creates spontaneous learning communities so students naturally support each other’s journey.

And third, it creates strong positive emotional bonds between students and their teachers by focusing not only on academics, but on character development as well. LabRats uses an Engagement Education-based approach to teaching STEM.

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