Maria Varelas : Director

Maria Varelas


Dr. Maria Varelas is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching-Learning Communities (TLC). She is also a Professor of Science Education in UIC’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction and an Honors College Faculty Fellow, with a BSc in physics and a PhD in education.

Since 1993, Prof. Varelas has been teaching in UIC’s elementary education programs and Curriculum Studies doctoral program, and has received several teaching awards, including three Silver Circle awards, two Teaching Recognition Program awards, and the Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is program co-coordinator and co-director of graduate studies of the new PhD program in mathematics and science education, and coordinator of the Masters program in science education. In addition to her work with UIC undergraduate and graduate students, Prof. Varelas works with urban-school teachers to reform science education aiming at equity and social justice, and explore possibilities and challenges that emerge in such efforts.

For her research, Dr. Varelas has been has been awarded the University Scholar award and the Distinguished Researcher of the Year award. She has been funded by multi-year, multi-collaborator NSF grants totaling over 9 million dollars and has published over 55 articles/chapters and two books. Her research has spanned integrated science-literacy enactments in elementary Chicago Public School classrooms, elementary and secondary science teacher preparation, development of science content courses for elementary education majors, university faculty development at UIC and in community colleges, and engagement of science, mathematics, and engineering graduate students in K-12 education. Prof. Varelas has held leadership positions in the field of science education that include having been an elected member of the Board of Directors of NARST: A Worldwide Organization for Improving Teaching and Learning Through Research, Chair of NARST’s Research Committee, associate editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, co-editor of the Learning section of Science Education, Higher Education editor of Spectrum–the official journal of the Illinois Science Teachers Association, consultant to the 2012 US Framework for K-12 Science Education, and member of the NSF Committee of Visitors.
Kimberly Richards : Associate Director

Kimberly Richards

Associate Director

Kim is the Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching-Learning Communities (TLC). She joined UIC in 2007 working as a teaching assistant and research assistant in the College of Education and Learning Sciences Research Institute. Kim has been a digital learning strategist, evaluator and curriculum designer for various youth media and arts education organizations and Chicago Public Schools. Prior to 2007, she worked as a K-12 reading and social studies teacher and curriculum coordinator in Chicago. Kim has a B.A. in sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a M.Ed. in secondary education from DePaul University.
Maria Gueorguieva Gueret : Staff Clerk

Maria Gueorguieva Gueret

Staff Clerk

Maria Gueret is the Staff Clerk of TLC. She joined TLC in October 2015. Maria graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B.S. in Accountancy. Before joining TLC she worked as Assistant Director of an after school program in Chicago.