Katherine Ryker, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor: Earth Science, Earth Science Education

301W Mark Jefferson




Ph.D. Geoscience Education, Certificate in Geographic Information Systems; North Carolina State University
M.S. Sedimentology; North Carolina State University
B.S. Earth and Ocean Sciences, Secondary Teaching License; Duke University


Interests and Expertise

Katherine received her bachelor’s degree in Earth and Ocean Sciences and a secondary science teaching license from Duke University. Katherine taught a variety of science and math courses for Durham Public Schools (Durham, NC) before earning her M.S. and Ph.D. in Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University. While at NC State, Katherine taught introductory geology courses and a graduate course on the geology of North Carolina for teachers. Her master’s in sedimentology focused on the weathering of volcanic ash in New Zealand as a potential mechanism of carbon sequestration. Her doctoral work explored connections between reformed classroom practices, teaching beliefs and the implementation of inquiry-based labs in introductory geoscience courses.

Dr. Ryker explores connections between reformed classroom practices, student learning, teaching beliefs and the implementation of inquiry-based labs in introductory earth science lectures and labs. Her research interests also include online educational resources, pre-service teacher identity development, professional development, and student learning strategies and engagement in large introductory courses. She is part of a team looking at the connection between teaching beliefs and practices for geoscience faculty members at a variety of institutions across the country.


ESSC 110: The Dynamic Earth System
ESSC 202: Earth Science for Elementary Teachers
ESSC 312: Essentials of the Geosphere for Elementary Teachers
ESSC 347: Methods for Teaching Secondary Earth Science
ESSC 406: The Nature of Science
ESSC 407: Nature of Science for Elementary Teachers