Climate change is a pressing environmental problem, and the burden of its effects will be shouldered by today’s youth. However, climate change is not an issue for which youth have much concern or agency, which is often blamed on a lack of knowledge. K.C. Busch’s research serves as a counter-narrative to the science education literature’s concentration on what students do not know about climate change. In contrast, she focuses on empowering and hopeful messages around what students can do to address this growing issue. Drawing on research from the fields of communication and environmental psychology, K.C. has investigated the language used to teach about climate change in formal educational settings, analyzing the language used in student textbooks and by teachers as they lecture about climate change. Her current research experimentally tests the effects of these language choices on students’ understanding, attitudes, and intent to take action. K.C.’s research mission is to explore and advance educational experiences that empower students of science to improve their lives and their communities. Her scholarship has been published in Environmental Education Research and the International Journal of Science Education and featured in mainstream media such as The Guardian. K.C.’s dissertation research was generously supported by the Neukermans Family Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship.
Currently, K.C. is a Postdoctoral Scholar with the Stanford NGSS Assessment Project (SNAP) at Stanford Center for Assessment, Language & Equity. She joined the SNAP team in August of 2016 and is currently contributing to the design of model NGSS assessments. She holds a Ph.D. in science education from Stanford University as well as an M.A. from the University of Texas in Austin. After completing a B.S. in ecology from Iowa State University, she taught secondary school science in Austin, Texas for twelve years; she also has two years of informal environmental education experience in Africa with the Peace Corps and in Nevada with the National Park Service.