Professional Experiences and Plans

Self-reflective description of previous and current teaching/counseling/ leadership activities.

I’ve been a high school science teacher for four years, during which I had developed my own curricular materials and assessments, with an emphasis on performance-based assessment. I presented twice on performance-based assessment at the Wisconsin State Science Teaching organizations. While teaching, I was very involved with student extracurricular activities as a debate and cheer leading coach. I also judged statewide debate competitions. I served on the school’s school improvement committee, at the request of my principle, and lead the effort in a school-wide initiative for reading-and-writing across the curriculum. In 2003, after an anonymous nomination, I was selected by the state of Wisconsin to represent secondary science teacher during the state’s re-writing of its knowledge and concepts exams.

In addition to teaching at the high school level, I also taught undergraduate and graduate level science education courses at Marquette University and I supervised student teachers. During these teaching opportunities, I constructed my own syllabi, reading lists, and designed the online courses along with the readings. I had gotten very positive feedback on my teaching, including one student who told me that my course was like a really good book he did not want to put down. I also carefully collected student assignments and data to help Marquette in its accreditation process. I  really loved teaching at the post-secondary level and would eagerly welcome the opportunity to do so again.

At UW-Madison, I had gotten some opportunities to engage in original research and scholarly writing and that background helped me jump into some of my own activities here at George Mason. In addition to my ongoing collaborations with Dr. Maxwell, I contributed to a special edition of the Cognitive Technology Journal in their special issues on “games for good” and I have written three entries in an upcoming encyclopedia on social media published by Sage.  I have submitted the research analysis I worked on with Dr. Peters-Burton to the International Journal of Science Education and hope the response is as enthusiastic as Dr. Peters-Burton reported regarding the presentation the paper was based on when she delivered it at NARST a few weeks ago.

I  developed several award-winning educational video games and interactives for The JASON Project, a subsidiary of National Geographic. This provided me with leadership opportunities. I think of my leadership style as being one consistent with a knowledge economy. I am very aware of the diversified talents and skill sets of my team, ranging from the highly creative artists to the very technically oriented programmers. I see myself as being well versed in a range of these professions but not an expert in any single one, and I therefore rely heavily on the expertise and knowledge of my team.

I currently work as a school-based specialist for Fairfax County where I work with teachers to develop their instructional technology competence via ongoing professional development. I serve as an intermediate between the district and the school and work closely with district-level management to research and implement new instructional technologies. This has been a wonderful opportunity to work with adult learners, hone my leadership skills, and understand the practical barriers and challenges in implementing robust technology in today’s challenging classrooms.

B. List of competencies for which additional preparation is needed prior to beginning dissertation work.

Research and scholarly writing; course work in educational methods; continuing collaboration with George Mason Faculty.

C. Description of planned future professional activities

I feel as though I am relatively well rounded professionally and hope to continue to develop my competence as a researcher, writer, presenter, educator, and leader. Between my coursework at George Mason and my current position at Fairfax Public Schools, I am incredibly well situated to do so.

This year, I would like to submit a proposal to AERA that synthesizes the work I have been doing with Dr. Maxwell looking at the intersection of qualitative research, diversity, and culture. In addition, I am looking forward to starting some new projects looking at validity and qualitative research. I find this work fascinating but it is intimidating because writers in this area are typically experienced researchers that are very widely read. I feel fortunate to have been able to work with Dr. Maxwell on realism in qualitative research as it has been a wonderful “crash course” in numerous ideas and writers that I otherwise would have never come across.

The goal I am most excited about is completing coursework and doing the final portfolio this December so that I can begin the proposal class in January 2012!

D. List of significant professional products

Teaching experiences:

Marquette University: Secondary Science Education methods (3 semesters)
2 semesters of face-to-face teaching; 1 semester of online teaching
Marquette University: Secondary Science Education methods for graduates (2 semesters)
Sample Syllabus

Presenting at professional organizations

Sample Presentation


Energy City

A resource management game that demonstrates the strengths and limitations of energy technologies.


Simulation game that probes concepts like trophic levels, food web, and competition where students design an invasive species and release it into an environment.

Coaster Creator

Simulation game that demonstrates the conversion of gravity to motion; potential and kinetic energy.

Transform it!

Puzzle-type game that demonstrates how energy transfers and transforms, and how this impacts efficiency.

Operation: Resilient Planet

An adventure game illustrating major learning objectives in middle-school ecology through the lens of authentic work of real scientists.


Chmiel, M. (2010) Game Design Toward Scientific Literacy. Cognitive Technology, 14 (2), 32-42.

Teacher Professional Development Presentations

Chmiel, M. & Owens, T. (2010) Gaming across the curriculum: Finding and evaluating educational games. To be presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Denver, CO June 26.

Harrison, R. & Chmiel, M. (2010) Effectively Integrating Digital Labs into your science classroom. To be presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Denver, CO June 30.

Jewell, B. & Chmiel, M. (2010) Integrating games and social media into your classroom. National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) Annual Conference. Philadelphia, PA March 19.

Chmiel, M. (2009) Using science video games in your classroom. National Science Teacher’s Association Regional Conference, For Lauderdale, FL November 14.

Chmiel, M. (2007) Staff Development meets Web 2.0. Presented at the National Staff Development Council Annual Conference, Dallas, TX, December 1-5, 2007.

Nies, C., & Chmiel, M. (2003) Inquiry and performance based assessment activities for secondary physical science. Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Chmiel, M.U. (2003) What educators need to know for the prevention of electronic plagiarism. Invited talk at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Teacher’s Academy, Madison, WI April 14.