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  • Tara O'Neill

    Secondary Program Director and Associate Professor


    • Institute for Teacher Education -
    • Institute for Teacher Education

    Brief Biography

    Dr. Tara O’Neill is an Associate Professor of Science Education, Director of the Institute for Teacher Education (ITE) Secondary Program and Chair of the College of Education Senate at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM). She specializes in multicultural, place-based science, STEM and STEMS2 (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Social Sciences and Sense of Place) education. In recognition of her work in the field of science education, Dr. O'Neill is an appointed member of the Journal of Research and Science Teaching (JRST) Editorial Review Board and elected Chair of the American Education Research Association (AERA) Science SIG. Prior to accepting a faculty position at UHM, Dr. O'Neill worked for 10 years as a middle and high school science teacher in Boston and New York City. Her scholarly activities focus around three primary areas: 1) science identity development of middle school girls from non-dominate (Native Hawaiian, African American, Latino/a, Micronesian, Filipino and high poverty) backgrounds; 2) the role of place-based education in building culturally integrated STEMS2 learning experiences; and 3) effective professional development models for building in-serve teachers' willingness and capacity to teach interdisciplinary STEMS2 curricula that integrates both Indigenous and Western science knowledge, skills, and practices. One of her current projects, A‘o Hawaii, is working with K-12 educators developing STEMS2 units associated of the Worldwide voyage of Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia. This work involves designing and evaluating multicultural STEM curricula around the Native Hawaiian theme of Malama Honua (to care for the earth and her people) and teacher professional development associated with the voyage. Dr. O'Neill's work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Federal Department of Education, and UHM Office of Equity and Diversity. She has published in high-impact journals in her field, including the American Education Research Journal, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Equity and Excellence in Education, and School Science and Mathematics.

    Contact Information

    Office Phone

    (808) 956-0415


    Everly 226E



    Visit Tara O'Neill's homepage

    Curriculum Vitae


    Scholarly Works

      Book Chapters

    • O'neill, T. B. (2011). Improvisation with/in science: Expanding worlds and lives. In Democratic Science Education (pp. 102–125). New York, New York: Taylor and Francis.
    • Journal Articles

    • Deering, P. D., Martin, K., Buelow, S. M., Hoffman, J., Cameli, S., Martin, M., … O'neill, T. B. (2016). Preparing young adolescents for a bright future--right now! Middle School Journal, 47(1), 19–26.
    • O'neill, T. B. (2015). A‘o Hawai‘i: Drawing on Indigenous Knowledge and Values to Build 21st Century Skills. Cultural Studies in Science Education, in press, 1–24.
    • O'neill, T. B., Yamagata, L., Yamagata, J., Togioka, S., & Barton, A. C. (2012). Teaching STEM means Teacher Learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 49(1), 12–18.
    • O'neill, T. B. (2010). Fostering Spaces of Student Ownership in Middle School Science. Equity & Excellence in Education, 43(1), 22–45.
    • O'neill, T. B. (2005). Uncovering student ownership in science learning: The making of a student created mini-documentary. School Science and Mathematics, 105(6), 25–45.
    • Presentations

    • Deering, P. D., Zuercher, D. K., Apisa, S., Martin, K., Ashford, A., Curry, K. M., … Yoshioka, J. M. (2012, January). Translating a collaborative learning community for educators to a transnational, virtual environment. Presented at Second Annual Conference on Education and e-Learning.
    • Research / Evaluation Reports

    • Robinson, S. D., & O'neill, T. B. (2013, January). National Recognition Program Report in Science Education (Secondary Education program) to the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (pp. 1). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii College of Education.