I'm Justice Toshiba Walker!
TEACHER LEARNER & LEADER
I Imagine New Approaches to Learning Science
I am an assistant professor at The University of Texas at El Paso of STEM Education interested in understanding how emerging technologies like synthetic biology can be leveraged in ways to encourage learning conditions that are both accessible and equitable. I work with a team of incredibly creative researchers who bring myriad perspectives drawn from the arts and sciences. This affords me insights into the ways academic domains intersect to create innovative outcomes.
Twenty Things to Make with Biology
Kafai, Y. B., & Walker, J. T. (2020). Twenty things to make with biology. CONSTRUCTIONISM 2020, 598.
Learn.Design.Bio.K12: A Workshop Report on Connecting Computing and Biodesign in K-12 Education
Kafai, Y. B., Hogan, K. M., Telhan, O., & Walker, J. T.
(2020, October). Learn.Design.Bio.K12: A workshop
report on connecting computing and biodesign
in K-12 education. Philadelphia, PA: University of
Pennsylvania. Available at:
Walker, J. T. (2019). When Biology Learning Paradigms Shift: What Middle School Students Know, Think, and Learn about Synthetic Biology (Doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania).
Anderson, E., Walker, J., Kafai, Y. B., & Lui, D. (2017, August). The gender and race of pixels: an exploration of intersectional identity representation and construction within minecraft and its community. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (pp. 1-10).
B.S., ENGLISH LITERATURE/BIOLOGY | UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
I studied and researched molecular biology. This was complimented with studies in literature where I grew an interest in writers like Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. During summers, I carried out research with the Leadership Alliance at Brown University and taught math in Cambridge with the Breakthrough Collaborative. Those experiences shaped how I think about science, learning and the arts.
M.S.E., ENGINEERING BIOTECHNOLOGIES | UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Studying at Penn helped shape the way I understand cells and how they can be leveraged creatively. This is where I began to think about how engineering principles can be useful in teaching and learning. I took these experiences back to the classroom and began teaching biotechnology courses to better contextualize topics covered in the biology courses I also taught.
Ph.D., TEACHING, LEARNING AND TEACHER EDUCATION | UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
At Penn GSE, I learned to study how emerging technologies (e.g., Synthetic Biology or Electronic Textiles) exist in teaching and learning. I'm fascinated also by the possibilities technology poses in creating more equitable and accessible learning experiences. I use Learning Science and Sociocultural perspectives to inform my research and hope to continue doing so professionally as a professor/leader. This of course is all thanks to my committed advisor and mentor Yasmin B. Kafai.