White woman with long grey hair and glasses on her head smiling.

Dr. Marie-Claire Shanahan


Full Professor

Werklund School of Education, Specialization, Learning Sciences

Graduate Program Director

Werklund School of Education, Graduate Programs in Education

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: 403.220.2606


Educational Background

Doctor of Philosophy Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, University of Toronto, 2007

Master of Arts Science Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 2003

Bachelor of Education Physics and Mathematics Education, Queen's University at Kingston, 2000

Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering, Queen's University at Kingston, 1999


Dr. Shanahan has devoted her career to expanding the boundaries of science and engineering education. Her research focuses on publicness, communities, belonging and identities in science and technology among youth and adults. She is especially interested in how non-conventional spaces and communities change our relationships to science and technology practices. Her current research covers a variety of topics including engaging with code through digital arts (for which she, Dr. Pratim Sengupta and Dylan Pare were awarded a Paul D. Fleck Award from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity) and the complexity and multimodality of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) practices in science education (for which she holds a SSHRC Insight Development Grant with Dr. Sengupta). Dr. Shanahan previously served as the Research Chair in Science Education and Public Engagement and is currently Professor of Learning Sciences in the Werklund School of Education. She is also a former middle school and high school science and mathematics teacher.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Dr. Shanahan is active in both science education and science communication communities. She is subject editor for Science Education and Science Communication at FACETS: the official journal of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the editorial board of the journals Science Education and Studies in Science Education. 


Areas of Research

Scholarly Activity

Dr. Shanahan’s research focuses on personal interactions between insiders and outsiders in science contexts. She examines student-teacher interactions and their impact on student identity development including motivation and interest in pursuing careers and further studies in science. She also has a special interest in informal science education and outreach, studying mentorship programs and public outreach events. Her interest in insider-outsider interactions is especially prominent in her research of online science communication, where she examines science blogs and online commenting communities to understand the judgments participants make about each other’s expertise and how and why they engage in arguments and collaborations.

  • Science education
  • Computing Education
  • STEM Education
  • Identity development
  • Conversation and discourse analysis
  • Theory/philosophy of science
  • Sociology of science
  • Science communication studies


Course number Course title Semester
EDUC 460 Splecialization I Secondary/Elementary Science
EDUC 546 Design Thinking for Education
EDUC 427 STEM Education
EDUC 520 Interdisciplinary Learning
EDUC 535 Specialization II Secondary/Elementary Science



Project title: Improving the ability of science and technology researchers to communicate using skills from arts and social sciences (Co-Investigator) Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Principal Investigator: Dr. Jeffrey Dunn, Cumming School of Medicine

Project title: Disability, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Science Education (Principal Investigator) Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Co-investigator: Dr. Pratim Sengupta, Werklund School of                             

Project title: Improving the research consent process to build partnership relationships with undiagnosed patients and caregivers (Principal Investigator) Funded by: Rare Disease Foundation, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Co-investigator: Maryam Hachem, Werklund School of                     

Project title: Measuring Cross-Curricular Competencies using Digitally Simulated Science Laboratories Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Principal Investigator: Dr. Man-Wai Chu, Werklund School of Education


  • International Committee Early Career Scholar , National Association for Research in Science Teaching. 2010
  • Best paper, 4th International STEM in Education Conference, Beijing, China. 2016
  • Teaching Excellence Award, University of Calgary Students’ Union . 2016
  • Distinguished Research Lecture Award, Werklund School of Education. 2017
  • Paul D. Fleck Fellowship for unique achievements and innovation in the arts community, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. 2019


  • Critical, Transdisciplinary and Embodied Approaches in STEM Education and Embodied Approaches. Pratim Sengupta, Beaumie Kim, Marie-Claire Shanahan (Eds.). Springer International Publishing. (2019)
  • Science blogs as boundary layers: Creating and understanding new interactions through science blogging. Shanahan, M.-C. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism. 12, 903–919. (2011)
  • Science student role: Evidence of social structural norms specific to high school science. Shanahan, M.-C., & Nieswandt, M. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 48, 367–395. (2011)
  • Language and symbolic violence in computational models of ethnocentrism: A critical phenomenology and Southern re-orientations. Sengupta, P., *Chokshi, A., *Helvaci Ozacar, B., *Dutta, S., *Sanyal, M., & Shanahan, M.-C.. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. (2022)
  • “We're taking their brilliant minds”: Science teacher expertize, meta‐discourse, and the challenges of teacher–scientist collaboration. Shanahan, M. C., & *Bechtel, R. . Science Education. (2020)
  • Using reflection to support environmental identity development in the classroom context. Simms, W., & Shanahan, M.-C. . Environment Education Research . (2019)
  • Boundary Play and Pivots in Public Computation: New Directions in Integrated STEM Education. Sengupta, P. & Shanahan, M.-C. . International Journal of Engineering Education. (2017)

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