Texas Tech University

Rebecca Hite, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Associate Department Chair
Curriculum & Instruction

Email: Rebecca.hite@ttu.edu

Phone: 806.834.6370

Office:  Education 264

Google Scholar Profile

Rebecca Hite is an Associate Professor of STEM education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas Tech University. She serves as the founder and primary director of the Texas site of the Education Policy Fellowship Program (TX-EPFP), the Associate Director of Professional Development in theCenter for Innovative Research in Leadership and Education (CIRCLE), the graduate coordinator of the C&I general track, and is associate chair of the C&I department. She is an active researcher and collaborator on K-16 STEM education research, leadership, and outreach with the Center for the Integration of STEM Education & Research (CISER), STEM CORE, The Museum of Texas Tech University (MoTTU), The Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences (TrUE), and the Center for Innovative Research in Change, Leadership and Education (CIRCLE).

Prior to graduate school, Dr. Hite taught high school science and geography for 13 years in the public schools of North Carolina. Hite's policy experiences stem from her service as a Congressional Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow in Washington, D.C. with the Honorable Danny K. Davis (7th district of IL). In North Carolina, she was selected as a North Carolina EPFP fellow, coordinated advocacy information and activities for the North Carolina Science Leadership Association (NCSLA), and served as a district intern for the Honorable David E. Price (4th district of NC). 

In recognition of her efforts, Dr. Hite has been awarded the 2016 John C. Park National Technology Leadership Fellowship Award in science education by The Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE) and best paper in the AERA Applied Research in Immersive Environments for Learning (ARiEL) Special Interest Group (SIG) in 2017. At TTU, Dr. Hite has received the 2018 Excellence in IT Innovation Award for immersive technologies at the Museum of Texas Tech University, the Outstanding Researcher Award for 2020, the 2022 TTU President's Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award (for TX-EPFP), and received (at the College level) the 2022 Chancellor's Council Distinguished Research Award.

Dr. Rebecca Hite, PhD


  • Doctorate of Philosophy in Science Education, North Carolina State University
  • Master of Arts in Secondary Science Teaching, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Bachelors of Science in Biology and a Bachelors of Arts in Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Areas of Expertise

  • Evaluating the affordances and efficacy of emerging technologies (e.g. 3D, haptic, virtual, augmented, and mixed reality) in formal, non-formal, and informal STEM education, focusing on science and engineering education
  • Exploring experiences of under-represented groups in STEM via individual and collective cognitive (e.g., learning, knowledge gains) and non-cognitive (e.g. interest, motivation, identity, and persistence) factors
  • Qualifying and quantifying the impact of STEM outreach in formal, informal, and non-formal spaces
  • Conceptualizing middle level and STEM teacher leadership development in policy and advocacy-based activities

Selected Publications

Hite, R., Johnson, L., Gottlieb, J., McNaughtan, J., & Velasco, R. C. L. (2023). Examining the Situative Progression of Teachers' Novice-to-Expert Development in Education Policy. The Educational Forum. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131725.2023.2231995

Velasco, R. C. L, Hite, R., Milbourne, J., & Gottlieb, J. (2023). Stand Out and Speak Up: An Empowerment Perspective in Exploring Advocacy Activities of American K-12 STEM Teachers. Teacher Development, 27(4), 525-541. https://doi.org/10.1080/13664530.2023.2207095

Miller, J., Olson, M., Bryant, C., Hite, R., & Childers, G. (2023). Beyond Binary: K-12 Student use of gender-inclusive language in a scientific context. School Science and Mathematics, 123(2), 68-81. https://doi.org/10.1111/ssm.12572

Hite, R. (2023). Insights for Secondary Science Teachers When Using XR Technologies to Help Shape Secondary Students' Understanding of Cardiac Anatomy and Physiology. In T. Cherner & A. Fegely (Eds.), Bridging the XR Technology-to-Practice Gap: Methods and Strategies for Blending Extended Realities into Classroom Instruction (Vol. 2, pp. 95-107). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. Available here.

Manuel M., Gottlieb, J., Svarovsky, G., & Hite, R. (2023, Invited). The Intersection of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Engineering Design in Secondary STEM. Special Issue: Best Papers from ASEE Pre-College Engineering Education. The Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research, 12(2), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.7771/2157-9288.1380 

Vieyra, R. & Hite, R(2023). Conceptualizing K-12 Science Teachers as Large-Scale, Policy Agents: A Review of Literature on Teachers' Strategic Leadership. Teaching Education.https://doi.org/10.1080/10476210.2023.2189234

Jones, L. K., &Hite, R. (2023). Exploring When, Why and How Students Circumscribe and Compromise Science Careers. Career Development Quarterly, 71(1), 68-81. http://doi.org/10.1002/cdq.12311

Hite, R., Childers, G., & Jones, M. G. (2023, Invited). Active Learning at Home: Using 3D Virtual Reality Viewers to Explore the Human Heart for High School Students. In F. Allaire & J. E. Killham (Eds.), Teaching and Learning Online: Science for Secondary Grade Levels (pp. 159-170). Information Age Publishing. Available here.

Taylor-Hall, D. & Hite, R. (2022). School-Level Implementation of a State-Wide Professional Development Model for Developing Globally Competent Teachers. Teacher Development, 26(5), 665-682.https://doi.org/10.1080/13664530.2022.2132281

Hite, R., & White, J. (2022). University-Facilitated Environmental Club Influences on Upper Elementary Latinx Students' Knowledge, Agency, and Ecological Worldviews of Distal Environmental Issues. Children, Youth and Environments, 32(2), 81-111. https://journals.uc.edu/index.php/cye/article/view/6155

Hite, R., & Milbourne, J. (2022). Divining the Professional Development Experiences of K-12 STEM Master Teacher Leaders in the United States. Professional Development in Education, 48(3), 476-492. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2021.1955733 

Childers, G. & Hite, R. (2022). The role of emerging technologies in science teacher preparation. In J. A. Luft & M. G. Jones (Eds.), Handbook of research on science teacher education (pp. 218-230). Taylor & Francis. Available here.

Cruz, J., Hite, R., & Velasco, R. C. L. (2022). Assembling Bones, Becoming Dinosaur: Guests' Relationships to Museum Objects via Deleuzian Assemblage within a Dinosaur Gallery. Museum Management and Curatorship. https://doi.org/10.1080/09647775.2022.2054018    

Fujiwara, Y., Velasco, R C. L., Jones, L. K., & Hite, R. (2022). Competent and Cold: A Directed Content Analysis of Warmth and Competence Dimensions to Identify and Categorize Stereotypes of Scientists Portrayed in Meme-Based GIFs. International Journal of Science Education.https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2022.2050560

Hite, R. (2022, February). Virtual Reality: Fad or Feasible? Ways to use Virtual Reality Technologies to Enhance Classroom Science Instruction. The American Biology Teacher, 82(2), 106-108. https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2022.84.2.106

Hite, R., Jones, M. G., Childers, G., Ennes, M., Chesnutt, K., Pereyra, M., & Cayton, E. (2022). The utility of 3D, haptic-enabled, virtual reality technologies for student knowledge gains in the complex biological system of the human heart. Journal of Computer Assisted Learninghttps://doi.org/10.1111/JCAL.12638

Hite, R., & Spott, J. (2022). Improving Parents' and Teachers' Perceptions of Girls' STEM Activities and Interests Before and After an Informal STEM Intervention. Journal of STEM Outreach, 5(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.15695/jstem/v5i1.01

Hite, R., Greenhalgh-Spencer, H., & Childers, G. (2022, May/June). Differentiation in the Life Science Classroom Using Station Rotations. Science Scope, 45(5), 52-58. Special Call: Differentiation in All Environments.Available here

Jones, L. K., & Hite, R. (2022). Why Are Girls Not Becoming Scientists?: Using Circumscription and Compromise Career Development Theory to Analyze Gendered Science Career Aspirations. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 28(1), 1-22. 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2021035241 

Velasco, R. C. L., Hite, R., & Milbourne, J. (2022). Exploring Advocacy Self-Efficacy Among K-12 STEM Teacher Leaders. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 20(3), 435-457. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-021-10176-z

Hite, R., Childers, G., Jones, M. G., Corin, E., & Pereyra, M. (2021). Describing the Experiences of Students with ADHD Learning Science Content with Emerging Technologies. Journal of Science Education for Students with Disabilities, 24(1), 1-34. https://scholarworks.rit.edu/jsesd/vol24/iss1/12/

Vieyra, R., Smith, J. F., & Hite, R. (2021, August). Bold Actors in Policy Spaces: Supporting Teachers as Change Agents through a Fellowship for Science Educators. The Learning Professional. https://learningforward.org/journal/starting-strong/science-teachers-learn-to-be-policy-advocates/

Hite, R.,
Childers, G., Gottlieb, J., Velasco, R. C. L., Johnson, L., Williams, B., Griffith, K., & Dwyer, J. (2021). Shifts in Learning Assistants' Self-Determination Due to COVID-19 Disruptions in Calculus II Course Delivery. International Journal of STEM Education, 8, 55. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-021-00312-0

Hite, R., & White, J. (2021). Hispanic Elementary Students' Improved Perceptions of Science and Scientists Upon Participation in an Environmental Science Afterschool Club. Applied Environmental Education & Communication, 21(1), 73-86. https://doi.org/10.1080/1533015X.2021.1986431

Hite, R., & McDonald, T. (2021). Exploring Science Relevancy by Gender and SES in The Bahamas: Secondary Bahamian Students' Interests in Science and Attractive Attributes of Future Careers. International Journal of Science Education, 43(11),   1860-1879. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2021.1939191

Cover of ). Discovery Engineering in Biology: Case Studies for Grades 6-12Hite, R.
, Childers, G, Ennes, M., & Jones, M. G. (2019). Discovery Engineering in Biology: Case Studies for Grades 6-12. Arlington, VA:  NSTA Press. ISBN 978-1-68140-614-5 Available here.

Hite, R., Spott, J., Johnson, L., & Sobehrad, L. (2020). STEM Challenge: Two Years of Community-Engaged Engineering. Journal of Research In Innovative Teaching & Learning, 13(1), 57-82. DOI 10.1108/JRIT-12-2019-0080  Special Issue: STEM/STEAM for All Students

Hite, R., Vieyra, R., Milbourne, J., Dou, R., Spuck, T., & Smith, J. F. (2020). Chapter 37:  STEM Teacher Leadership in Policy. In C. Johnson, M. Mohr-Schroeder, T. Moore & L. English (Eds.), Handbook of Research on STEM Education. London, UK:  Routledge/Taylor & Francis.  Available here

Hite, R., & McIntosh, A. (2020). The Affordances of 3D Mixed Reality in Cultivating Secondary Students' Non-cognitive Skill Use and Development in the Engineering Design Process.  In R. Zheng (Ed.), Cognitive and affective perspectives on immersive technology in education (2nd ed., pp. 171-194). Hershey, PA:  IGI Global. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3250-8.ch009

Hite, R. & Tauber, M. (2019). Translating Research to Practice on Individual and Collective Mathematics and Science Identity Formation:  Pedagogical Recommendations for Teachers. Journal of Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership, 4(1), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.46767/kfp.2016-0028

Hite, R., & White, J. (2019). Balancing Profits and Conservation:  A Human Environmental Impact PBL For Upper Elementary and Middle Grades STEM Club Students. Science Activities, 56(3), 88-107. DOI: 10.1080/00368121.2019.1693950

Marshall, D., Hite, R., & Hoffman, J. (2019, May). Living in the Present: Using 3D Mixed Reality Technology to Enhance Guest Experiences with Museum Objects and Collections. Conference Proceeding for the annual Electronic Imaging & the Visual Arts (EVA) Conference, Florence, Italy, (pp. 89-96). ISBN: 978-88-6453-868-6.  Available here

Chesnutt, K., Jones, M. G., Corin, E., Hite, R., Pereyra, M., Cayton, E., & Ennes, M. (2019). Crosscutting Concepts and Achievement: Is a Sense of Size and Scale Related to Achievement in Science and Mathematics? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 56(3), 302-321. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.21511

Hite, R. & Thompson, C. J. (2019).  Activity Theory as Theoretical Framework for Analyzing and Designing Global K-12 Collaborations in Engineering:  A Case Study of a Thai-U.S. Elementary Engineering Project. Journal of International Engineering Education, 1(1), 1-39. https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/jiee/vol1/iss1/5/

Owens, A. & Hite, R. (2019). Globalize Your Classroom: Employing Global Collaboration to Develop Student Communication Skills Using the Water Cycle. Science Scope, 43(4), 44-52. Available here

Hite, R., Childers, G., & Jones, M. G. (2019).  Review of Virtual Reality Hardware Employed in K-20 Science Education. In A. Zhang & D. Cristol (Eds.), Handbook of Mobile Teaching and Learning (2nd ed., pp. 1-12). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-41981-2_123-1

Hite, R., Jones, M. G., Andre, T., Childers, G., & Corin, E. N. (2019).  Female and minority experiences in an astronomy-based hobby.  Cultural Studies of Science Education, 14(4), 937-962. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-018-9884-y

Hite, R., Jones, M. G., Childers, G., Ennes, M., Chesnutt, K., Pereyra, M., & Cayton, E. (2019).  Investigating potential relationships between adolescents' cognitive development and perceptions of presence in 3-D, haptic-enabled, virtual reality science instruction. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 28(3), 265-284. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-018-9764-y

Hite, R., Jones, M. G., Childers, G., Chesnutt, K., Corin, E. N., & Pereyra, M.  (2019). Teachers' Pedagogical Acceptance of Novel 3D, Haptic-Enabled, Virtual Reality Technology. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 23(1), 1-34. http://ejse.southwestern.edu/article/view/18732/12306

Hite, R., Dotson, W., & Beights, R. (2019).  Employing Virtual Reality to Teach Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder Face-Based Emotion Recognition. In A. Zhang & D. Cristol (Eds.), Handbook of Mobile Teaching and Learning (2nd ed., pp. 1-9). Heidelberg, Germany:  Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-41981-2_124-1

Hite, R., & Milbourne, J. (2018).  A Proposed Conceptual Framework for K-12 STEM Master Teacher (STEMMaTe) Development. Education Sciences, 8(4), 1-25. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040218

Hite, R., Midobuche, E., Benavides, A. H., & Dwyer, J.  (2018). Third Space Theory: A Theoretical Model for Designing Informal STEM Experiences for Rural Latina Youth.  In T. T. Yuen, E. Bonner, & M. G. Arreguin-Anderson (Eds.), (Under)Represented Latin@s in STEM: Increasing Participation Throughout Education and the Workplace  (pp. 189-202). New York, NY:  Peter Lang Publishing.  Available here

Jones, M. G., Andre, T., Corin, E., Childers, G., & Hite, R. (2018).  Citizen Scientists and Non-Citizen Scientist Hobbyists: Motivation, Benefits, and Influences. International Journal of Science Education Part B:  Communication and Public Engagement, 8(4), 287-306. https://doi.org/10.1080/21548455.2018.1475780

Hite, R., Solis, P., Wargo, L., & Larsen, T. B. (2018).  Exploring Affective Dimensions of Authentic Geographic Education using a Qualitative Document Analysis of Students' YouthMappers Blogs. Education Sciences, 8(4), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040173 Special issue, Authentic Learning

Chesnutt, K., Jones, M. G., Hite, R., Cayton, E., Ennes, M., Corin, E. N., & Childers, G. (2018). Next generation crosscutting themes: Factors that contribute to students' understandings of size and scale. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 55(6), 876-900. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.21443

Hite, R. (2017). The Riddle of the Red Queen: Exploring Evolution & Extinction. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science. Available here

Jones, M. G., Hite, R., Childers, G., Corin, E., Pereyra, M., & Chesnutt, K. (2016). Perceptions of Presence in 3-D, Haptic-enabled, Virtual Reality Instruction. International Journal of Education and Information Technologies, 10, 73-81. Available here.

Hite, R., Jones, M. G., & Jur, J. S. (2016). Engineering Imagination with Ideation.  Journal of Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership, 1(1), 9-24. Available here