Dr. Katie E. Amaral received her Ph.D. in chemical education from the University of Florida in 2004. After working for a year as an assistant in chemistry at UF, she moved to Penn State Berks to begin research in improving student outcomes in general chemistry. General chemistry is traditionally taught by lectures and has one of the highest failure and withdrawal rates. Together with a team, she has been working to improve the method of instruction, to decrease the failure rate, increase the success rate, and decrease the withdrawal rate in the course.
She is also researching the effects of different programs on success rates in chemistry. For example, she looked at mentoring and how it affected student success and retention in general chemistry. She is also studying the effects of preparatory chemistry courses on outcomes in general chemistry.