Okhee Lee is a professor in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. She is widely known for advancing research, policy, and practice that simultaneously promote science and language learning for all students, particularly multilingual learners. Lee was a member of the NGSS writing team and served as leader for the NGSS Diversity and Equity Team. She also was a member of the Steering Committee for the Understanding Language Initiative at Stanford University. Her research involves integrating science, language, and computational thinking with a focus on multilingual learners. Her latest work addresses justice-centered STEM education with multilingual learners by integrating multiple STEM subjects, including data science and computer science, to address pressing societal challenges using the case of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lee brings research and policy to practice. Her team developed a yearlong fifth-grade science curriculum called Science And Integrated Language, or SAIL, that translates contemporary science standards into classroom practice with multilingual learners. The curriculum is in a field trial at New York City Public Schools with funding from the National Science Foundation. Using the SAIL curriculum, Lee’s team published teacher resources in collaboration with the New York State Education Department. In addition, her team published teacher resources in collaboration with the National Science Teaching Association and made them available nationally.
Lee is the recipient of numerous honors, awards, and fellowships, including:
- Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research Award, National Association for Research in Science Teaching, 2023
- Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree recipient and keynote speaker at Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony, Michigan State University, 2022
- National Academy of Education member, 2022
- American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow: Section Q Education, 2021
- American Educational Research Association: Exemplary Contributions to Practice-Engaged Research Award, 2021; Division K Innovations in Research on Equity and Social Justice in Teacher Education Award, 2019; AERA Fellow, 2009; Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the Committee for Scholars of Color in Education, 2003
- National Science Teaching Association: NSTA Distinguished Service to Science Education Award, 2020
- Korean-American Educational Researchers Association: Inaugural Distinguished Researcher Award, 2019
- University of Miami Provost’s Award for Research Activity, 2008
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Lee has published 130 refereed journal articles, five books, six handbook chapters, 30 book chapters, and more than 40 editorials on STEM education for diverse student groups, with a focus on multilingual learners. Here are selective publications that support her efforts to advance K-12 STEM education, especially for multilingual learners.
- Lee, O., Grapin, S. E., & Haas, A. (2023). Teacher professional development programs integrating science and language with multilingual learners: A conceptual framework. Science Education, 107(5), 1302-1323.
- Lee, O., & Grapin, S. E. (2022). The role of phenomena and problems in science and STEM education: Traditional, contemporary, and future approaches. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 59(7), 1301-1309.
- Lee, O. (2021). Asset-oriented framing of science and language with multilingual learners. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 58(7), 1073-1979.
- Nordine, J., & Lee, O. (Eds.). (2021). Crosscutting concepts: Strengthening science and engineering learning. National Science Teaching Association.
- Lee, O., & Campbell, D. T. (2021). Instructional materials aligned to A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards [Special issue]. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 32(7).
- Lee, O., & Campbell, D. T. (2020). What science and STEM teachers can learn from COVID-19: Harnessing data science and computer science through the convergence of multiple STEM subjects. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 31(8), 932-944.
- Lee, O., & Stephens, A. (2020). English learners in STEM subjects: Contemporary views on STEM subjects and language with English learners. Educational Researcher, 49(6), 426-432.
- Lee, O. (2019). Aligning English language proficiency standards with content standards: Shared opportunity and responsibility across English learner education and content areas. Educational Researcher, 48(8), 534-542.
- Lee, O. (2018). English language proficiency standards aligned with content standards. Educational Researcher, 47(5), 317-327.
- Lee, O. (2017). Common Core State Standards for ELA/literacy and Next Generation Science Standards: Convergences and discrepancies using argument as an example. Educational Researcher, 46(2), 90-102.
- Lee, O., Miller, E., & Januszyk, R. (Eds.). (2015). NGSS for all students. National Science Teachers Association.
- Lee, O., Quinn, H., & Valdés, G. (2013). Science and language for English language learners in relation to Next Generation Science Standards and with implications for Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics. Educational Researcher, 42(4), 223-233.
- Fradd, S. H., & Lee, O. (1999). Teachers' roles in promoting science inquiry with students from diverse language backgrounds. Educational Researcher, 28(6), 14-20, 42.
- Lee, O., & Fradd, S. H. (1998). Science for all, including students from non-English language backgrounds. Educational Researcher, 27(4), 12-21.