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K.C. Busch

Associate Professor of Science Education

Faculty in the Leadership in Public Science Interdisciplinary Cluster

NCSU Academy of Outstanding Teachers

Department of STEM Education

Poe Hall 326C

View CV 


Dr. K.C. Busch (she/her) is an Associate Professor of STEM Education at North Carolina State University, specializing in science learning and affiliated with the Leadership in Public Science interdisciplinary cluster. Her long-term career goal is to explore and advance educational experiences that empower individuals to engage in collective action to improve their lives and their communities.

Dr. Busch is a first-generation college graduate. She holds a Ph.D. in science education from Stanford University, an M.A. in science education from the University of Texas in Austin, and a B.S. in ecology from Iowa State University. She taught secondary school science for twelve years in Austin, TX. She also has informal environmental education experience in Africa with the Peace Corps, in Nevada with the National Park Service, in Vermont, and in Iowa.


Drawing on research from the fields of science communication and environmental psychology, Dr. Busch has investigated the language used to teach about climate change in educational settings, and how that framing affects youth perception of the problem and their capacity for creating solutions.

Her current research is investigating the role of social relationships in learning using social network analysis. Through an NSF-funded CAREER grant, Dr. Busch is reconceptualizing scientific literacy at the community level, exploring how scientific information is used in communities to make decisions about climate change adaptation.

She is also conducting research to understand and support the specialized knowledge and practices of educators who work in out-of-school settings–such as museums, science centers, zoos and aquaria. Working in partnership with nearly 35 informal science centers across the state, an online “Eval 101” program was created to develop capacity for evaluation. The asynchronous modules were created during the IMPACT-NC project, funded through a grant from IMLS.

Scholarly Publications, Past 5 years

See Dr. Busch’s Google Scholar page for all publications.

  • Busch, K., Rajwade, A. (2024). Conceptualizing community scientific literacy: Results from a systematic literature review and a Delphi method survey of experts. Science Education. Advance online publication.
  • Peterman, K., Chesnut, L., Gathings, M., Martin, K., Black-Maier, A., Robertson Evia, J., Ayala Chávez, R., Harris, M., Busch, K., Stover, D., Larson, L., Stevenson, K., Yelton, C. (2024). Becoming the change we want to see: Aspirations, first steps, and initial progress in DEAI practice across informal science institutions. Curator: The Museum Journal. Advance online publication.
  • Gibson, L., Stevenson, K., Busch, K., Cutts, B., Seekamp, E., Krementz, S. (2024). Pushing towards systemic change in the Capitalocene: Investigating the efficacy of existing behavior prediction models on individual and collective pro-environmental actions in high school students. Journal of Environmental Education, 55(2), 102-124. [Special Issue: The praxis and imaginary of environmental and sustainability education in the Capitalocene]
  • Smith, H. , Cooper, C, Busch, K., Harper, S., Muslim, A., McKenna, K., Cavalier, D. (2024). Facilitator organizations enhance learning and action through citizen science: A case study of the Girl Scouts’ Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey on SciStarter. Environmental Education Research, 30(2), 190-213.
  • Busch, K., Chesnut, L., Stevenson, K., Larson, L., Black-Maier, A., Yelton, C., Stover, D. (2024). Collaborative capacity building for collective evaluation: A case study with informal science education centers. International Journal of Science Education (B), (14)1, 93-115.
  • Busch, K., Kudumu, M., Park, S. (2023). Pedagogical content knowledge for informal science educators: Development of the ISE-PCK framework. Research in Science Education, 53, 253-274.
  • Gibson, L., Busch, K., Stevenson, K., Cutts, B., DeMattia, E., Aguilar, O., Ardoin, N., Carrier, S., Clark, C., Cooper, C., Feinstein, N., Goodwin, J., Peterson, M., Wheaton, M. (2022). What is community-level environmental literacy and how can we measure it? A report of a convening to conceptualize and operationalize CLEL. Environmental Education Research, 28(10), 1423-1451.
  • Busch, K., Ayala Chávez, R. (2022). Adolescent framings of climate change, psychological distancing & implications for climate change concern and behavior. Climatic Change, 171(3), 1-19
  • Busch, K., Osborne, J. (2022). Effective strategies for talking about climate change in the classroom. Association for Science Education (ASE) International Journal, 14, 15-24.
  • Gutierrez, K., Blanchard, M., Busch, K. (2022). What effective design strategies do rural, underrepresented students value in STEM clubs while learning about climate change? Environmental Education Research, 28(7), 1043-1069.
  • Busch, K. (2021). Textbooks of doubt, tested: The effect of a denialist framing on adolescents’ certainty about climate change. Environmental Education Research, 27(11), 1574-1598.
  • Hartley, J., Stevenson, K., Peterson, M., Busch, K., Carrier, S., DeMattia, E., Jambeck, J., Lawson, D., Strnad, R. (2021). Intergenerational learning: A recommendation for engaging youth to address marine debris challenges. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 170, 112648.
  • Zummo, L., Donovan, B., Busch, K. (2021). Complex influences of mechanistic knowledge, worldview, and quantitative reasoning on climate change discourse: Evidence for ideologically motivated reasoning among youth. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 58(1), 95-127.
  • Busch, K., Ardoin, N., Gruehn, D., Stevenson, K. (2019). Exploring a theoretical model of climate change action for youth. International Journal of Science Education, 41(17), 2389-2409.
  • Donovan, B., Semmens, R., Keck, P., Brimhall, E., Busch, K., et al. (2019). Towards a more humane genetics education: Learning about the social and quantitative complexities of human genetic variation research could reduce racial bias in adolescent and adult populations. Science Education, 103(3), 529-560.
  • Borko, H., Osborne, J., Fishman, E., Zaccarelli, F., Berson, E., Busch, K., Reigh, E., Tseng, A. (2019). Impacts of a practice-based professional development program on elementary teacher facilitation of, and student engagement in, scientific argumentation. American Educational Research Journal, 56(4), 1067-1112.
  • Busch, K., Henderson, J., Stevenson, K. (2019). Broadening epistemologies and methodologies in climate change education research. Environmental Education Research, 25(6), 955-971.


Dr. Busch has created two new courses and a certificate for informal science educators. The Learning in Informal Contexts courses are: Theory to Practice and Evaluation. The main focus of the coursework involves collaborative, community-engaged projects working with local partners who offer informal learning programs, such as: the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, NC Museum of History, Museum of Life & Science—Durham, NCSU Libraries, and the NC State Farmers Market.

Dr. Busch has taught:

  • EMS 475: Methods of Teaching Science II
  • EMS 505: Methods of Teaching Science I
  • EMS 521: Advanced Methods of Science Education I
  • EMS 531: Introduction to Research in Science Education
  • EMS 551/594: Learning in Informal Contexts: Theory to Practice
  • EMS 552/594: Learning in Informal Contexts: Evaluation
  • EMS 731: Fundamentals of Research in Science Education
  • EMS 775: Foundations of Science Education
  • EMS 791: Contemporary Research and Critical Issues in STEM Education
  • ED 730: Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in Education


Doctor of Philosophy Science Education Stanford University 2016

Master of Arts Science Education University of Texas at Austin 2012

Bachelor of Science Ecology Iowa State University 1994

Area(s) of Expertise

Science education; Environmental education; Climate change education; Informal science education; Formal science education