Tara was born in Chicago, Illinois. Most of her early adult life was spent in Texas and Tennessee before moving to West Africa. After seven years, she returned to the United States from Ghana to complete her PhD. She has 13 years of teaching experience in the United States and seven years in Ghana. Her ability to successfully teach science in diverse settings by population, culture, and class is attributed to years of teaching in U.S. inner city, urban schools, and overseas at the top international school in Accra, Ghana with over 60 nationalities. She has taught both high school level courses in Biology, Integrated Physics and Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, Health, Algebra I and in middle school Comprehensive Science. She is well versed in teaching the Middle Years Program (MYP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum as well as Honors and Advanced Placement courses.
Mentored by her father and grandmother at an early age cultivated her passion in the field of science/STEM education. The conferred degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Middle Tennessee State University, a Masters in Education from Tennessee State University, and a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of South Florida. Tara is energetic, disciplined and passionate about exposing students to the joys of science education through hands-on experiences that help them to bridge the classroom to their community and life.
Tara’s research agenda on science curriculum (leadership) development explores methods to increase the underrepresentation of Black women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, (STEM). Her current research on the pedagogical and theoretical development of science educators’ understanding and practice of engagement in science relies on poststructuralist perspectives, her extensive experience teaching science, and her exposure to qualitative research methods. Additionally, her training in anti-oppressive theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, supports her examination of how popular culture and sociopolitical discourse flow through entertainment media and frame public perception about science education and/or STEM careers, particularly for underrepresented groups.
Besides conducting research and presenting, she enjoys meeting new people, traveling, exercising, dancing, eating Indian food, and spending time with her husband and daughter.
BS Environmental Science, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
MED Curriculum and Instruction, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
PhD Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
My research agenda focuses on engagement in science education and preparing the next generation of science learners/educators to study and enter careers in science as well other fields that comprise the interdisciplinary engagements among Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Agriculture, Math or Medicine or (STEAAMM). I am particularly interested in how approaches such as multicultural education, culturally sustaining pedagogy, critical pedagogy, and social justice supports educational leadership and reform efforts to enhance learning in the sciences among minoritized students and others historically underrepresented in particular fields of study and practice. Building on my teaching and research experience using arts-based methods (forum theatre, image theatre, jokering), case study (descriptive), and narrative inquiry (auto-ethnography, métissage), I examine the social, cultural, political issues concerning engagement and disengagement in science education.
Nkrumah, T. (2016). The legacy of Imah in my life as a science educator, Blog – Christine Sleeter, www.christinesleeter.org
Anderson, A. W., Branscombe, M., & Nkrumah, T. (2015). Crossing blocked thresholds: Three stories of identity, embodied literacy, and participatory education, Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 11(2), 170-185.
2019 NSF Research Fellowship Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
2019 University of South Florida Walter and Lillian Berbecker Scholarship
2018 University of South Florida Walter and Lillian Berbecker Scholarship
2017 Diversity Educator of the Year, Hillsborough County School District
2017 Jhumki Basu Scholar, National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST)
2016/2017/2018 Hillsborough County School District Highly Effective Teacher Status multiple years
2015/2016/2017 University of South Florida Scholars of Excellence Honoree multiple years
2015 University of South Florida Graduate Student Success (GSS) Fellowship Recipient
Master Teacher Status (Dallas Independent School District)
Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE)
Ethics & Equity (NARST) Committee Member
Pedagogy of the Oppressed (PTO)
Sisters of the Academy (SOTA)
American Educational Research Association (AERA)
University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA)
Curriculum and Pedagogy Group (C&P)
NARST A worldwide organization for improving science teaching and learning through
Postdoctoral Research Associate. Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology at ASU 2019 - present
Science Area Leader, Instructional Coach, Science Teacher. Greco Middle School, Tampa, Florida, 2014-2019
Science Teacher, Curriculum Writer. Lincoln Community School, Accra, Ghana, 2007-2014
Science Head of Department, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, Dallas, Texas, 1999-2007
Reviewer: AERA SIG - Critical Issues in Curriculum and Cultural Studies
Reviewer: Association for Science Teacher Education - Equity and Diversity