Gund Fellow, Associate Professor, Department of Education

Leon Walls is an Associate Professor of Elementary Science Education in the College of Education and Social Services (CESS) at the University of Vermont. His research and teaching expertise focus on the nature of science views of young children, particularly with respect to young children of color; education for sustainable development; and race and racism in the U. S.

Walls has purposely grounded his research in U. S. K-12 classrooms to better understand the views, beliefs, and scientific epistemology that young learners form about science and scientists as they live and learn within a preferential, hierarchical, and inequitable system, based upon skin color. Walls' ultimate goal is to re-imagine a science teaching and learning agenda that not only includes sustainability and environmental literacy, but one that also includes traditionally excluded populations of color.

Research and/or Creative Works

Co-PI (Proposal Title: Inquiry-Based STEM Activities in After-Care Programs)
Co-PI (Project Title: Develop Academia-Navy-Defense Industry Collaborative STEM Education  and Workforce Program on Radar Technologies)



  • Walls, L. (2017). Equitable research: A bridge too far? Cultural Studies of Science Education,12 (2), 493-503.
  • Walls, L. (2016). Awakening a dialogue: A critical race theory analysis of U. S. nature of science research from 1967 to 2013. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 53(10), 1546–1570.
  • Walls, L. (2014). Females of color in science: The play within a play. In M. M. Atwater, M. Russell, & M. Butler (Eds.), Multicultural Science Education: Preparing Teachers for Equity and Social Justice (pp. 41-59). New York: Springer.
  • Walls, L., Buck, G. A., & Akerson, V. L. (2013). Race, culture, gender and nature of science in elementary settings. In J. A. Bianchini, V. L. Akerson, A. Calabrese Barton, O. Lee, & A. J. Rodriguez (Eds.), Moving the equity agenda forward (pp. 131-151). New York: Springer.
  • Walls, L. (2012). Third grade African American students’ views of the nature of science.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(1), 1- 37.

Associations and Affiliations

  • Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE)
  • National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST)
  • National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
  • Environmental Education Association of Indiana (EEAI)
  • Sustainability Faculty Fellow
  • Academic Integrity Council
  • Faculty Senate
  • President's Commission on Inclusive Excellence (PCIE)
  • CESS Diversity Strategic Action Committee

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Science education, nature of science, critical race theory, equity, social justice, sustainability 


  • PhD, Geoenvironmental Science Education, Purdue University
  • MA, Educational Policy and Leadership, Marquette University
  • BS, Electrical Engineering, St. Mary's University


  • (802) 777-6794
Office Location:

532 Waterman Building