Donna Farland-Smith

Associate Professor Education, Mansfield Campus

Program Areas:

  • Technology Education, STEM
  • Science, STEM

(419) 755-4305


Donna Farland-Smith is an associate professor of science education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Ohio State's Mansfield campus. 

Her research is focused on exploring children's perceptions of scientists as well as identifying successful techniques to support children's personal science identities. Through her research, she has created ways to analyze and score children's drawings of scientists, developed interventions and examined students' perceptions of scientists by building the Enhanced Draw-a-Scientist Test.

Farland-Smith also created the Side by Side with Scientists summer camp. The camp has provided opportunities for 300 girls to experience working alongside scientists. The camp has furthered her research on middle school girls' attitudes and persceptions of scientists.

Prior to joining Ohio State, Farland-Smith taught science to children in grades K-12 and has written and published books to inspire children to understand and appreciate scientists and their work. She also is the founder of The Little Buckeye Children's Museum, a stimulating and fun place for families of all kinds to enjoy playing and learning together. The museum was built in 2010 and currently has more than 100 sponsors and more than 30 exhibits.


  • EdD, Science and Mathematics Education, The University of Massechusetts, 2003
  • MA, Science Education, Fitchburg State College, 1995
  • BS, Elementary Education, Natural Science, Worcester State College, 1993

Research Interests

Research Summary

Farland-Smith's research has focused on exploring children’s perceptions of scientists as well as identifying successful techniques for supporting children’s personal science identities. She has created a way to analyze and score children’s drawings of scientists (DAST Rubric), developed interventions (trade books), and probed students’ perceptions about scientists with the development of a new tool the Enhanced Draw-a-Scientist Test (E-DAST).

Her interest in supporting children in developing science identities led to research within a science summer camp for girls she has designed and directed for six years. The ‘Side by Side with Scientists’ camp has provided an opportunity for 300 girls to experience working alongside scientists. Farland-Smith's research in the camp has focused on middle school girls’ attitudes and perceptions of scientists who are working side by side with scientists as well as the characteristics of scientists that most positively affect the girls'perceptions of scientists. 

Farland-Smith's current research includes Preschoolers Exposure to Process Skills, Questioning, & Scientists in the Sid the Science Kid Television Show and an accepted chapter entitled, Representations of Scientists and Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), which will be published in 2015. I have several other research studies in progress involving young children and their perceptions of scientists as related to multimedia.

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

  1. Farland-Smith, D. (2015, in press). Struggles of Underrepresented Girls as they Become Women: Understanding How Race & Gender that Impact Personal Science Identity Construction. Research on Women and Education, Volume 7, Editors, Barbara Polnick, Beverly Irby, Julia Ballenger.
  2. Farland-Smith, D. (2015, in press) Comparing Chinese & American Elementary Teachers’ Beliefs’ about Inquiry-Based Science Teaching. Encyclopedia of Applied Learning Theory and Design in Modern Education.
  3. Farland-Smith, D. and  Ledger, A. (2015, in press). Examining the Relationship between Attitude Toward Science and Images of Scientists in Elementary, Middle & High School. Encyclopedia of Applied Learning Theory and Design in Modern Education.
  4. Farland-Smith, D. (2015, in press).I Can't Always Tell You What I Think about Scientists, but I Can Show You: Decoding Perceptions of Scientists from Students Too Young to Articulate and What These Illustrations Mean to Classroom Teachers. Edited by Phyllis Katz.
  5. Farland-Smith, D. (2015, in press).Learning about scientists outside traditional classroom settings: Understanding the complexities that contribute to home school students’ perceptions of scientists. Accepted as a chapterEncyclopedia of Applied Learning Theory and Design in Modern Education.
  6. Farland-Smith, D. (2015, in press).Mentoring girls in science: Eight case studies involving content specialists (scientists) & middle school girls.  Accepted as a chapter Innovative Professional Development Methods and Strategies for Stem Education.
  7. Farland-Smith, D. (2015, in press). Teaching Children to Think Critically about Scientists: Examining the Relationship between Representations of Scientists, Process Skills and Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). Accepted as a chapter to book publisher Information Age.
  8. Finson, K., and Farland-Smith, D. (2013). Applying Vosniadou’s conceptual change model to visualizations on conceptions of scientists. Accepted as a chapter to book publisher Information Age.

Peer-Reviewed Journals

  1. Farland-Smith, D..(2014, in press). Developing young scientists: Building process skills, questioning skills & the representation of scientists through television viewing and listening (Sid the Science Kid TV Show). Educational Practice & Innovation.
  2. Farland-Smith, D. (2014, in press).My daughter the scientist? Mother’s perceptions of shift in their daughter’s personal science identities. School Science Mathematics.
  3. Farland-Smith, D. (2014, in press).How Important Are Same-Gender Role Models to Middle School Girls? Five Characteristics of Mentors Who Sustain Middle-School Girls’ Interest in Science Careers. Journal of Education and Training.
  4. Farland-Smith, D., Finson, K.D., Boone, W., Yale, M. (2012). An investigation of media influences on elementary students representations of scientists. Journal of Elementary Science Education 25, 355-366.
  5. Farland-Smith, D. (2012). Personal & social interactions between young girls and scientists: Examining critical aspects for identity construction. Journal of Science Teacher Education 23,(1), 1-18.
  6. Farland-Smith. D. (2012). Development and field test of a rubric for assessing the draw-a-scientist test. School Science and Mathematics 112, (2), 109-116.
  7. Bradley, Joan. & Farland-Smith, D. (2010). When accommodations designed for one benefit all. The Science Teacher, 77 (3) 33-37.
  8. Farland-Smith, D. (2009).Stereotypes, cultures & scientists: A cross-national comparative study of eastern & western elementary students’ perceptions of scientists. Journal of Elementary Science Education, (21) 4. 
  9. Farland-Smith, D. and McComas, W. F. (2009).Teaching the human dimension of science. Science and Children, 46(9), 32-35.
  10. Farland-Smith, D. (2009). Side-by-side with scientists: Middle school girls’ demonstrate signs of success in constructing positive identities with the human endeavor of science. School Science and Mathematics, 109 (7).
  11. Farland, D. (2008). Close, closer, closest. Science & Children, 45(6), 40-42.
  12. Farland, D. (2006). Peanut butter & jelly science. Science Scope, 29(7), 10.