For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Mary Jo Grdina - Drexel University Clinical Professor for MS in Teaching Learning and Curriculum
Clinical Professor
Department Chair for Teaching, Learning & Curriculum Programs

Mary Jo Grdina, PhD


PhD, Case Western Reserve University
MS, Purdue University
BS, Notre Dame College of Ohio

Program Affiliation

MS, Teaching, Learning, & Curriculum
BS, Secondary Education
  • Grdina, M.J. (2009, November). The Awesome Task of Evaluation: Who Holds the Responsibility? Educational Leadership, 67(3).
  • “Site Specificity in the Singlet Oxygen/Trisubstituted Olefin Reaction,” with L.M. Stephenson and M. Orfanopoulos, J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 101, 275 (1979).
  • “A Convenient Synthetic Sequence for the Stereoselective Deuterium Labeling of Olefins in the Allylic Position,” with L.M. Stephenson and M. Orfanopoulos, J. Org. Chem. 44, 2936 (1979).
  • “Stereochemical Dependence of Isotope Effects in the Singlet Oxygen - Olefin Reaction,”with L. M. Stephenson and M. Orfanopoulos, J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 101, 3111 (1979)
  • “Concerning Zwitterionic Perepoxides or Diradical Intermediates in the Singlet Oxygen - Olefin Ene Reaction,” with L. M. Stephenson and M. Orfanopoulos, Tetrahedron Letters, 4351 (1979).
  • “The Mechanism of the Ene Reaction Between Singlet Oxygen and Olefins,” with L. M. Stephenson and M. Orfanopoulos, Accts. Chem. Res. 13, 419 (1980)
  • “Onium Ylide Chemistry. 1. Bifunctional Acid” Base Catalyzed Conversion of Heterosubstituted Methanes into Ethylene and Derived Hydrocarbons. The Onium Ylide Mechanism of the C1 - C2 Conversion,” with George Olah, et. al., J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 106, 2143 (1984).
  • Science Education
  • Preparation and Professional Development of Science Educators
  • Informal Science Education
  • Physics in Philadelphia
  • Diversity Discourse in On-Line Courses
  • Drexel University, Goodwin College of Professional Studies, School of Education
    Associate Clinical Professor (2003-present)
  • Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
    Kleckner Scientist in Residence (2012)
  • Montclair Public Schools (Montclair, NJ)
    Supervisor, Math & Science (2002-03)
  • Kinnelon Public Schools (Kinnelon, NJ)
    Lead Teacher, Math/Science & Technology (1999-2002)
  • Kinnelon Public Schools
    Teacher, Chemistry and Physics (1986-1999)
  • Woodbury High School (NJ)
    Teacher, Chemistry and Physics (1983-86)
  • Crossroads School for the Performing Arts and Sciences (Santa Monica, CA)
    Teacher, Chemistry and Physics (1982)
  • University of Southern California, Hydrocarbon Research Institute
    Postdoctoral Research Assistant (1980-81)
  • Oberlin College
    Visiting Assistant Professor, Chemistry
  • Notre Dame College
    Assistant Professor, Chemistry (1974-79)


  • Rethinking Learning: Teacher Educators Reflect on Teaching Diversity Online. 33rd Annual Ethnography in Education Research Forum, Feb. 2012.
  • Looking in the Mirror: Instructors’ Reflections on the Multicultural Countenance of Online Courses. 21st Annual International NAME Conference, Nov. 2011.
  • Physics at the Art Museum. Philadelphia Museum of Art Educator Series, April 2011.
  • Physics at the Art Museum; Physics at Franklin Square Playground. Philadelphia Science Festival Presentations, April 2011.
  • The Creative Educator. Keynote Address for the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, Oct. 2010.

I joined the faculty of the School of Education of Drexel University in 2003 and am currently a clinical professor and chair of the Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum department. My journey to the School of Education is a little unique in that I did not study education in graduate school. My PhD is in organic chemistry. This degree led to a long career as a science educator on the high school and the college levels and administrative curricular work in New Jersey public schools.

When I came to Drexel, I continued my projects and interest in how learning science can take place in informal settings. While a high school physics teacher, I used grant money from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to explore Physics on Fifth Avenue. Most recently, through a grant from Subaru of America, I developed Physics at the Art Museum, an app that explores the role of science in art.

I currently live in Philadelphia and spend time doting on two beautiful grandchildren and perfecting ballroom dancing skills. I took up ballroom dancing six years ago and have gone to several competitions. It is my way of exercising and exploring the physics of dancing!