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Mary Jo Grdina - Drexel University Clinical Professor for MS in Teaching Learning and Curriculum
Professor Emerita

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. 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!