ATLANTA – Ashlee Lee, a Ph.D. candidate in Mercer University’s College of Education, was recently selected to participate as a speaker in the National Math + Science Initiative teacher professional development program.

Lee’s presentation focused on authentic ways to foster and develop culturally responsive problem-based learning (PBL) in K-12 settings. This approach focuses on the students’ lens based on their values, customs, experiences and accomplishments.

Her talk introduced participants to the research behind PBLs and culturally relevant pedagogy and provided them with topic ideas and examples based on her experience as a STEM coach in Atlanta Public Schools (APS) implementing culturally relevant PBLs.

“Culturally relevant pedagogy is a theoretical model that is more relevant today in education than ever before,” Lee said. “As an educator teaching such diverse populations, it is important that I create learning experiences that are meaningful and engaging while affirming and appreciating students’ experiences, culture and communities.”

Lee is a full-time Ph.D. candidate in the Tift College of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction Program with a focus in mathematics education.

She is also a graduate research fellow in Mercer’s STEM Education and Innovation (SEI) Lab, where she coordinates STEM outreach programs focused on broadening participation in STEM for underserved students in Metro Atlanta and Central Georgia.

Previously, Lee served as STEM coach at Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy in APS. 

“Ashlee brings diverse experiences in K-12 schools, a commitment to equity and keen curiosity to the SEI Lab,” said Dr. Susan Cannon, assistant professor of elementary and middle grades education and a faculty member in Mercer’s SEI Lab. “Among other projects in SEI Lab, she will work with me to refine the three-course K-5 mathematics endorsement program this fall to build in meaningful and culturally responsive learning experiences for our candidates.”

About the College of Education

Mercer University’s Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University’s two regional academic centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. Named for the former women’s college that merged with Mercer in 1986, the College of Education offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Educator,” which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. For more information, visit