PhD STEM Education, Tufts University, 2023
MS STEM Education, Tufts University, 2017
BS Mechanical Engineering & Applied Mathematics, Tufts University, 2013


Dr. Robert Hayes is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO). He completed his PhD in STEM Education at Tufts University with a research focus on when, why, and how students exercise agency in lab science investigations.

With Tufts CEEO, he manages an ongoing collaboration with Ke’yah Advanced Rural Manufacturing Alliance and schools in the Navajo and Hopi nations to expand engineering education in K-12.

Before pursuing education research, Rob developed curricula for and taught coding and making with grades 3-8 in the greater Seattle area. Outside of work he enjoys hiking, cooking, and playing board games.

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • Hayes, R. D. (2023). Epistemic Agency in Lab: When, Why, and How Introductory College Biology Students Direct their Own Science Investigations. (Publication ID: pending) [Dissertation, Tufts University].
  • Gouvea, J., Wagh, A., Hayes, R., & Simon, M. (2022). Hybrid Labs: How students use computer models to motivate and make meaning of experiments. In (T. Anderson, S. Gardner, N. Pelaez, Eds.) Trends in Teaching Experimentation in the Life Sciences: Putting research into practice to drive institutional change. C4-5. Springer.
  • Hayes, R., Gouvea, J., & Wagh, A. (2022). Leveraging Material Uncertainty to Support Students' Trajectories of Practice. In The Missing Materials in College Science Learning: Intersections of Materiality, Agency, and Disciplinary Inquiry (Related Paper Set). NARST 2022 International Conference: Vancouver, BC, Ca.
  • Hayes, R., Gouvea, J., & Wagh, A. (2022). Trajectories of Practice: Characterizing Students’ Decision Making Agency in Science Investigations. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2022) (pp. 2194–2195). Hiroshima, Japan: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
  • Hayes, R., & Gouvea, J. (2020). Destabilizing a target idea framing to expand epistemic agency. Published in the proceedings of the International Conference for the Learning Sciences, 2020.
  • Hayes, R., Gouvea, J., & Wagh, A. (2017, June). Situated Understanding of Purpose: Explicating one student's shift from "confirming" to "making sense of" in an introductory science lab. Paper presented at Jean Piaget Society. San Francisco, CA.
  • Gouvea, J., Wagh, A., Simon, M., and Hayes, R. (2017, April). Forms of Hybrid Reasoning: How Undergraduate Students Integrate Computer Simulations and Physical Experiments in Hybrid Labs. Poster presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX.