Okhee Lee

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Okhee Lee
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Born1959 (age 64–65)
Daegu, South Korea
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materMichigan State University
  • Education scholar
  • Professor
  • Author
OrganizationNew York University
Known forEquity in STEM education for K-12 students, including English learners
Spouse(s)Michael B. Salwen

Okhee Lee (born 1959)[1] is an American education scholar and professor of childhood education.


Okhee Lee is a professor of childhood education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Lee is involved in establishing equity in the education of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and computational thinking for all K-12 students, including students learning English as an additional language, referred to as English learners by the U.S. Department of Education. She is an author of five books and more than 100 refereed journal articles on educational research, policy and practice.[2]

Lee has been ranked since 2015 as one of the most influential educational academics in the U.S. by Ed-Scholar Public Influence Rankings published by Education Week.[3]

Lee, who holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University,[4] began her career at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida, where she rose to professor in the school of education.[5] In 2011, Lee went to New York University, where she is a professor and the principal investigator of the NYU SAIL Research Lab.[6] With funding from the National Science Foundation, its team develops elementary school curriculum materials and teacher professional development resources that support science learning, language learning, and computational thinking for all students, including English learners.[7]


Lee’s recent publications call for collaboration among educators, scholars, and policymakers to ensure that English language proficiency standards are used in a conceptually sound and practically feasible manner. The AERA invited Lee to discuss the significance of her 2019 study, “Aligning English Language Proficiency Standards with Content Standards: Shared Opportunity and Responsibility Across English Learner Education and Content Areas,” in a published video.[8][9][10][11]

At present her research:

  1. addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM, including computational thinking, that is grounded in contemporary theoretical perspectives;
  2. integrates multiple education disciplines on behalf of all students, especially English learners; and
  3. connects to educational policy and practice at the national level.

Lee’s first two decades of research, starting in the early 1990s, established her as a leader in science education and equity. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, her research grew to large-scale intervention research[12] to promote science learning for English learners across the four largest school districts in Florida.[13]

Lee was named to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) writing team and was leader of the NGSS Diversity and Equity Team from 2011 to 2013.[14] At the same time, she was a member of the steering committee for the Understanding Language Initiative at Stanford University.

Selected publications

  • Lee, O., & Stephens, A. (2020). English learners in STEM subjects: Contemporary views on STEM subjects and language with English learners. Educational Researcher.
  • Lee, O. (2019). Aligning English language proficiency standards with content standards: Shared opportunity and responsibility across English learner education and content areas. Educational Researcher, 48(8), 534-542.
  • Lee, O. (2018). English language proficiency standards aligned with content standards. Educational Researcher, 47(5), 317-327.
  • Lee, O. (2017). Common Core State Standards for ELA/literacy and Next Generation Science Standards: Convergences and discrepancies using argument as an example. Educational Researcher, 46(2), 90-102.
  • Lee, O., Quinn, H., & Valdés, G. (2013). Science and language for English language learners in relation to Next Generation Science Standards and with implications for Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics. Educational Researcher, 42(4), 223-233.
  • Fradd, S. H., & Lee, O. (1999). Teachers’ roles in promoting science inquiry with students from diverse language backgrounds. Educational Researcher, 28(6), 14-20, 42.
  • Lee, O., & Fradd, S. H. (1998). Science for all, including students from non-English language backgrounds. Educational Researcher, 27(4), 12-21.


  • Distinguished Service to Science Education Award, National Science Teaching Association, 2020[15]
  • Inaugural Distinguished Researcher Award, Korean-American Educational Researchers Association, 2019[16]
  • Division K Innovations in Research on Equity and Social Justice in Teacher Education Award, American Educational Research Association. 2019[17]
  • Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the Committee for Scholars of Color in Education, American Educational Research Association, 2003[18]


  1. Congress, The Library of. "LC Linked Data Service: Authorities and Vocabularies (Library of Congress)". id.loc.gov. Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  2. "Okhee Lee". NYU Steinhardt. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  3. Hess, Rick. "The 2020 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings". Education Week - Rick Hess Straight Up. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  4. "Okhee Lee-Salwen Learns t". Giving to Michigan State University. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  5. "Momentum2: Okhee Lee-Salwen". www.momentum2.miami.edu. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  6. "People". NYU SAIL RESEARCH LAB. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  7. "Projects". NYU SAIL RESEARCH LAB. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkDi0rNGuDs&feature=youtu.be
  9. Lee, Okhee (2019-10-03). "Aligning English Language Proficiency Standards With Content Standards: Shared Opportunity and Responsibility Across English Learner Education and Content Areas". Educational Researcher. 48 (8): 534–542. doi:10.3102/0013189X19872497.
  10. Mitchell, Corey. "For English-Learners to Excel, More Collaboration Needed, Researcher Argues". Education Week - Learning the Language. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  11. News, The PIE. "US: English learners studying STEM being "let down" says NYU professor". thepienews.com. Retrieved 2020-05-26. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  12. Lee, Okhee; Krajcik, Joseph (2012). "Large-scale interventions in science education for diverse student groups in varied educational settings". Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 49 (3): 271–280. Bibcode:2012JRScT..49..271L. doi:10.1002/tea.21009. ISSN 1098-2736.
  13. Lee, Okhee; Maerten‐Rivera, Jaime; Penfield, Randall D.; LeRoy, Kathryn; Secada, Walter G. (2008). "Science achievement of english language learners in urban elementary schools: Results of a first-year professional development intervention". Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 45 (1): 31–52. Bibcode:2008JRScT..45...31L. doi:10.1002/tea.20209. ISSN 1098-2736.
  14. "NGSS Writing Team Member: Okhee Lee | Next Generation Science Standards". www.nextgenscience.org. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  15. "National Science Teachers Association Announces Recipients of its 2020 Teacher Awards Program". www.businesswire.com. 2020-06-09. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  16. "NYU Professor Okhee Lee Named Distinguished Researcher". NYU Steinhardt. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  17. "Division Awards". www.aera.net. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  18. "Committee on Scholars of Color in Education Awards". www.aera.net. Retrieved 2020-07-09.

External links

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