About Me

I am an Assistant Professor of STEAM Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previously, I was a learning scientist at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. I am also an affiliated researcher with the Learning Media Design Center at Carnegie Mellon University and UPCLOSE at the University of Pittsburgh. A recent version of my CV is here. My email is peterwardrip at gmail dot com.

I design and study ambitious learning experiences in and out of school.


I have been interested in teaching and learning ever since I started college. When I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, I became a high school Latin and Reading  teacher: first at Washington Park High School in Racine, Wisconsin and then Bloomington High School South in Bloomington, Indiana.

After Bloomington, I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, designed and facilitated teacher trainings in the Republic of Armenia through the US Peace Corps, and earned a master’s degree in Human Ecology from the Centre for Human Ecology in Edinburgh, Scotland. I returned to the Midwest to work as a researcher at Northwestern University providing technical assistance for school reform projects and developing project-based instructional units.

At Pitt, I worked with Louis Gomez and Phillip Herman to integrate technology with instruction at a partnership school, and studied data-informed instruction in a charter school network. With Jenn Russell and Louis Gomez, I studied how to initiate and support organizational networks in education. And more recently, I have been studying and designing badging systems to support learners’ motivation. With Lisa Brahms, I currently study learning and how to facilitate learning in makerspaces.

I have been a summer fellow at the Frameworks Institute, a summer fellow at the DML Summer Institute and a summer researcher with RAND in Pittsburgh. As a researcher, I am affiliated with the Learning Media Design Center,  LRDC, and UPCLOSE. You can see some of my papers at google scholar.

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