Amanda smiling and holding her dog

I’m Amanda Bongers, a chemist and researcher studying how people learn.

I am an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University, where I lead a research laboratory. Before this, I did educational and neuroscience research as a post-doc at uOttawa & the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Institute. I have a PhD in organic chemistry and a BSc in biochemistry.

Latest Posts

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  • Our research is now funded by NSERC!

    Our research is now funded by NSERC!

    It’s been difficult to keep this news under wraps… the Government of Canada officially announced the NSERC Discovery Grant results, and our research program was funded! We’ll use to funds to study cognition in chemistry, specifically exploring how the brain encodes and manipulates scientific models.

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  • Some good news!

    Welcome to the new students joining the group (remotely) this summer 🌞 Welcome to Manisha Blaskevitch, a student entering her 4th year in chemistry, and congratulations for being awarded an NSERC-USRA for this summer! And welcome to Alex Hemmerich, a 2nd year Concurrent Education student who won a Queen’s USSRF fellowship for his summer research […]

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  • Undergrad thesis presentations

    What a weird way to end the semester! Congratulations to Josh and Katie who pulled through with fantastic virtual presentations of their thesis work. Josh wrapped up analyzing his pilot eye-tracking data with some very cool findings for us to explore in future work! Katie completed a huge amount of work with her in-depth textbook […]

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Chemistry, Cognition, and Learning

Amanda’s research group studies how chemistry is taught and how people learn. Our lab is interdisciplinary and bridges the social sciences with cognitive science and neuroscience.


When people learn, they are processing information: encoding, retrieving, and using information to make decisions. Research in our lab explores how people learn in chemistry, where we rely on models and diagrams since molecules are invisible to the eye. We ask questions like:

  • How do novices encode diagrams, and what does this reveal about learning?
  • What neural processes are involved?
  • What skills are needed to learn in chemistry, and do they overlap with other sciences or the arts?
  • How can educators design materials or activities to help students learn?

Learn more about our team

A woman points to a computer screen showing eye-tracking fixations overlayed on a chemical structure.