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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  • Commonwealth Chemistry Congress 2020

    Commonwealth Chemistry Congress 2020

    Prof. Bongers was selected to represent Canada at the inaugural Commonwealth Chemistry Congress in Trinidad and Tobago! The theme of this first congress is ‘Partnership for the Goals‘ and she will present our work in sustainable chemistry education.

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  • 2019 Poster Presentations

    2019 Poster Presentations

    Katie and Josh gave excellent poster presentations last week about their 4th year research projects. Nice work!

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  • Prof. W. Stephen McNeil visits Queen’s Chem

    We hosted Prof. W. Stephen McNeil from UBC Okanagan Steve gave a talk about his redesign of the chemistry curriculum at UBC Okanagan, and research to study the effects of their changes. His talk, “Context, Content, and Concept: Assessment of a Strategic Redesign of a First-Year Chemistry Curriculum”, generated a lot of discussion and questions!

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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.