Larisa A. White, M.S.Ed., Ph.D.

(née Larisa Naples)

Founder & Headmistress of Quercus Academy

Educator, author, and independent scholar with 25+ years combined experience in curriculum design, teaching, educational evaluation and assessment, focused on the neurobiology of the learning process, and the art of pedagogy that makes learning fun.


C.V. in Brief:


Ph.D. in Engineering & Public Policy
Carnegie Mellon University (1996)

M.S. in Education
SUNY College at Brockport (1993)

B.S. in Materials Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1988)

Employment History

Founder and Headmistress of Quercus Academy (2016-present)

Stay-at-Home Mom – Belmont, CA (2011-2016)

Self-Employed playwright – Belmont, CA (2008-2011)

Independent Educational Evaluation Consultant
d.b.a. Larisa M Naples, Ph.D. & LMN Evaluations
Pittsburgh, PA & Belmont, CA (1996-2007)

Research Associate
Learning Research & Development Center (LRDC),
Pittsburgh, PA  (1996–1997)

Teaching Assistant & Instructor
Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA (1993–1996)

Adjunct Professor of Physics
Rochester Institute of Technology,
Rochester, NY (1992–1993)

Secondary Science & Technology Teacher
Dundee Public School,
Dundee, NY (1991–1992)

Past Clients for Educational Consulting Work

Carnegie Mellon University
Chabot College
Kentucky Center for the Arts
National Conference of Governors’ Schools
National Science Foundation
Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences
Pennsylvania State University
San Francisco State University
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara County Office of Education
University of Pittsburgh
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

A Sampling of Past Projects

Interdisciplinary Math & Science Initiative Program Evaluation: Assessed the effectiveness of a new instructional model and curriculum for improving student interest levels and educational outcomes in technical disciplines. Evaluated the processes by which the new instructional model and curriculum were designed, implemented, and supported. (Chabot College, 8/02–1/07)

‘Engineering Education Scholars Workshop’ Program Evaluation: Evaluated the curriculum, pedagogy, educational outcomes and long-term impacts of a workshop program designed to teach pedagogy fundamentals & mentoring skills to new engineering faculty. (CMU, 5/96–4/01)

‘Common Knowledge: Pittsburgh’ (CK:P) Project Evaluation: Managed the CK:P project evaluation, studying the educational, social and political issues surrounding the integration of Internet-based activities into K-12 education. (University of Pittsburgh, 8/96–8/97)

‘Carnegie Mellon Action Plan’ (CMAP) Summer Program: Designed and taught a five-week, transition program for engineering freshmen from ethnic minorities. Integrated discovery learning, cooperative learning, and journaling strategies to foster the development of problem solving skills, team work skills, and a process of self-reflection about the learning process. (CMU, Summer ‘95)

‘Careers in Applied Science and Technology’ (CAST) Summer Program: Designed and taught workshops for an NSF summer program for high school teachers and gifted high school students in science, technology and society. Included debates, case studies and role-playing scenarios. (CMU, ’94, ’95)

University Freshman Physics Curriculum Design: Introduced discovery learning and portfolio-based assessment activities into university physics lab curricula, resulting in significantly increased quality of student work. (Rochester Institute of Technology, ‘92–’93 school year)

A Sampling of Publications

P. S. Steif and L.M. Naples. (2003). “Design and Evaluation of Problem Solving Course Modules for Mechanics of Materials,” Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 92, No.3.

Murphy, Kelly; Naples, Larisa; Schofield, Janet; Davidson, Ann; and Stocks, Janet. (1997) “Internet and Inter-Group Relations: A Quick-Fix Myth” Presented at the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, APA Convention, Chicago, IL, 8/97.

Murphy, Kelly; Naples, Larisa; Schofield, Janet; Davidson, Ann; and Stocks, Janet. (1997) “Difference Blindness/Blindness Difference: Student Explorations of ‘Disability’ over the Internet.” Presented at the AERA Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 3/97.

Naples, Larisa M. (1996) Outcomes-Based Evaluation for Educational Programs In Engineering: A Focus on the Construction Industry’s Needs. (Doctoral Dissertation) Pennsylvania: Carnegie Mellon University.

Naples, Larisa M. (1995). “Evaluating Engineering Education: A Stakeholder-Driven, Outcomes-Based Approach.” Proceedings of the 1995 ASEE Conference on Engineering Education. Washington, DC: ASEE.

Naples, Larisa M. (1993). A Study of the Parallels Between Expatriate Culture Shock and the Reactions of Students Entering the Scientific Community (Masters Thesis). New York: SUNY College at Brockport.

Ongoing Projects as a Mentor-Scholar at Quercus Academy

• Ecosystem Restorationist (California Mixed-Evergreen Forest & Coastal Sage Scrub Biomes) • Biointensive Vegetable Gardener • Organic Fruit Farmer • Celebrant of the Coast Range Seasons (Flowers, Fog, Fire, Rain) • Crochet Artist • Poet • Playwright • Songwriter • Storyteller • also known as “The Coast Range Druid” •