University of California, Riverside

Faculty Profile System

Kinnari Atit

Kinnari Atit

Assistant Professor

Graduate School of Education
2219 Sproul Hall
(951) 827-6008

Research Areas

Spatial Thinking and STEM Learning and Instruction  


B.A., Psychology, The George Washington University

Ph.D., Psychology, Temple University


Kinnari Atit is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Temple University. After receiving her doctorate, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University and also at Northwestern University. Her areas of research include the intersection of spatial thinking and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. More specifically, her work focuses on understanding the role of spatial thinking skills in STEM domains, and also on identifying how to bolster and develop STEM-relevant skills in students.

Current Curriculum Vitae


Selected Publications

  • Atit, K., Miller, D., Newcombe, N. S., & Uttal, D. H. (in press). Teachers’ spatial skills across disciplines and education levels: Exploring nationally representative data. Archives of Scientific Psychology.
  • Atit, K., Ramey, K. E., Uttal, D. H., & Olzewski-Kubulius, P. M. (2017). Integrating engineering in K-8 Classrooms: A method of identifying and developing strong spatial skills. In A. Cotabish & D. Dailey (Eds.), Engineering Instruction for High-Ability Learners in K-8 Classrooms (pp. 189-204).
  • Atit, K., Weisberg, S., Newcombe, N., & Shipley, T. F. (2016). Learning to interpret topographic maps: Understanding layered spatial information. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 1(2), 1-18.
  • Atit, K., Gagnier, K., & Shipley, T. F., (2015). Students’ gestures aid penetrative thinking. Journal of Geoscience Education, 63, 66-72.
  • Atit, K ., Shipley, T. F., & Tikoff, B. (2014). What do a geologist’s hands tell you? A framework for classifying spatial gestures in science education. In D. Montello, K. Grossner, & D. Janelle (Eds.), Space in Mind: Concepts for Spatial Learning and Education. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Atit, K ., Shipley, T. F., & Tikoff, B. (2013). Twisting space: Are rigid and non-rigid mental transformations separate spatial skills? Cognitive Processing, 14 (2) , 163-173.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Graduate School of Education
1207 Sproul Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5234
Fax: (951) 827-3942


Last Modified: 4/2/18