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Math Practice for Physics: Building Math Fluency in an Introductory Undergraduate Physics Context: Arizona State University

David Meltzer

[email protected]

With support from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR), this project aims to serve the national interest by improving math fluency in introductory physics courses. The goal is to use research-based principles, together with methods from cognitive psychology and education research, to develop, implement, and assess a set of practice assignments called Math Practice. Math Practice is based on Essential Skills, an existing online platform used at Ohio State University. The initial scope of this project is to advance knowledge about how to address students' difficulties with math skills that are needed for success in introductory physics courses. This initial work will involve the 15,000 students in introductory physics courses at the target schools. However, because this intervention is both low-cost and logistically simple to implement, it could potentially improve performance and retention of the 500,000 students enrolled each year in physics classes nationwide. Furthermore, although the Math Practice application will be designed to help all students, it is likely to especially help underprepared students succeed and continue in physics courses. <br/><br/>The design of this proposed intervention is based on well-established research-based learning methods, including spaced and interleaved mastery practice with immediate feedback. This method is expected to automate and thereby reduce the cognitive load involved in applying basic math procedures in physics. Reducing cognitive load is important since physics tends to have complex, perceptually rich notation and contexts. The experimental design will include control conditions and "A/B testing" to explore optimal practice tasks and formats, such as comparison of alternative solutions and combinations of generic and context-rich format practice. The assessments will include validated math instruments, course performance, and motivational survey scales. These assessments will be used for iterative improvement of materials, investigation of areas of student difficulty, and investigation of potentially important student-level factors of performance and motivation. As a result, the practice tasks and assignment design will have a strong empirical and theoretical basis. Further, this project is expected to advance knowledge about student difficulties with essential math skills and the mechanisms underlying these difficulties, in an introductory physics context. In addition, it is expected to advance knowledge of the effectiveness of several specific kinds of empirically and theoretically promising math practice tasks. Finally, the project is expected to determine the extent to which student characteristics and motivations interact with this intervention. Thus, it will potentially provide information about the mechanisms of the difficulties and additional avenues for productive interventions. Given that math is essential in all STEM disciplines, the information learned in this project could potentially extend to all of STEM education. For example, the difficulties students have with symbolic notation in introductory physics are also likely to be encountered in other areas of STEM. The NSF IUSE: EHR Program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. Through the Engaged Student Learning track, the program supports the creation, exploration, and implementation of promising practices and tools.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

AwardsFreedom CheteniSchool Administrators ResearchThe Superintendents Journal

Workshops for Faculty and Staff Development in Implementing Physics Advanced Laboratory Experiments: American Association of Physics Teachers

Lowell McCann

[email protected]

With support from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR), this project aims to serve the national interest by conducting a series of workshops to enable physics faculty and staff members to adopt improved experiments in their undergraduate advanced laboratories. These faculty and staff members are often assigned to teach these advanced laboratory courses in areas beyond their own research specialty. The instructors often lack the expertise to understand the background of the labs, design the labs, or best integrate the labs with other instruction. This project is especially important for instructors in small schools who often lack access to the facilities and expertise found in larger institutions. The project will create a mobile workshop capable of bringing workshops to these locations as well.<br/><br/>Previous workshops included quantum mechanics experiments with photons, nuclear magnetic resonance, quantum analogs, Hall effect, gravitational wave interferometry, graphene, high Tc superconductivity, using field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and open cavity helium neon laser experiments. The topics for the workshops supported by this award will be governed by demand and will include newly developed upper division laboratory experiments. The effectiveness of the workshops will be evaluated by questionnaires distributed to the participants and mentors immediately after the workshops. There will also be a follow-up survey sent to the participants 1.5 years after the workshops. The questions will deal with the content and value of the workshops, if the participants implemented the featured experiment at their home institutions, and what was required to do so. The NSF IUSE: EHR Program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. Through the Engaged Student Learning track, the program supports the creation, exploration, and implementation of promising practices and tools.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

AwardsFreedom CheteniSchool Administrators ResearchThe Superintendents Journal

Math Practice for Physics: Building Math Fluency in an Introductory Undergraduate Physics Context: Ohio State University

Andrew Heckler

[email protected]

With support from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR), this project aims to serve the national interest by improving math fluency in introductory physics courses. The goal is to use research-based principles, together with methods from cognitive psychology and education research, to develop, implement, and assess a set of practice assignments called Math Practice. Math Practice is based on Essential Skills, an existing online platform used at Ohio State University. The initial scope of this project is to advance knowledge about how to address students' difficulties with math skills that are needed for success in introductory physics courses. This initial work will involve the 15,000 students in introductory physics courses at the target schools. However, because this intervention is both low-cost and logistically simple to implement, it could potentially improve performance and retention of the 500,000 students enrolled each year in physics classes nationwide. Furthermore, although the Math Practice application will be designed to help all students, it is likely to especially help underprepared students succeed and continue in physics courses. <br/><br/>The design of this proposed intervention is based on well-established research-based learning methods, including spaced and interleaved mastery practice with immediate feedback. This method is expected to automate and thereby reduce the cognitive load involved in applying basic math procedures in physics. Reducing cognitive load is important since physics tends to have complex, perceptually rich notation and contexts. The experimental design will include control conditions and "A/B testing" to explore optimal practice tasks and formats, such as comparison of alternative solutions and combinations of generic and context-rich format practice. The assessments will include validated math instruments, course performance, and motivational survey scales. These assessments will be used for iterative improvement of materials, investigation of areas of student difficulty, and investigation of potentially important student-level factors of performance and motivation. As a result, the practice tasks and assignment design will have a strong empirical and theoretical basis. Further, this project is expected to advance knowledge about student difficulties with essential math skills and the mechanisms underlying these difficulties, in an introductory physics context. In addition, it is expected to advance knowledge of the effectiveness of several specific kinds of empirically and theoretically promising math practice tasks. Finally, the project is expected to determine the extent to which student characteristics and motivations interact with this intervention. Thus, it will potentially provide information about the mechanisms of the difficulties and additional avenues for productive interventions. Given that math is essential in all STEM disciplines, the information learned in this project could potentially extend to all of STEM education. For example, the difficulties students have with symbolic notation in introductory physics are also likely to be encountered in other areas of STEM. The NSF IUSE: EHR Program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. Through the Engaged Student Learning track, the program supports the creation, exploration, and implementation of promising practices and tools.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

AwardsFreedom CheteniSchool Administrators ResearchThe Superintendents Journal

Goethite Internal Thermometry – Improvements and Applications: California Institute of Technology

Kenneth Farley

[email protected]

Earth's climate varies over timescales from tens of years to millions of years in response to factors such as the sun's output, the arrangement of continents, ocean circulation, and the composition of the atmosphere. Much of what we know about past climate comes from analysis of minerals that carry a record of environmental conditions under which they grew. For example, polar ice constitutes an archive of climate extending back hundreds of thousands of years, while the carbonate skeletons of marine organisms carry similar information extending to hundreds of millions of years ago. At present, little is known about environmental conditions on the continents in deep time, primarily because few materials are known that carry a record of paleoclimate and for which an accurate formation age can be determined. Recent work indicates that the mineral goethite, a common iron oxide produced during weathering of continental rocks, can be radiometrically dated and also contains a record of its formation temperature. This award will explore this new method of characterizing continental paleoclimate by developing an efficient and automated technique to assess goethite formation temperature, and, once established, will use that technique to refine the temperature calibration of the method and apply it to suites of dated goethite specimens spanning the last 66 million years from localities in Europe, Brazil, and Australia. The end product will be an improved analytical methodology and amongst the first multimillion year paleotemperature records from the continents. The work will support a graduate student and will also engage students from a local community college in both the science of the undertaking and in the development and programming of the automated analytical system to be developed.<br/><br/>Goethite (FeOOH) is formed when Fe-bearing minerals interact with oxygen-bearing ground and surface waters. In weathering environments, this very insoluble phase forms, survives and accumulates, becoming a major constituent of ferricretes, gossans, paleosols and laterites. Two recent advances suggest that goethite can provide a unique record of paleotemperatures in settings, such as continental interiors, where almost no alternative paleothermometer exists. First, using the (U-Th)/He method goethite can be dated with an uncertainty <5%. A compilation of more than 1500 dates reveals that goethite formation spans, almost without interruption, the entire Cenozoic Era (0-66 Ma). Second, the two crystallographically-distinct oxygen sites have a readily-measured temperature-dependent contrast in 18O/16O, allowing single-phase paleothermometry. This project will link these two advances by undertaking three tasks designed to improve and refine the goethite-internal thermometry method, and to apply it in a systematic way for the first time. Task 1 is to design and build a new oxygen extraction line that can process goethite specimens in a completely automated and efficient way. This is a critical step to permit the large number of oxygen isotopic analyses required by this project. Task 2 is to refine the calibration of the goethite internal thermometer by analyzing synthetic goethites grown under a more diverse range of temperature and chemical conditions than previous work. This task will improve the uncertainty on goethite-internal temperatures, and will identify any as-yet unrecognized secondary controls on derived temperatures. Task 3 consists of the first systematic investigation of the goethite internal thermometry archive. Three suites of already-dated goethites will be analyzed for paleotemperature (total ~100 samples): supergene goethites from a deeply weathered sulfide deposit in the Amazon basin, goethite pisoliths from Central Europe, and goethites from the enigmatic Channel Iron Deposits of Western Australia. From each of these localities we will obtain oxygen isotope data that continuously spans many millions of years. These records will allow the researchers to assess internal consistency of the goethite temperature estimates, and to document for the first time paleotemperatures at high temporal resolution over the entire Cenozoic from three different continents. A fourth task is designed to engage members of the community with this project and simultaneously to teach them a useful skill. The principal investigator will lead a 3-day short-course in Labview, a programming language that fundamentally enables the proposed work. Competitively-selected students participating in the course will include individuals from local high schools and/or community colleges. The short-course will introduce the science and the approaches of goethite-internal thermometry, and coding examples and exercises will be drawn from the proposed analytical work. At the end of the short course one of these students will be selected for a ten-week internship to develop/document Labview code for the proposed extraction line. More traditional Broader Impacts of this project include support for a PhD student, refinement and verification of an entirely new paleoclimate tool that can be broadly applied, and creation of new paleoclimate records from previously unstudied areas that will be useful in geoscience and beyond.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

AwardsFreedom CheteniSchool Administrators ResearchThe Superintendents Journal

CAREER: How female aggression evolves: scaling genomics and phenomics from individuals to species: Indiana University

Kimberly Rosvall

[email protected]

Animal behavior is an interdisciplinary science, but research that integrates genetic and physiological mechanisms across multiple species is limited, leaving uncertainty as to how behavioral diversity arises in nature. The research fills this knowledge gap by focusing on female-female aggression, a behavior that is widespread and beneficial in the animal kingdom, but poorly understood. This research will experimentally test how individual differences in aggression arise at the level of the brain. In addition, experiments and comparative analyses will explore whether the physiological and environmental drivers of aggression are conserved or unique across multiple species. These efforts will yield quantitative models on the origin of behavioral variation, including perspectives that connect multiple levels of biological complexity, from genes to the environment and from individuals to species. This research is coupled with an educational plan that injects writing into research-based curricula in animal behavior. Activities include writing exercises and training that will improve scientific comprehension, critical thinking and communication in undergraduate and graduate students. Freshmen and sophomores will also be guided through the full scientific process through a new writing intensive course-based research program using data collected here. These activities will generate lasting institutional programs for improved research and scientific education. By removing poor writing as a barrier to success, these activities will attract and retain diverse scientists, generating a better prepared workforce in animal behavior and allied biological disciplines. Dissemination of results to community groups and schools will further amplify these goals, improving science literacy and knowledge of animal behavior for the general public and specialists alike.<br/><br/>The goal of this research is to integrate mechanistic and functional perspectives on within- and among-species variation in female aggression to unveil how behavioral evolution unfolds. By contrasting neurogenomic responses to aggression at both individual and species levels, new data will reveal how the mechanisms generating behavioral variation are conserved across levels of biological organization. Together with phylogenetic analyses on the evolutionary drivers of female aggression across >30 species, this research will systematically test the degree of parallelism (or lack thereof) in behavioral evolution, including both functional and mechanistic perspectives. Earlier efforts to understand competitive traits in females have met with limited success, but the hypotheses tested previously were derived from research on male animals. Considering that female birds are the initial dispersers and therefore front-line responders to new environmental challenges, the studies on females are especially critical. The integrated research and educational plan offers an extraordinary opportunity to link function and mechanism of behavior over evolutionary time, while also changing the culture of scientific training in ways that feed back to advances in animal behavior and allied STEM fields. The writing-research activities directed at multiple levels in higher education will better prepare the future STEM workforce. Through the mentorship of undergrad, grad, and postdoctoral trainees, and new partnerships with a writing intensive course-based research experience, this grant facilitates exceptional training in integrative behavioral research and establishes self-sustaining programs that will generate advances at the interface of behavior, evolution, and genomics. This work is jointly funded by the Behavioral Systems Cluster in the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems and the Evolutionary Processes Cluster in the Division of Environmental Biology.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

AwardsFreedom CheteniSchool Administrators ResearchThe Superintendents Journal

Effect of Extreme Nanoconfinement on the Thermodynamics and Transport Phenomena in Multiphasic Nanocomposite Coatings: University of Pennsylvania

Daeyeon Lee

[email protected]

Due to their flexibility, low density and recyclability, polymer films and coatings are playing an increasingly important role in the regulation of gas transport in a wide range of applications such as gas barriers for food, beverage, microelectronics and medical device packaging. Adding nanoparticles and/or blending multiple polymers together have proven to be effective methods to tune gas transport properties of nanocomposite films. Adding high concentrations of nanoparticles, in particular, is a powerful approach for producing high performance gas barriers and gas separation membranes. In this work the investigators will produce polymer films with high nanoparticle loadings via solvent-driven infiltration of polymers (SIP) into layers of nanoparticles. In this process, layers of nanoparticles, sitting on top of a polymer layer, are filled with a solvent. Some of this solvent moves into the polymer layer and softens or plasticizes, the polymer material. Once the polymer is plasticized, it can move into the nanoparticle layer, filling in the gaps between nanoparticles, by attractive interactions with either the solvent or the nanoparticles. The investigators will study which of these interactions are most important for polymer infiltration and how to tune these interactions to obtain polymer films with high loadings of nanoparticles. These hard, solid nanoparticles maintain barriers which limit polymer's ability to expand. These constrained polymers are expected to exhibit improved gas barrier properties, making them attractive for various packaging applications.<br/><br/>The investigators hypothesize the dynamics and thermodynamics of polymer chains in the interstices of nanoparticle packings under extreme nanoconfinement will be dominated by the thermodynamics of the interfaces. Solvent-infiltration of polymers (SIP) provides an ideal platform to characterize the dynamics and thermodynamics of confined polymers and transport of gas molecules through a binary polymer phase under extreme nanoconfinement. This work will lead to fundamental understandings of how polymer-solvent-nanoparticle interactions affect the infiltration mechanism and dynamics, as well as the thermodynamics of polymers under extreme nanoconfinement. The dynamics and resulting structure of SIP will be studied using in situ spectroscopic ellipsometry as well as molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Efficient field-theoretic simulations, including self-consistent field theory, will be used to understand the thermodynamics in the packings and guide both the experiments and MD simulations. The structure-transport property relationship of SIP nanocomposites for different polymer molecular weight and polymer-nanoparticle interactions will be established by characterizing the structure using transmission electron microscopy, MD, and by testing the transport properties through quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation. Because theoretical frameworks to predict the dynamics and thermodynamics of SIP are not currently available, whenever possible, computation-based approaches will provide important guidelines for experimental conditions. The investigators will support involvement from underrepresented minority students by leading cooperative efforts with University of Puerto Rico-Humacao, Advancing Women in Engineering and Louise-Stoke Alliance for Minority Participation and Rachleff Scholars Program. The PIs also plan to develop educational programs and exhibits that showcase the nanocomposites with ultra-high loadings of natural nanomaterials with the help of undergraduate/graduate students for use during outreach activities organized through local high schools and science cafe events.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

AwardsFreedom CheteniSchool Administrators ResearchThe Superintendents Journal

Collaborative Research: Understanding Stellar Structure Using Lithium and New Steps Toward the Big Bang Lithium Abundance: Indiana University

Constantine Deliyannis

[email protected]

The abundance of Lithium, relative to Hydrogen, is a key prediction of Big Bang models of the early universe. Abundances of the elements can be measured using the absorption lines in stellar spectra. But Lithium can also be destroyed in stars when convection mixes surface material with the hotter stellar interiors. Low abundance of Lithium in stellar atmospheres is seen among stars where processes that deplete Lithium would not be expected to occur, and abundances are far lower than predicted for stars where such depletion processes are expected to be operating. This team will measure the abundance of Lithium in the atmospheres of a carefully selected sample of stars in order to better understand physical processes inside stars. They hope to determine whether the Sun is a normal or abnormal star for its mass and age, whether there is variation in Lithium destruction among supposedly identical stars, and better understand the disagreement between the Big Bang Lithium abundance inferred from the microwave background observations and that seen in stellar atmospheres. This is a collaborative effort among astronomers at four universities, including a predominantly undergraduate institution. This project will lead to at least one PhD thesis and extend the educational opportunities for undergraduates at the individual schools by integrating a team of students in a large-scale research program, using astronomical observatories in Arizona, California, and Australia.<br/><br/>The research team will extend and expand its spectroscopic studies of stars in open and globular clusters, emphasizing the old open clusters M67 and NGC188, and the nearest globular cluster, NGC6397. Their goals are (a) determine whether the Sun is a normal or abnormal star for its mass and age, (b) determine if there is variation in the physical mechanisms controlling Li destruction among supposedly identical stars, (c) pioneer studies on the role of stellar metal content in determining the level of Li-depletion, and (d) study the potential impact of stellar evolution on metal deficient stars of the halo, with implications for the true level of disagreement (if any) between the value of the Big Bang Li abundance inferred from the microwave background versus that inferred from halo dwarf surface Li abundances.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

AwardsFreedom CheteniSchool Administrators ResearchThe Superintendents Journal

REU Site: Integrated Design of Materials (IDM) in New York City (IDMinNYC): Research Foundation Of The City University Of New York (Lehman)

Donna McGregor

[email protected]

This Site is jointly funded by the Divisions of Chemistry and Materials Research in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) Directorate.<br/><br/>ON-TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION. The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site in Materials Science offers a unique opportunity for undergraduate (UG) students from across the nation to visit New York City and engage in a 10-week research program at a consortium of campuses at the City University of New York (CUNY), namely Lehman College, City College and the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center. The main objectives of the program are to 1) Introduce UG students to interdisciplinary, cutting-edge research methodologies in materials science, 2) Provide meaningful research experiences that integrate cutting-edge research with career planning and 21st century ?soft skills?, 3) Create an environment where students become part of a broader community of scientists to cultivate a sense of achievement and excitement, 4) Increase the awareness of career opportunities in science and engineering, and 5) Develop a culture of effective faculty mentorship. Participating faculty attend an annual mentors workshop centered on a collaborative mentoring model and focus on recruiting students from underrepresented groups. The activities help students grow as independent scientists and expand their interests to include careers in materials research where they will be employed in industry, academia or the private sector.<br/><br/>TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION. The REU site centers on the development of novel materials with chemical and biological applications in academic and industrial settings including electronics, energy, drug delivery and sensor technology. Projects are in one of two main areas: 1) The design of hard materials; two-dimensional doped semiconductors for opto- electronic devices, hybrid II-VI and III-V multiple quantum well/quantum dots for high-performance solar cells, CdSe ultra-small clusters for efficient energy storage and mobile Janus particles for applications as self-propelling particles. 2) The study of soft materials that self-assemble; quantum liquids for applications as environmental solutions, peptides that form proton transfer membranes for fuel cell applications, peptidic nanofibers for medical applications, sol-gels as anticorrosion materials and nanopatterning of organic hybrid materials for applications in both nanotechnology and medicine. Student participants obtain technical training, conduct independent research on an interdisciplinary project with two faculty mentors, write weekly research reports, engage in weekly meetings that alternate between research presentations and ?soft-skill? workshops, present their research findings at a research symposium with students from City College and Columbia University and participate in outreach activities with the local Bronx middle and high schools to promote scientific awareness in the community and address the national need for development and understanding of advanced materials to further technology, energy and health applications.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

AwardsFreedom CheteniSchool Administrators ResearchThe Superintendents Journal

ADVANCE Adaptation: Evidence-Informed Promotion of Inclusive Climate (EPIC) at IUPUI: Indiana University

Kathy Johnson

[email protected]

The IUPUI ADVANCE Adaptation project will improve institutional climate and promote inclusive leadership practices to address inequities in the representation, retention, and advancement of women, particularly women of color, in the STEM faculty. IUPUI is an urban, public, research university in Indianapolis. The Evidence-informed Promotion of Inclusive Climate (EPIC) project will adapt evidence-informed equity practices to the unique context of the IUPUI campus. The two project goals are: to develop strong, equity-minded leaders to foster authentically inclusive environments; and to transform department processes and practices to reduce inequities and improve climate. In order to accomplish these goals, the project team will implement various strategies including: quarterly half-day workshops that will become a STEM leadership learning community; departmental equity profiles based on quantitative and qualitative data and processes and practices to inform departmental enhancement activities; and accountability structures and practices to ensure that new practices addressing gender equity are implemented successfully and that positive change is sustained. <br/><br/>Project EPIC at IUPUI strategically integrates best practices in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of the IUPUI campus. The leadership training builds on the work of the University of Washington, which used quarterly leadership workshops to gather department chairs across the campus to discuss pertinent issues, capitalizing on the expertise of many individuals across the campus and providing a venue for the cross-pollination of ideas among colleagues in similar posts. This model will be expanded to include formal and informal leaders at multiple levels. The departmental enhancement activities build on the work of University of Colorado Boulder, where faculty work on departmental-specific challenges as a community of practice. The IUPUI project will test existing ADVANCE models in a novel context. Specifically, IUPUI is a core campus of Indiana University (IU), and the project team will share emerging best practices with the seven IU campuses, including the Schools of Medicine. IUPUI is also engaged in the NSF INCLUDES project called ASPIRE which has a goal of diversifying STEM faculty and promoting inclusive teaching practices. The projects are expected to be complementary for IUPUI but also provide an avenue for sharing project results with other institutions participating in the NSF INCLUDES community<br/><br/>The NSF ADVANCE program is designed to foster gender equity through a focus on the identification and elimination of organizational barriers that impede the full participation and advancement of diverse faculty in academic institutions. Organizational barriers that inhibit equity may exist in policies, processes, practices, and the organizational culture and climate. ADVANCE "Adaptation" awards provide support for the adaptation and adoption of evidence-based strategies to academic, non-profit institution of higher education as well as non-academic, non-profit organizations.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

AwardsFreedom CheteniSchool Administrators ResearchThe Superintendents Journal

REU Site: Undergraduate Biology Education Research Version 3 (UBERV3): University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc

Marguerite Brickman

[email protected]

This Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site at the University of Georgia will provide a nine-week summer undergraduate research experience in biology education research. Discipline-based education research in biology is a young field that has expanded to become a major driver of positive change in undergraduate biology teaching. Many biology education researchers have completed formal science education research training provided by a growing number of doctoral programs in biology education. This REU Site aims to broaden participation in biology education research by focusing on recruiting students who are first generation college students, from underrepresented groups, and from schools with limited research opportunities. This focus will contribute to both the number and diversity of students interested in entering formal biology education research graduate programs. As a result, it will contribute to growing and diversifying the field of biology education research, while increasing knowledge about biology teaching and learning. <br/><br/>All undergraduate students who participate in this REU will engage in high-quality, state-of-the-art, faculty-mentored undergraduate research. Students will select from a range of research projects that pose important questions that will develop their understanding of biology education research, as well as add theory and knowledge about biology teaching and learning. Students will engage in programmatic activities organized around three areas: a research strand, a professionalism strand, and an equity strand. Specific aims for student learning include developing and/or improving their ability to: use appropriate methods to collect, analyze, and critique data associated with biology education research; communicate their research findings in scientific formats; investigate issues of access and equity to scientific careers; outline a potential career pathway in or related to biology education research and other areas of science education research; and participate in a community of biology education researchers. The major intellectual merit of this project is based in its potential to contribute to biology education research. The broader impacts of this project include contributions to the talent pool of biology education researchers, which can lead to improvements in undergraduate STEM education. The REU program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in areas of research funded by NSF. This REU project is supported by NSF's Education & Human Resources Directorate Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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