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ATE Participant in laboratory ATE Participant in laboratory ATE Participant in workshop ATE Participant in workshop
 image credit: Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Impacts 2018-2019 book (


Welcome to DU(E-NEWS)!

NSF EHR’s Division of Undergraduate Education strives to promote excellence in undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for all students.

All interested in recent happenings in the DUE community are welcome to visit this page, which will have primarily three categories of posts: "What’s New in DUE," Highlights, and Findings.

Please let us know what you think by sending along a message to While we aren't able to respond in detail to every e-mail, we welcome hearing from you! When you write, please include "DU(E-NEWS)" in the subject line. You are also welcome to submit content for DU(E-NEWS). Please read the content submission guidelines if you are interested in putting forward content.


2021-05-03: Highights
Teacher Appreciation Week

Robin Wright


Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! The Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) is a dedicated champion of STEM education and strives to promote excellence in the nation's K-12 teacher workforce. For Teacher Appreciation Week and Public Service Recognition Week, DU(E-NEWS) is highlighting some of the many incredible DUE-funded educators, and the impact teachers have had on members of the DUE team. Check out the video above of Robin Wright, Division Director of DUE, highlighting the critical role teachers play in all our lives. On behalf of DUE, Robin thanks teachers for their unrelenting dedication to their students, especially given the difficulties of the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the week, DU(E-NEWS) will spotlight scholars and teachers funded by the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce). The Noyce Program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and STEM professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts and experienced, exemplary K-12 STEM teachers to become STEM master teachers. Noyce also supports research on the retention and effectiveness of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts. This Teacher Appreciation Week check out the hashtag #ThanksNoyceTeachers, and tag @NoyceProgram for posts celebrating graduating Noyce Scholars and Fellows.

Check out these videos of Victor Rodriguez, Master Teaching Fellow at Southwest High School, and Gumaro Gonzalez, Chemistry teacher at Arlington High School, describing the impact the Noyce Program has had on their teaching careers and classrooms.

Victor  Rodriguez

Victor Rodriguez
Teacher at Southwest High School
San Diego, CA

Gumaro  Gonzalez

Gumaro Gonzalez
Teacher at Arlington High School Arlington, TX

Check back each day for more spotlights on amazing NSF-funded teachers and the influence educators have had on some of NSF's brightest minds. And remember to #ThankaTeacher during this National Teacher Appreciation Week!



What's New

Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program releases a new solicitation (21-578)

DUE's Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce) released an updated solicitation last week. The Noyce program aims to address the critical need for recruiting, preparing, and retaining highly effective K-12 mathematics and science teachers and teacher leaders in high-need school districts. To achieve this goal, Noyce supports:

  • Talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers,
  • Experienced, exemplary K-12 STEM teachers to become teacher leaders in high-need school districts, and
  • Research on the effectiveness and retention of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts.

Noyce offers four program tracks and a Capacity Building pathway. This revised solicitation has a deadline of August 31, 2021. Some of the notable changes in the new solicitation include:

  • The Definition of Terms section clarifies the meaning of key terms, including STEM majors, STEM professionals, and STEM teachers.
  • Degree completion requirements and allowable periods for scholarship, stipend, and fellowship support are specified.
  • Requirements for Collaboration Incentives, including requirements for substantive partnership engagement and collaboration, are further specified. New Collaboration Incentives are also included.
  • New allowances, scope, and requirements (including page limitations) are specified for Capacity Building submissions.
  • The maximum allowable budget is increased for Track 4: Noyce Research submissions.

Read the solicitation for more information.

New Program Description: Racial Equity in STEM Education (EHR Racial Equity; PD 21-191Y)

Last week the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) released a new Program Description on Racial Equity in STEM Education to support bold and ground-breaking projects that advance racial equity in STEM education and workforce development. This Program Description aims to:

  • Advance the science and promotion of racial equity in STEM,
  • Substantively contribute to removing systemic barriers that impact STEM education, the STEM workforce, and scientific advancement,
  • Institutionalize effective and inclusive environments for STEM learning, STEM research, and STEM professionals,
  • Diversify the project leadership (PIs and co-PIs), institutions, ideas, and approaches that NSF funds, and
  • Expand the array of epistemologies, perspectives, and experiences in STEM.

Funded proposals will be led by, or developed and led in authentic partnership with, individuals and communities most impacted by the inequities caused by systemic racism. Funds come from across EHR, and contexts may include (but are not limited to): preK-12, two- and four-year undergraduate, and graduate institutions; municipal organizations; STEM workplaces; and informal STEM contexts, such as museums, community organizations, and media. 

Proposals are due on July 13, 2021 for the potential to be considered for funding in Fiscal Year 21.
Check out the webpage for the full description and future deadlines. Potential proposers are encouraged to keep an eye on the webpage for upcoming webinars.

New Dear Colleague Letter: Supplemental Funding for Postdoctoral Researchers to Mitigate COVID-19 Impacts on Research Career Progression (NSF 21-066)

EHR released a new Dear Colleague Letter calling for supplements to support post-doctoral researchers who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The DCL invites grantees with active awards in specific EHR programs (including DUE's IUSE and HSI programs) to request supplemental funds to support a new postdoctoral researcher for up to two years or a continuing postdoctoral researcher for one year. Postdoctoral researchers must be engaged in mentored STEM research or STEM education research and development. The DCL particularly aims to support researchers who are working or will work at institutions that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including, but not limited to: Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, Alaska Native, Pacific-islander, and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions, and/or Hispanic Serving Institutions. In addition, this funding opportunity seeks to support research projects that will contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM research and STEM education research, and principal investigators who are early in their careers and/or who are still actively building their careers.

Requests will be accepted until December 31, 2021. However, for consideration for funding in Fiscal Year 2021, requests should be submitted by June 1, 2021. Check out the webpage linked above for the full letter!


2021-03-31: "What's New in DUE"
Workshop for NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources CAREER Applicants: Tuesday April 13th, 2021

The National Science Foundation's Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) invites you to a workshop for prospective applicants for the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program. The CAREER Program offers prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education. This workshop is for potential CAREER applicants to the EHR Directorate, including early-career faculty who plan to conduct research in STEM education. The workshop will be an opportunity for participants to gain a better understanding of the CAREER program, including eligibility requirements, the application process, and outcomes of past CAREER awardees. During the workshop, participants will interact with other applicants, current and former awardees, and NSF program officers.

The workshop will be conducted on Zoom on Tuesday April 13, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM EDT. Pre-registration is required for this event. A Zoom meeting link and password will be sent to you after your registration is confirmed. For more details regarding this workshop, please contact Margret Hjalmarson ( or Tori Smith (

Read the full CAREER program solicitation: NSF 20-525.

2021-03-31: Highlights
Women’s History Month: Advancing Women in STEM

Image credits: (from left) Jeff Fitlow/Rice University and ATE Impacts 2018-2019
This DU(E-NEWS) highlight was composed by Virtual Student Federal Service intern Jalyn Williams.

Women are making fantastic contributions to STEM research and education but are still underrepresented in the STEM workforce relative to their proportions in the U.S. population. Undergraduate STEM education is a crucial component of the pipeline to STEM careers, but women are still receiving less bachelor’s degrees in computer science, engineering, and physical science compared to men. Below are just a few of the many DUE-funded projects that aim to improve retention of women in STEM education programs and broaden the participation of women in the STEM workforce.

Women of color are particularly underrepresented in STEM majors and careers due to compounding gender and racial biases. Despite knowledge that community colleges are a critical resource for people of color, women of color who are STEM majors at community colleges are an understudied group. The Influential Networks for Women of Color in STEM Community College Pathways project aims to fill this knowledge gap by studying the factors that lead to success in the lives of women of color STEM majors at minority-serving community colleges. The project uses national survey data and social network analysis to comprehend how student’s unique combination of economic status, cultural identity, social networks, and college experiences enable success. The project is expected to inform how two-year institutions of higher learning can improve support and retention of women of color in STEM fields. For more details on the project, check out this interview with Principal Investigators Melo-Jean Yap and Felisha Herrera Villarreal.

The Influential Networks for Women of Color in STEM Community College Pathways project is supported by DUE awards in the ECR-EHR Core Research program: 1937777.

The Building Equity for Aerospace Training project aims to meet the demand for a skilled aviation workforce by broadening the participation of students — particularly women —in aerospace technician education. To achieve this goal, investigators at Everett Community College in Washington train middle and high school educators and counselors on how to encourage all students to pursue aerospace pathways, with an emphasis on strategies that are known to improve the curiosity, retention, and accomplishment of young women. This project’s DUE Program Manager, Eric Sheppard, is an aerospace engineer and son of a Crew Chief with the Tuskegee Airmen. Sheppard commented that "the aerospace workforce has historically had low gender and racial diversity, so this project certainly addresses a real workforce gap." For more details on the Building Equity for Aerospace Training project check out this article on the Everett Community College website.

The Building Equity for Aerospace Training project is supported by DUE awards in the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program: 1902332.

The POWER Careers project helps nontraditional female students receive Associate degrees at the Energy Systems Technology and Education Center (ESTEC) at Idaho University in preparation for careers in the energy industry. This project is novel in its attempts to understand the obstacles facing older women (age 25+) in a rural area and attract these women to energy careers. The project supports students' educational and professional development through mentorship, scholarships, meetings with industry professionals, social activities, and more. The POWER project has successfully improved female enrollment and retention at ESTEC: female enrollment increased from 6% to 21% from 2014-2017, and "of the 27 women who started at ESTEC since fall of 2015, only one woman did not graduate or continue in the program." Check out this interim evaluation report of the project from 2016 for more details on the project’s objectives, results, and recommendations.

The Providing Opportunities for Women in Energy Related (POWER) Careers project is supported by DUE awards in the Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) and the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) programs: 1502015.


2021-03-15: "What's New in DUE"
New Program Description: Advancing Innovation and Impact in Undergraduate STEM Education at Two-year Institutions of Higher Education (PD 21-7980)

The Division of Undergraduate Education has issued an exciting new Program Description (PD) geared toward enhancing innovative STEM education at two-year colleges. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on two-year institutions, and there is a pressing need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. Two-year institutions are critical to the U.S. STEM workforce and contribute to the diversity of the sciences. This new program seeks to advance inclusive and equitable STEM educational programs and support student success at two-year institutions. The new program welcomes a range of projects in terms of scope, size, and duration. Check out the program’s webpage for more details.

Office hours for the new PD will be held on:

April 9th, 2021 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM ET: Link to Zoom Meeting.

April 12th, 2021 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET: Link to Zoom Meeting. 

Deadlines: The full proposal target deadline is May 10th 2021. Though proposals are accepted at any time, those submitted before May 28, 2021 have the potential to be considered for funding in Fiscal Year 21.

Scholarships in STEM releases new S-STEM-Net program solicitation

Last week the Division of Undergraduate Education released a new solicitation for the Scholarships in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Network (S-STEM-Net) program, NSF 21-569. The S-STEM program is dedicated to supporting domestic low-income, high-achieving STEM students through scholarships and research into effective curricular and co-curricular programs. The new S-STEM-Net program aims to build community by sharing promising practices developed by S-STEM projects, coordinating high-impact research on effective strategies to support low-income students in STEM and offering professional development for students and faculty at over 500 S-STEM sites nationwide.

The S-STEM-Net program will provide two types of awards: a S-STEM Resource and Evaluation Center (S-STEM-REC) and several S-STEM Research Hubs (S-STEM-Hub). S-STEM-REC invests in a single resource center designed to 1) facilitate collaboration between S-STEM principal investigators, administrators, students, and other stakeholders to strengthen the outcomes of the S-STEM program, and 2) construct a framework to synthesize and disseminate successful S-STEM practices, outcomes, and achievements. S-STEM-Hubs support collaborative research projects aimed at understanding how to better support low-income STEM students. They will do so by bringing together investigators from multiple institutions to address common research questions relevant to their particular S-STEM students.

Deadlines: For S-STEM-REC proposals only, a letter of intent is due by April 16th, 2021. Full proposals are due June 16th 2021.

Visit the S-STEM-Net webpage for a link to the full solicitation and NSF Program Officer information.


2021-02-22: Highlights

ATE Participant in laboratory Students viewing experiment Engineering in laboratory

Black History Month: BIPOC in STEM

Image credits: (from left) ATE Impacts 2018-2019 book; Argonne National Laboratory; David Baillot/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

This DU(E-NEWS) highlight was composed by Virtual Student Federal Service intern Jalyn Williams. Jalyn is currently an undergraduate student at Albright College studying Environmental Studies.

National African American History Month originated in 1915 when historian and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." One of the pillars that guides Education and Human Resources (EHR) activities is broadening participation of individuals, geographic regions, types of institutions, and STEM disciplines to close achievement gaps in all STEM fields. In celebration of Black History Month, let's take a look at some DUE-funded projects that are broadening participation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Centering Women of Color in STEM: Identifying and Scaling Up What Helps Women of Color Thrive (Award #1712531)
Program: Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE)

To stay at the forefront of discovery, the United States requires a diverse science and engineering workforce. The Centering Women of Color in STEM (CWCS) project aims to improve the underrepresentation of women of color in physics, mathematics and computing. Researchers at St. Mary's College of Maryland and Eureka Scientific, Inc. study three STEM departments at predominantly White institutions throughout the United States and England in which women of color are thriving. The project aims to identify common practices across these departments that can be applied by peer departments to support undergraduate women of color. The knowledge gained from CWCS will contribute to systemic transformation of STEM education and create a deeper understanding of the circumstances that lead to success for young women of color in collegiate environments.

The project will culminate in a meeting with participants from 11 institutions who will examine the applicability of the findings at their home institutions. CWCS research has been published in The Physics Teacher (Johnson et al., 2017; Young, 2020), and you can check out the CWCS website to keep up with the project!

Facilitating Pathways to Success for High-Achieving Pre-Collegiate African American Males in STEM (#2000472)
Program: EHR Core Research (ECR)

Much of the current research on African American male students' STEM experiences focuses on college students and those who are underachieving in STEM. Investigators at The Ohio State University and University of South Florida put a spin on this common approach by instead focusing on high-achieving high school students. The investigators are interested in how high school career academies promote viable STEM pathways for high-achieving, low-income African American male students. Researchers document student experiences, the factors that influenced their motivation to participate and achieve in STEM academies, and their family support systems that may contribute to their success. The project's findings are likely to help the STEM community pinpoint the different challenges that low-income, African American males face in high school.

The project takes place over a three-year period starting in September 2020 and is primarily conducted within four nationally dispersed urban high school STEM academy programs. Check out this article on the Ohio State University website for more information.

Sustainable Summer Bridges from Campus to Campus: Retention Models for Transitioning Underrepresented Engineering Students (#1525367)
Program: IUSE and Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM)

Lasting improvements to the production of a diverse engineering workforce begin with creating effective bridge programs that yield more engineering graduates. The Sustainable Bridges from Campus to Campus study looks to improve retention in engineering at Pennsylvania State University by conducting academically enriching bridge programs for underrepresented engineering students. The project aims to improve retention in engineering by supporting performance in gateway math courses and promote strong bonds within the student’s learning community. To evaluate how students were affected by the math-intensive bridge programs, the project considers student's grades in math courses and the quality of their academic social network (i.e., whether their peers transferred to another campus/institution or stayed throughout the year) in the semester following the bridges.

Results of the first two years of the project were presented at the 2018 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition. More information on the project can be found here.


2021-02-05: "What's New in DUE"


The 2021 Joint Mathematics Meeting recap

The 2021 Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM) was held online from January 6th to 9th 2021. The JMM, hosted by the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society, featured presentations from mathematical researchers and educators. Among the many presenters, Education and Human Resources Assistant Director Karen Marongelle made an appearance alongside Tie Luo, acting deputy head of the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Marongelle, who holds a PhD in Mathematics Education, discussed an exciting future for NSF under the leadership of Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. Marongelle and Luo discussed ongoing NSF developments, including the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act, which allocates $4.8 billion to NSF for research in artificial intelligence, and NSF's continuous efforts to broaden diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.

The JMM hosted a Special Session on NSF Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) Programs with Mathematical Connections. Several members of the NSF DUE team organized and attended the session. Principal investigators (PIs) from across the United States shared outcomes of S-STEM awards geared toward supporting undergraduate students in mathematics courses. DUE Program Director Michael Ferrara remarked that the session "provided PIs an opportunity to share their projects, and included some energizing discussions about promising strategies, common challenges, and opportunities to collaborate." Ferrara observed "an amazing grassroots movement from several PIs to bring together S-STEM projects that wholly or significantly work with mathematics students ... this has the potential to be a tremendous force multiplier as we work together to serve our amazing population of S-STEM scholars through the pandemic and beyond."

Check out abstracts from the JMM S-STEM Programs with Mathematical Connections Sessions I and II.


2021-01-25: "What's New in DUE"
Listening session online on the potential for online learning environments: Friday January 29th

The National Science Foundation's Directorate for Education and Human Resources invites your participation in a listening session providing an opportunity to discuss the evolving role of online learning in teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, specifically focusing on online learning environments (e.g., distance learning tools, virtual laboratories, access to museum exhibits and other out-of-school STEM education resources) to change the organization of STEM education. Please be aware that this session is not intended to make recommendations to NSF. The listening session will be conducted virtually via Zoom on Friday January 29, 2021 from 11 am-2 pm EST. Pre-registration is required for this event. A Zoom meeting link and password will be sent to you after your registration is confirmed by colleagues at the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI).


2021-01-25: "What's New in DUE"
Scholarships in STEM releases new program solicitation


The Division of Undergraduate Education’s Scholarships in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program released an updated solicitation, NSF 21-550, in early January 2021. The scholarships in STEM program aims to:

  • increase the number of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need obtaining degrees in S-STEM eligible disciplines and entering the US workforce or graduate programs in STEM;
  • improve support mechanisms for future scientists, engineers, and technicians, with a focus on low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need; and
  • advance our understanding of how interventions or evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities affect the success, retention, transfer, academic/career pathways, and graduation of low-income students in STEM.

This revised solicitation has a deadline of April 7th, 2021 and in subsequent years the third Wednesday in March. Some of the notable changes in the new solicitation include:

  • Collaborative Planning grant proposals towards a Track 3 Inter-institutional Consortia are now invited (up to $150,000 for up to 2 years).
  • The maximum project duration has been extended from 5 to 6 years for Track 1, 2 and 3 proposals.
  • All S-STEM proposals must provide information about the size and characteristics of their pool of potential scholarship applicants who meet all the eligibility requirements described in the proposal.
  • A letter describing how low-income status is defined by the institution is now required as a supplemental document. This letter should come from the institution's Financial Aid Office (or equivalent) and should include affirmation that offices will support this scholarship program as described in the proposal.
  • Institutions with a current S-STEM award should wait at least until the end of the third year of execution of their current award before submitting a new S-STEM proposal focused on students pursuing the same discipline(s). NSF considers the end of the third year as being the moment the third-year annual report has been approved.

It is also important to note the following changes to specific program tracks:

  • Capacity building proposals (Track 1) must generate new knowledge via a robust project evaluation plan and include substantive dissemination plans, but they no longer require formal research activities. Allowable budgets are now up to $750,000 for up to 6 years.
  • Single institution proposals (Track 2) must generate new knowledge via a robust project evaluation plan and include substantive dissemination plans, but they no longer require formal research activities. Allowable budgets are now up to $1.5 million for up to 6 years.

Prospective S-STEM PIs are encouraged to bookmark the S-STEM program website, which includes the solicitation and contact information for S-STEM program officers.  In coming weeks, information about webinars and program office hours will be posted there.


2021-01-19: "What's New in DUE"
DUE staff members Keith Sverdrup and Paul Tymann

Keith Sverdrup

Name: Keth A. Sverdrup

Role: Program Director

Discipline/expertise: Geosciences

Programs: S-STEM Program Director, IUSE Geosciences Program Director

Educational Moment of Impact: I was a freshman student and uncertain of my major. One day I went to the geosciences department at the University of Minnesota and was looking at a display cabinet when a professor walked up to me and started explaining what I was looking at. He then invited me to attend the afternoon seminar and volunteered to drive me home afterward - a trip of some distance on the opposite side of town and nowhere near where he lived. He became my academic advisor and the reason I became a geophysicist. Educators who take the time to engage students can change their lives.

My View for the Future of Education: What most excites me is witnessing the incremental changes in STEM education that successfully increase the diversity of students in STEM and ultimately STEM professionals. The change can be frustratingly slow, but it is in the right direction.

Paul Tymann Name: Paul Tymann

Role: Program Director

Discipline/expertise: Computer Science

Programs: ATE, S-STEM, IUSE

Paul Tymann is a Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education in the Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR/DUE) at the National Science Foundation. Prior to joining the NSF in January 2020, Tymann was a Professor and the former Chair of the Computer Science Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Prior to joining RIT in July 1997, Tymann started his academic career as a member of the computer science faculty at the State University of New York at Oswego in 1987. Tymann has been involved in computer science education at the high school level and served as the co-Chair of AP Computer Science Development Committee from 2011 until 2015 and has served as as the Chief Reader for the AP Computer Science Principles Exam from 2014 until 2020. He served as Vice Chair of ACM's Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education, served as symposium co-chair for the SIGCSE technical symposium in 2006 and 2013, and was a member of ACM Education Council.

Tymann has written textbooks on software development, bioinformatics, and a breadth-first overview of computer science. His research interests include CS education, bioinformatics, and high-performance computing. He enjoys teaching internationally and has taught at the University of Zimbabwe, at the University of Osnabruck in Germany, and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.


2021-01-12: "What's New in DUE"
Listening session online STEM learning part two: Friday January 15th

Building on the great interest in the first session, this is a second iteration of the listening session held first on January 8, 2021. The first listening session consisted of over 500 attendees from a wide array of backgrounds such as undergraduate and graduate education, K-12 education, state science agencies, private companies, and non-profits. This Zoom meeting will be held on January 15, 2021 from 11am-2pm and will provide an opportunity to further stimulate discussion with respect to the evolving role of online learning in teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, specifically focusing on the identification of learning gains through online environments, including the role of new assessment approaches in measuring those gains. The agenda is still being finalized, but attendees can expect breakout sessions to facilitate smaller-group discussions and connection-building. Please be aware that this session is not intended to make recommendations to NSF.

The listening session will be conducted virtually via Zoom. Pre-registration is required for this event. A Zoom meeting link and password will be sent to you after your registration is confirmed by colleagues at the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI).


2021-01-08: Highlights


Discipline-Based Education Research - resources and upcoming conference

Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER) is a grouping of research fields that takes an empirical approach to investigating learning and teaching that is informed by an expert understanding of disciplinary knowledge and practice (American Association for the Advancement of Science 11). DBER can be studied through the lens of Learning & Learning Environments, Broadening Participation, and Workforce Development. Through investigation of teaching methodology and learning outcomes, DBER scholars and collaborative teams identify effective strategies in STEM disciplines such as physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, geoscience, math and astronomy. The research priorities of a particular STEM discipline provide a consistent context to examine evidence-based teaching methods and learning objectives. This process of identifying best practices in STEM disciplines and refining them is at the core of DBER. Since the emergence of DBER in the early 2000's, two NSF funded workshops captured and socialized the term DBER and a subsequent publication entitled Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering quantified the status of DBER. Today DBER continues to look forward to better undergraduate STEM teaching practices.

Those interested may reference these NSF funded resources, among others:


2021-01-07: "What's New in DUE"

Visioning Report

EHR Advisory Committee releases new visioning report on STEM Education for the Future

Recently the EHR Advisory Committee published a report entitled STEM Education for the Future. This report quantifies current challenges, actions, and successful innovations in STEM education, as well as the possibilities of the future. The report underscores the importance of STEM education for building a diverse citizenry that will contribute to a thriving, competitive U.S. economy. The Advisory Committee posed various guiding questions to stimulate thought on achieving the goals of lifelong STEM learning, equitable access to sustained success, and a strong American workforce:

  • How can we incentivize higher education institutions to implement necessary change toward these goals, including adopting practices we know work?
  • How can technology be used as a pedagogical tool and be a democratizing force?
  • What non-traditional pathways are students taking to acquire skills, competencies, and credentials? How do these new pathways challenge higher education as we know it?
  • How do people best learn STEM concepts at different life stages? How do different contexts, including where people live, affect learning? And how do we optimize content delivery to improve outcomes?

With these questions in mind, and with the goal that all Americans can become partners in the nation’s innovation economy, the STEM Education of the Future Subcommittee proposed a path for making STEM Education of the Future the cornerstone of progress and prosperity for the nation.

This post contains excerpts from the report which can be viewed in full via the Education and Human Resources Homepage.


2020-11-23: "What's New in DUE"
Program Description on Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education

Advances in the frontiers of biology and educational research have enabled the biological sciences communities to explore effective teaching approaches and promote student learning (NRC 2003, 2009). NSF DUE is looking to further investigate the potential relationships between the Vision and Change (V&C) principles and the current national state of undergraduate biological education, including biological knowledge, concepts, and science process skills. Accordingly, this program seeks to support projects that evaluate a combination of factors such as the awareness, acceptance, adoption, and adaptation of V&C principles and outcomes including changes in curriculum, laboratories, and student retention, completion, and learning. Collectively, results of these projects are anticipated to describe the nature and extent of V&C's use within the undergraduate biology curriculum. The projects could also describe key factors and approaches taken by the V&C community that have the potential to be useful for improving undergraduate education in other scientific disciplines or in interdisciplinary STEM education.

To view this program description in full, please visit PD 21-7412.


2020-11-20: "What's New in DUE"
Dear Colleague Letter on Strengthening American Infrastructure (SAI)

Critical infrastructure underpins many aspects of our lives, from purchasing a home to checking for warnings of an approaching storm. The large costs and potential benefits of infrastructure investments demand attention to the incorporation of relevant human and social factors in the early stages of design. With this in mind, NSF is looking to foster a community invested in strengthening American infrastructure by bringing together interdisciplinary teams poised to carry out potentially pathbreaking, untested fundamental research, grounded in user-centered concepts. EAGER and conference proposals submitted to this call may be considered "high risk - high reward" in that they contain different approaches, application of new expertise, or encouragement of novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives. NSF is particularly interested in proposals that integrate a deep understanding of human cognition, perception, information processing, decision making, social and cultural behavior, legal frameworks, governmental structures, and related areas into the design, development, and sustainability of infrastructure. Proposals are welcomed that include opportunities to broaden participation of underrepresented demographics. Submissions from Minority Serving Institutions are encouraged as well as proposals integrating participation of undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, K-12 students, industry representatives and others. Inquiries about the DCL, general inquiries, and questions about submission of SAI proposals should be directed to

To view this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) in full, please visit NSF 21-019.


2020-11-06: "What's New in DUE"
Announcing winners of the ideas competition on Imagining the Future of Undergraduate STEM Education


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, recently announced the winners of the idea competition to inform the Symposium on Imagining the Future of Undergraduate STEM Education.

25 winners and 25 honorable mentions have been awarded. The names and titles of the winning entries are featured on the National Academies website and will be highlighted at the symposium on November 12, 13, and 19, 2020.

Applicants submitted a statement or video addressing some aspect of the symposium's focus: What should undergraduate STEM education look like in 2040 and beyond to meet the needs of students, science, and society? What should we do now to prepare?

Entries were evaluated based on their potential to contribute to and advance discussion at the symposium. Entries were also judged on originality and future orientation. 

Registration for the symposium will remain open until November 19th and may be accessed directly through Eventbrite.


2020-11-05: "What's New in DUE"
Deadline extension; contribute to the planning of US STEM education


The National Science and Technology Council's Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM) in coordination with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), NSF recently released a Request for Information (RFI) on STEM Education.

  • The RFI on STEM Education references the Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan, released December 2018
  • Your response as a member of the STEM education community is welcomed
  • You may provide comments to any questions you wish, but do not need to respond to all questions
  • Responses need to be submitted in a Word or PDF format per the RFI's instructions to
  • Questions can be directed to Cindy Hasselbring, Assistant Director, STEM Education, OSTP (contact information is located in the RFI)

The RFI will now close on November 20, 2020, at 11:59PM EST.


2020-10-23: Highlights
HydroLearn hosts virtual hackathon and hands-on workshop for co-development and sharing of authentic learning modules in hydrology and water resources


The pandemic poses new challenges and opportunities for developing innovative approaches that support the educational community. To address the growing need for online teaching resources, HydroLearn, an NSF-sponsored project, hosted a two-week a virtual workshop and hackathon for hydrology and water resource educators to participate in the development of online learning modules. The event was coordinated by a group of subject-matter experts, education pedagogy and technology experts, and graduate teaching assistants.

Following a hackathon approach, the workshop brought together 30 faculty members from 28 universities across the United Stated and one international institution. The participating instructors worked in small groups (two to three individuals) and used the HydroLearn online platform to collaboratively develop and share new learning modules. The workshop included training on the development of teaching content using research-based pedagogical approaches with hands-on content development. The participants followed a backward design approach that began with defining a set of learning objectives that students were expected to achieve by the conclusion of the module. The learning objectives were directly linked to assessment-based authentic learning tasks. Lastly, the participants developed the instructional content necessary to link the learning objectives to the assessment tasks. This backward design process is intentionally iterative to ensure constructive alignment between the learning objectives, the assessment tasks, and the educational material. Rubrics were also developed for each authentic task to define clear criteria for assessing whether the learning objectives were successfully achieved.

The hackathon produced 15 new modules. The modules cover a wide range of topics that target undergraduate and early graduate students, such as groundwater flow, remote sensing in applications in hydrology, and water planning for sustainability. Upon its completion, each module was peer-reviewed by educational and technical members of the HydroLearn team who provided actionable feedback and suggestions for revisions by the modules' authors. At the conclusion of the hackathon, a series of webinars was held to present the modules to the larger hydrology education community.

The following is a quote from one of the participants, Dr. Austin Polebitski, an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville:

"HydroLearn was a wonderful opportunity to not only 'talk shop' with other educators about water resources but to really dig in and make engaging modules that provide real-life, virtual hands-on material for undergraduate and graduate students. Something that is particularly neat about HydroLearn is the chunk-based framework of each module, it allows students and faculty to tailor the material to their courses, making it pretty easy to implement. The pedagogical layout used, learning activities tied to the learning objectives in a clear and consistent manner, aligns well with ABET and other assessment frameworks. Overall, my experience with my cohort, and particularly my experience in working with my partner/colleague for our module was a bright spot in my COVID-19 summer."

The modules are made available for free access and use by instructors and students via the HydroLearn platform. The intent is to support the increased focus on online teaching, given the current COVID-19 situation and to serve the transition to in-class learning by harnessing ongoing efforts to develop effective digital teaching resources.

Interested in learning more about the modules developed during the hackathon, or the HydroLearn platform in general? Follow these additional links:

The HydroLearn project is supported by collaborative DUE awards in the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program 1726965, 1725989, and 1726667.

Submitted by Emad Habib, Professor, Civil Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and PI on the NSF-sponsored HydroLearn project (


2020-10-19: "What's New in DUE"
Identifying mid-scale infrastructure for STEM education research


The National Science Foundation's Directorate for Education and Human Resources invites you to participate in a listening session to provide input on the nature of mid-scale research infrastructure for STEM education research. The event will be held via Zoom on Friday, October 30, 2020 from 11:00 AM-3:00 PM Eastern Time. Pre-registration is required and can be accessed via this weblink or via the NSF events page. Once you register, a Zoom meeting link and password will be emailed to you. Any current and potential NSF mid-scale infrastructure PIs, STEM education researchers, informal science educators, and STEM education specialists are encouraged to attend! Please note that this event is not intended to make general recommendations to NSF.

As a part of the listening session, NSF EHR is looking for public input on the following questions:

  1. What are the most pressing questions in STEM education research?
  2. Which of these questions could be addressed or could progress be made were NSF to support mid-scale infrastructure?
  3. What kinds of infrastructure might be valuable in addressing or advancing research related to those pressing questions?
  4. What resources might be required (in addition to the infrastructure itself) that NSF might need to support?
  5. Are there any examples of mid-scale infrastructure being used to address pressing questions in STEM education research?
  6. What barriers or challenges might complicate the use of mid-scale infrastructure to address these most pressing questions in STEM education research - and how might these challenges be overcome?

The IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute is facilitating this meeting on NSF’s behalf and the meeting will be recorded. Participation in this session implies consent for NSF to capture your name, voice, and likeness, and anything you say may be recorded and transcribed for NSF use. Moderators will manage participation and remove disruptive participants if necessary. Participants will be given the option to provide short written comments to complement their meeting participation. Any questions about meeting logistics can be sent to Dr. Brian Zuckerman (


2020-10-09: "What's New in DUE"
NSF's first virtual grants conference

Broadening Participation

Save the Date! Join the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the very first NSF Virtual Grants Conference, to be held during the weeks of November 16 and November 30, 2020.

This event is designed to give new faculty, researchers, and administrators key insights into a wide range of current issues at NSF. NSF staff will be providing up-to-date information about the proposal and award process, specific funding opportunities and answering attendee questions.

Registration will be free of charge and opens on Thursday, October 29 at 12 p.m. EST. Each conference session will have its own Zoom registration page. Please sign up only for sessions that you are able to attend. For those who cannot attend the live conference, all recorded conference sessions will be available on-demand shortly after the event. We anticipate the sessions will reach capacity very quickly, so we encourage you to register as soon as possible.

In the meantime, please feel free to check for the most up-to-date information, and view recordings of sessions from last year's event. You may also contact conference organizers via email at


2020-09-25: "What's New in DUE"
Calling current and prospective principal investigators interested in broadening participation

Broadening Participation

The National Science Foundation Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) is hosting a FREE Webinar on September 30, 2020 from 2:30-4:30 pm ET.

NSF program officers and staff, including DUE program officers Pushpa Ramakrishna and Abby Illumoka, will highlight current funding opportunities available in EHR focused on diversifying the STEM workforce, supporting broadening participation in STEM research, and promoting equitable STEM practices and opportunities. Programs such as: NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discovers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES), ADVANCE: Organizational Change for Gender Equity in STEM Academic Professions, Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), Tribal Colleges and Universities Programs (TCUP), The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST), Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) and several other programs will be highlighted. NSF representatives from all four divisions in EHR will be represented.

In addition, Q & A opportunities with Program Officers will be provided during the webinar.

Principal Investigators, faculty, administrators, researchers, evaluators, and other STEM and education professionals and community-based leaders interested or engaged in research and efforts to broaden participation in STEM are encouraged to attend.

Please be sure to register using this link as soon as possible.

Once you have registered, help spread the word about the webinar by forwarding this email and or the attached flyer to your STEM and broadening participation in STEM networks.

We look forward to seeing you online on September 30, 2020.


2020-08-31: "What's New in DUE"
Interested in telling your story or sharing research developments? Check out the DU(E-NEWS) content submission page

DU(E-NEWS) is looking to feature principal investigators, projects, and students who are actively working towards DUE's mission, "To promote excellence in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for all students."

Submissions to the Highlights category of DU(E-NEWS) may include notable project developments, regional or national conferences, student scholar highlights and more. Submissions to the Findings category of DU(E-NEWS) might include major research results, papers reporting syntheses of investigations and issuance of national studies. Make sure that your story is captivating and has ties to larger initiatives or relevant stakeholders.

All those in the undergraduate STEM education community that are interested, please visit the content submission guidelines page. Content or any questions may be submitted to with the phrase "DU(E-NEWS) Content Submission" contained in the subject line. We look forward to hearing from you!


2020-08-18: "What's New in DUE"
Vote for your favorite video in the STEM DIVE challenge


The National Science Foundation has launched the public voting for the first STEM Diversity and Inclusion Video Exhibition Challenge. We are inviting you, the public, to judge the top 12 videos of the competition. Remember you are looking for visually appealing, original, and sustainable approaches with a clear and effective message to diversifying the STEM workforce through partnerships. View all 12 videos and vote for your favorite by clicking the "Like" button on the video link. The two videos with the highest number of "Likes" will win. Judging opens August 17 and ends August 24, 2020!

Editor's note: People's choice voting for the STEM DIVE challenge has ended and the awardees have been announced. Visit the STEM DIVE challenge website to view the videos for both the expert's choice and people's choice awardees!


2020-08-13: "What's New in DUE"
DUE staff members Sandra Richardson and Michael Ferrara

Sandra Richardson

Name: Sandra Richardson

Role: Program Director, Lead PD for Noyce

Discipline/expertise: Mathematics Education

Programs: Noyce, IUSE, and CAREER

Educational Moment of Impact: I taught the same course at 2 different high schools and saw a distinct difference in resources available and the impact that availability of resources has on student motivation, success, and opportunity. This experience started my lifelong effort of sharing knowledge about equity vs equality in education.

My View for the Future of Education: I have several wish lists for the future of education but if I had to pick one big wish, it would be that every student (at all levels of education) deserves a qualified, pedagogical content knowledgeable, caring teacher.

Michael Ferrara Name: Michael Ferrara

Role: Program Director

Affiliation: University of Colorado Denver

Discipline/expertise: Mathematics

Programs: IUSE, Noyce, S-STEM

Educational Moment of Impact: My educational moment of impact was the first time I saw Euclid’s proof that there is an infinitude of primes, some time in high school.  It was the first "clever" proof I was exposed to, and it opened a whole house full of doors in my brain about what mathematics was and could be.

My View for the Future of Education: The digital age continues to allow us to produce, store and analyze massive amounts of data across myriad domains. I am excited about opportunities to help students learn how to analyze, interpret, and model with data so they can understand and attack issues they are passionate about.


2020-08-03: Highlights
Noyce program hosts first virtual principal investigator meeting


On July 14th, 2020, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in conjunction with the National Science Foundation (NSF) hosted their first virtual event for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholars Program. As the NSF Noyce Program team set out to adapt the annual Noyce Summit for the safety of hosts and principal investigators (PIs) during the continuing pandemic, they assessed their goals for the summit, and concluded that community building is a top priority. The summit, typically taking place in person in Washington, D.C., over three days, split into two half-day virtual meetings.

For the first of two events, dubbed the "Noyce PI Summer Block Party," more than 140 Noyce PIs and co-PIs joined the meeting. Noyce lead and NSF Program Officer Kathleen Bergin's opening remarks touched on the many circumstances facing the nation, citing among them the COVID-19 pandemic and institutionalized racism. She welcomed attendees with "acknowledgement, celebration, and a challenge for recommitment," and emphasized the "importance of seizing this pivotal moment in our nation's history to support much needed and long overdue change." Bergin concluded her remarks with an invitation to each of the Noyce PIs to reflect on the strategies they have or plan to implement "to advance classrooms of justice for all students" with an emphasis on students with marginalized identities.

Throughout the day's festivities, including a welcome and orientation for new awardees, lessons-learned panels, and group conversations with NSF program officers, PIs learned from their peers and connected with one another. Following the event, one PI commented, "I just want to commend you on the whole experience. To be honest, I was dreading four hours of Zoom. You kept it moving, broke it up with different voices, and made it a very useful and worthwhile day." Another attendee expressed gratitude for the "Much needed networking as we are unable to have face to face interaction in 2020." Thanks to NSF Program Officers Kathleen Bergin and Karen Keen, as well as AAAS' Jennifer Carinci, among many others, for making this event a success.

Archived recordings of the 2020 Noyce Summer Block Party's panels and presentations can be viewed on the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program Website.

The second of this year's events, the "Noyce Virtual Summit," will be held on August 5th, bringing together scholars and PIs in the Noyce Program for community presentation, resource exchange, and further community building.

This project is supported under DUE award 1548986.


2020-07-27: Highlights
Researchers employ Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience to study COVID-19 in real time

Dr. LaMontagne records data from students participating in research related to COVID-19.

Building a captivating course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) was the original goal. However, it was not until the COVID-19 pandemic that researchers at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) realized they had a striking opportunity to contribute to the body of research around this novel virus. Since receiving a COVID-19 RAPID grant to engage undergraduates in research on the current coronavirus pandemic, principal investigators Michael LaMontagne and Karen Alexander have hit the ground running.

The hypothesis at the center of this research is that host-microbiome interactions influence the susceptibility of individuals to contracting COVID-19. Undergraduate students developed this hypothesis in a proposal they wrote following a laboratory exercise in spring 2020. In this exercise, students identified bacteria isolated from their nostrils. A literature review carried out by the same spring cohort reported that Staphylococcus epidermis can protect their host from infection with influenza. Subsequently, the undergraduate cohort is now assessing links between the structure of their personal nasal microbiome and carriage of SARS-Cov-2. This research involves metagenomic analysis of the nasal microbiome, proteomic analysis of bacterial isolates, and RT-qPCR tests for SARS-Cov-2. Via these methodologies, students will be able to characterize their microbiome and learn how to amplify a DNA segment to test for SARS-Cov-2. The hope is that through this CURE students will learn the core microbiology skills necessary to identify different types of bacteria. Tying this to Covid-10 allows them to immediately use these skills and to contribute to understanding the biology of the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus.

A defining feature of this program is the collaboration between the nursing program at UHCL-Pearland, which has the responsibility for COVID-19 testing, and software engineering and microbiology programs at UHCL. Regarding the involvement students in the registered nursing program, Alexander noted, "it grants them the opportunity to use new skills learned in the bachelor's program especially research, leadership, and management." Another component of the grant is the creation of a virtual lab. Students in a software engineering course are developing simulations to remotely train undergraduates in microbiological methods. This process involves working in tandem with microbiology students to understand what components to develop, such as an interactive petri dish, which will enable remote education.

This undertaking to address COVID-19 took coordination and creativity among many stakeholders across academia, healthcare, and industry -- an example of how successful coalitions can be built during this unprecedented time.

UHCL partners with university and industry: metagenomic analysis via the University of North Texas Health Science Center, building capacity for high throughput COVID-19 testing via Fluidigm, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute at the University of Houston for access to high performance computational resources. It should also be noted that the implementation of the CURE curriculum was made possible via a partnership with Sam Houston State University and McNeese State University.

This project is supported under DUE award 2028400.


2020-07-23: Highlights
NSF awardees engage teachers in creative ways to impact virtual learning


This past spring semester, through a series of professional development workshops guided by principal investigator Padhu Seshaiyer from George Mason University, teachers from school districts across the U.S. formed teams. These teams provided critical support to teachers, which subsequently enabled them to utilize teaching techniques and be prepared for virtual classrooms. The goal of these sessions and methods was to create excitement around the subject of mathematical modeling, as it is presented in the workforce, while advancing the pedagogy teachers use in the classroom.

The mathematical modeling structure is open-ended and involves making assumptions to solve real-world problems. Central to this is the notion of failure, which is not always taught well in the classroom. This methodology allows the student to think about what they could go back and fix, acknowledging that there can be failure in processes. The ability to change things in one's assumptions and try again is the whole idea behind mathematical modeling.

One mathematical modeling technique presented to the teachers included Fermi problems. These problems are characterized by not presenting all the information, which would apparently be necessary for solving a given problem. The teachers worked on the following Fermi challenge in class during the COVID-19 pandemic: "How many purchase orders do stores need to make to supply all schools with toilet paper in Fairfax County?" Teachers were able to take this idea and engage students on different Fermi challenges. These included questions such as: "How many masks will be needed by a certain date?" and "How many lunches will need to be distributed in a certain school district?" The latter question could be further parsed out in the following terms: there are 190 thousand students, 60 thousand students are food insecure and rely on the school lunch. This information sets the stage for a robust mathematical modeling problem.

Following the Fermi session, one teacher participant said, "I especially enjoyed working with Fermi questions with my students as it tackled critical and problem-solving skills and really encouraged students to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable in estimating uncertainties!" Another teacher participant shared, "I used to think that integrating mathematics and computer science into the classroom was so much more, but now I see how simply it can be integrated into the things we're doing every day!"

Another example of an outcome of these professional development sessions was the Get2Green Twitter challenge, based on the idea of making assumptions. In the challenge, students were able to explore how small changes in their habits could scale up to larger impacts in terms of sustainability. The program manager for STEAM Integration in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), Alexandra Fuentes said,

"FCPS STEAM Integration created an activity utilizing the mathematical modeling and thinking practices Padhu taught in this course by creating a Twitter challenge activity accessible to educators division-wide, and shared it directly with families and students. The goal of the activity was to engage students in thinking through a Fermi question to help students estimate how their individual actions can add up to big changes. This supports student development of computational thinking as well as global and ethical citizenship. The activity can also serve as a model for teachers to create similar learning experiences for students."

The re-occurring theme behind these problems is the need to build a data-competent workforce, starting in elementary school. Failure is key; children generally are not afraid to make mistakes and giving them opportunities to go back and visit what they did allows them to build knowledge. This process reinforces concepts for children, including estimation, computational thinking, open-endedness, and the idea that tomorrow things may change entirely -- especially important in times such as these.

This project is funded by EHR DUE and DRL under award 1441024.


2020-07-09: "What's New in DUE"
Shaping upcoming symposia on undergraduate STEM education

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is convening a public symposium on the Future of Undergraduate STEM Education. This symposium, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, will bring together academic personnel from a wide array of institutions, as well as industry members, policy makers, and funders. A publication will be released following the symposium with the intent of guiding transformation in undergraduate STEM education, as well as funding priorities for NSF and others in the grant-making space.

You are invited to submit a video or statement speaking to the theme of the symposium: What should undergraduate STEM education look like in 2040 and beyond to meet the needs of students, science, and society? What should we do now to prepare?

Persons affiliated with community colleges, minority-serving institutions, and rural institutions are especially encouraged to apply to this competition. All entries must be submitted by July 15, 2020. Select videos and statements will be featured at the symposium on November 12, 13, and 19, 2020, as well as the National Academies website.


2020-06-30: "What's New in DUE"
NSF welcomes new director, Sethuraman Panchanathan

On June 18, 2020, the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan as the director of the National Science Foundation. He is serving as the 15th director of the NSF and brings a wealth of experience in higher education, research, and collaboration with industry. Panchanathan was previously Executive Vice President of Arizona State University's Knowledge Enterprise and Chief Research and Innovation Officer. His knowledge of the science policy arena is clear through his service as a member of the National Science Board (2014-2020).


Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan

National Science Board addresses racism in science and engineering

Following unrest in the United States (U.S.) about systemic racism, the National Science Board, the governing body of NSF, released a Statement on Racism in Science & Engineering. This statement thoroughly acknowledges and condemns the racism that exists in the science and engineering enterprise.

The statement also points to the NSB Vision 2030 report released on May 5, 2020. The report is NSB's latest strategic planning document. It underscores NSB's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM and the importance of these areas in the future growth and competitiveness of the U.S. Their charge is for the NSF to bolster programs that support underserved communities to align representation in science and engineering with that of the U.S. population.

NSB Logo Vision2030


2020-06-23: "What's New in DUE"
DUE welcomes summer 2020 interns

Christian Kotoye

Name: Christian Kotoye

Role: Future of STEM Education Intern

Affiliation: Oakland University - Doctoral Research Assistant

Discipline/expertise: Psychology

Programs/Projects that you work on: Future of STEM Education Survey and Symposia

Educational Moment of Impact: Two years of my undergraduate tenure were spent working in a research lab investigating biases that police may have in the decision to shoot (or not) black men versus white men. After the two years working on projects in this topic, I was given the opportunity to present some of the findings we observed to a seminar on race, gender, and class within the United States. At first, I was very cautious about presenting these findings to a class, let alone one of over 100 students. However, while presenting and fielding the multiple questions that I received on the topic, I developed an affinity for teaching, especially on an issue which I am passionate about.

This experience led me to my current position as a Doctoral Research Assistant at Oakland University. I work in both the Cognition and Behavior (CAB) Laboratory, with Dr. Martha Escobar and in the Personality and Evolutionary Psychology (PEP) Laboratory with Dr. Melissa McDonald. My research is focused on examining whether self-perceived congruency with stereotypes about STEM professionals influence students' STEM identity, and whether this in turn predicts success and persistence in one's STEM major. Additionally, I am interested in furthering the investigation of intergroup conflict and bias from a social psychological perspective while also understanding the evolved psychology that underlies these phenomena. Specifically, how race and socioeconomic status drive biases in social relationships.

My View for the Future of Education: I see education evolving to reflect the different learning styles that students have, while integrating knowledge from other disciplines and methods/environments that assist students to engage with the material in a more hand-on/applied manner. Additionally, I imagine the future of STEM education to be more inclusive. Individuals from diverse backgrounds should be more involved both at the educator role and the student role.

Christian's internship was made possible through the NSF Summer Scholars program and Quality Education for Minorities (QEM).

Jamie Sophia Helberg Name: Jamie Sophia Helberg

Role: Hispanic Serving Institutions Program Intern

Affiliation: Pitzer College (BA), Carnegie Mellon University (MS)

Discipline/expertise: Environmental Analysis and Intercultural Studies

Programs/Projects that you work on: Data Analysis and Communications for HSI Program

Educational Moment of Impact: Throughout my childhood, our next-door neighbor was a retired teacher named Sal Castro. He became both a mentor and a grandfather to me, constantly motivating me to be the first in my family to graduate from college. A huge fan of college football, Sal invited me to tailgate for nearly every USC game. Each time he travelled to an away game; he would bring back souvenirs from different universities for me. He wanted me to be excited about college. He also made me promise I wouldn't stop at a bachelor's degree and eventually apply to graduate school. Sal was a humble man who spent his time teaching me to be proud of my Latina roots while seldom talking about himself. Around 3rd grade, I learned who he really was from the HBO documentary, "Walkout" which told the story of his life. Our neighbor Sal was the education activist who led the historic East Los Angeles walkouts to protest the LAUSD's discrimination against Latinx students. When I asked him about this, he brushed it off his shoulder. By the time I was in middle school, a local school was being re-named after him. I did not find out because he told me. I found out because I found a flyer advertising the school's ceremony on our sidewalk. He brushed that off too but still allowed me to attend that celebration. Losing Sal to cancer in high school was earth-shattering. How could I apply to college without him? It was his impact that aided me through that process alone. It is because of Sal that I am now the first in my family with a college degree. It is because of Sal that I am entering graduate school in the fall. I am where I am today because of a retired teacher and humble social activist who saw my potential from a young age. I am so grateful to DUE for giving me the opportunity to further his legacy by working on the HSI program, something I know would've meant so much to Sal.

My View for the Future of Education: As someone who attended a Predominantly White Institution, my hope is that one day first generation and students of color can attend college having access to mentors, faculty members and students who relate to them. My hope for the future of education is that more institutions will support minorities, academically and financially. I also hope the term "minority supporting" will evolve in a more meaningful way to truly hold institutions accountable. To achieve these goals, I believe we must reform public education to implement equity and diversity practices that will transfer into the college experience.

Jamie's internship was made possible through the NSF Summer Scholars program and Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).


2020-06-16: Highlights
Noyce summer interns host virtual STEM learning platform

Beginning on June 22, the University of Houston's College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Noyce STEM teacher preparation program, teachHOUSTON, introduces a virtual STEM learning platform, teachHOUSTON STEM Interactive. This online endeavor includes three weeks of STEM activities using common household items for students entering grades 6-9. A private Facebook group will combine social interactions with STEM learning by allowing students to ask questions and seek feedback. The goal of this free and open access resource is to ignite student interest in STEM and promote innovation as well as STEM literacy. This venture is timely as parents are searching for quality educational opportunities for their children while social distancing. Preservice and in-service teachers are part of lesson content teams, receiving NSF Noyce summer internships allowing them to share their love and enthusiasm for STEM, engage youth in quality STEM lessons, and gain valuable experience teaching in an online format. Researchers will study the impact of mentoring and teaching in an online format. Due to great excitement and interest, investigators plan to continue the teachHOUSTON STEM Interactive in future summers as it allows for a greater number of students to participate in STEM learning.

Students participate in hands-on STEM project during 2018 summer initiative Photo courtesy of Chris Watts, University of Houston

This project is supported under DUE award 1557309.


2020-06-09: "What's New in DUE"
DUE staff members Mark Pauley and Karen Keene

Mark Pauley

Name: Mark Pauley

Role: Program Director

Affiliation: University of Nebraska

Discipline/expertise: Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Biology


Educational Moment of Impact: I had the opportunity to do an extra credit problem in a materials science course I was taking in my first year of graduate school. At first, I was convinced the problem was impossible to solve, given the information provided. However, after struggling with it for a while, I eventually had an epiphany and was able to come up with a solution. (And not just a solution, the correct solution!) This experience taught me perseverance, and I often think back to it when I encounter a difficult problem.

My View for the Future of Education: My vision is for every student, regardless of circumstance, to have access to a high-quality undergraduate education and for the education system to have the resources to provide it. This is a challenging problem without an easy solution. However, the projects I fund are helping to solve it.

Karen Keene Name: Karen Allen Keene

Role: Program Director

Affiliation: Purdue University and North Carolina State University

Discipline/expertise: Mathematics Education

Programs: Noyce, S-STEM, IUSE, ECR, HSI, CAREER

Educational Moment of Impact: I spent the first 15 years of my adulthood teaching high school math - and loved it. In 1990, I took a job at a state public high school in North Carolina - it was called the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM). NCSSM was a brainchild of a wonderful forward-thinking Governor Hunt who put education first in his plans. The school is residential and takes the best 150 students from around the state each year for their junior and senior year. I found there - a community that thought about education in ways that brought me out of a narrowed classroom focus to envisioning great forward strides in teaching mathematics - technology and active learning were tops! I was brought into the fold to participate and contribute. We wrote and published a textbook, and I presented and developed new ideas. After that, I was called to go back to grad school to become a math education researcher.

My View for the Future of Education: This is hard to say with details, but in a perfect world, education is for ALL and provides what each student needs to be successful (in STEM, or any content.


2020-06-02: "What's New in DUE"
NSF 20-084 Dear Colleague Letter

NSF 20-084 encourages eligible members of the STEM education research community to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation's CAREER program. The purpose of this letter is twofold: (a) to highlight, clarify, and draw attention to important information included in Program Solicitation NSF 20-525 as it relates to CAREER proposals submitted to divisions and programs within EHR; and (b) to list the divisions and programs within EHR that intend to review and fund CAREER proposals. Note that NSF has extended the deadline for CAREER proposal submission until 5:00 p.m. submitter's local time on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.

When submitting a CAREER proposal to EHR, investigators need to indicate the program that most closely aligns with their proposal's scope of work. The programs within the Division of Undergraduate Education that support CAREER proposals are below. Investigators are encouraged to read the program solicitations identified and determine the best fit for their work.


2020-06-02: "What's New in DUE"
DUE-2020-0004 interdisciplinary program officer job announcement

The Division of Undergraduate Education is seeking a permanent interdisciplinary program officer. The position announcement is open from May 26th, 2020 to July 27th, 2020.

The responsibilities of the NSF Program Director are constantly evolving. The core duties of program officers are to oversee and ensure high-quality merit review of proposals to NSF. However, program officers adapt their specific efforts as new opportunities and new programs develop. The program Director is guided by the goals of NSF's Strategic Plan: 1) enable the United States to uphold a position of world leadership in all aspects of science, mathematics, and engineering, 2) promote the discovery, integration, dissemination, and employment of new knowledge in service to society, and 3) achieve excellence in U.S. science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education at all levels. The core strategies NSF staff employ include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in a STEM discipline, plus after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position; OR a Master's degree in a STEM discipline, plus after award of the degree, eight or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.


2020-05-19: "What's New in DUE"
DUE staff members Andrea Nixon and Sami Rollins

Andrea Nxon

Name: Andrea Nixon

Role: Program Director

Affiliation: Carleton College

Discipline/expertise: Educational Technologies, Systemic Change, and Educational Research

Programs: Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE), EHR Core Research (ECR), Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship

Educational Moment of Impact: When I was in college, there was a proposal which would have reduced the number of courses that a student would take from 9 to 8 each year. The rationale was so that faculty members would have time to engage in research.

I had always thought that once an individual earned their Ph.D., that was the culmination of their learning. Surely my teachers and faculty members knew everything! I came to appreciate that the completion of an academic degrees is a starting point.

My View for the Future of Education: In a perfect world, a student's ZIP code would have no relationship to their expected educational outcomes.

Sami Rollins Name: Sami Rollins

Role: Program Director

Affiliation: University of San Francisco

Discipline/expertise: Computer Science

Programs: Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) and Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE)

Educational Moment of Impact: I was extremely fortunate to attend a small women's college, Mills, where I had several close mentors who had a great impact on my career. I had no intention of pursuing computer science when I started college, but my introductory programming professor encouraged me to take more CS classes and here I am today.

My View for the Future of Education: Equal access, real-world problem solving, and mentorship. I believe every student should have a strong foundation in STEM education and should learn to solve the real problems that we face in the world today.


2020-05-12: Highlights
Innovative DUE principal investigators share research on the hill

On March 4, 2020, the United States House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology sponsored the panel and interactive showcase, "Broadening Participation in STEM."

Broadening Participation
Dr. Marrongelle and EHR principal investigators

This event featured an array of principal investigators (PIs), four of whom are currently funded by the Division of Undergraduate Education. Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources, Dr. Karen Marrongelle gave an introduction and served as the moderator. Marrongelle emphasized what promoting broadening participation entails, "It means we take a multi-faceted approach that includes quantifying the current state of participation in STEM, examining what sparks interest and what barriers exist for students to stay and thrive in STEM fields, and finally strategically supporting students and educators through formal and informal mechanisms." She later stated, "We must acknowledge and understand the barriers to student success. Barriers of bias and misperceptions - about who can be, or who looks like a computer scientist, or a statistician, or an astrophysicist - can smother that initial spark of interest." Her remarks were followed by individual PIs who gave a summary of their current education research and their investments in broadening participation.

Principal investigators from the Advanced Technical Education (ATE) Program, as well as the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Program, among others, also presented.

Dr. Anand Gramopadhye of Clemson University and Dr. Jeff Bertrand of the Center for Aviation and Automotive Technological Education shared their virtual reality modules which strengthen automotive and aviation technician education programs across the United States. This technology is vital as it opens up training in a high-tech environment to a broad array of students.

Dr. David Farmer, of the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM), who along with fellow collaborators, presented a new process that converts text into Braille, a free alternative to an otherwise time intensive and costly process. This innovation reduces barriers for students who are visually impaired, as well as a broad array of student populations as the system can also produce online and electronic publication versions at no cost.

Dr. Lara Thompson, of the University of the District of Columbia, spoke about learning biomedical concepts through research in human balance. Her IUSE-funded research centers on recruitment and retention of underrepresented student populations, specifically minority females in the Biomedical Engineering B.S. degree program, which she initiated. Her hope is to inspire a new generation of students to pursue careers in STEM.

Dr. Gloria Washington, of Howard University, shared her experience in mentoring and conducting research with her students on human-centered computing and biometrics. Her mission is "To improve the everyday lives of underrepresented and/or underserved humans through the creation of technologies that utilize human physiological and behavioral characteristics for identity recognition and/or understanding of human emotions."

Events such as this help highlight NSF-funded research conducted by diverse communities, as well as research and related activities that engage groups historically underrepresented in STEM. Projects featured in this showcase are supported under DUE awards 1700621, 1505246, 1654474, and 1914820.


2020-05-05: "What's New in DUE"
DUE staff members Pushpa Ramakrishna and Talitha Washington

Pushpa Ramakrishna Name: Pushpa Ramakrishna

Role: Program Director

Discipline/expertise: Biology, Sustainability, Biotechnology

Date joined DUE: September 2017

Programs: Advanced Technical Education (ATE), Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE), Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI)

What most excites you about the future of STEM Education/where do you see it going?

I am passionate about igniting students' interest in biology and mobilizing stakeholders to bring about systemic change in biology education. It excites me to bring the excitement from the frontiers of science and technology into the undergraduate classroom and to empower students with knowledge and skills to prepare them for the workplace/higher studies and enable them to become global leaders of the future. My vision for higher education is to help every student reach their full potential in the STEM fields by developing problem solving skills and achieve her/his diverse goals as each student counts.

Talitha Washington Name: Talitha Washington

Role: Program Director

Affiliation: Howard University

Discipline/expertise: Mathematics

Date joined DUE: August 2017

Programs: Currently on detail to the NSF Convergence Accelerator; Previously worked on Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI), Accelerating Discovery: Educating the Future STEM Workforce (AD) - Data Science, Improving Undergraduate Education (IUSE) - Data Science, Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship, Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM)

What most excites you about the future of STEM Education/where do you see it going?

I aim to enhance the preparation and participation in STEM by serving the nation's science and engineering enterprise and ensuring that underrepresented groups and diverse institutions across all geographic regions are included in the scientific enterprise of the nation.


2020-04-27: "What's New in DUE"
NSF STEM DIVE (Diversity and Inclusion Video Exhibition) challenge

STEM DIVE competition flyer

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is looking for innovative, effective, and replicable approaches to building a diverse and inclusive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce through partnerships. As an NSF initiative with a mission to enhance U.S. leadership in STEM by facilitating partnerships, NSF INCLUDES is sponsoring to the NSF STEM DIVE (Diversity and Inclusion Video Exhibition) Challenge.

NSF invites grantees from all NSF programs to showcase, in the form of a short video (one to three minutes), how forging partnerships, networks, or alliances has contributed to an increase in diversity and inclusion in STEM. All entries must be submitted by a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on any previous or current funded NSF award. These videos will be used by NSF and its programs in various platforms (e.g. websites, fair exhibitions, printed materials) to exhibit how grantees have encouraged and supported diversity and inclusion in STEM preK-12, higher, and informal education. This challenge is also designed to attract broader interest in STEM and to inform the greater community about best practices and effective strategies for increasing diversity and inclusion, partnership and networking strategies, and dissemination approaches for growing the STEM workforce.

Up to four $2500 Experts’ Choice and up to two $1250 People’s Choice prizes awards will be given for the most compelling videos describing partnerships in the following categories: Informal STEM Education, PreK-12 STEM Education, STEM Higher Education, and STEM Alliances. Complete entries must be submitted by 6/25/2020 via e-mail to


2020-04-21: Findings
Math contextualization as a mechanism for student success and faculty professional development

A multi-institutional team of researchers in Wisconsin, led by PI Xueli Wang, is investigating how faculty make sense of and use professional development as part of a community of practice around math contextualization in teaching math. The project team is investigating whether and how contextualization impacts students' math-related learning experiences, motivational beliefs and educational outcomes. These researchers are developing new instruments that educators can use to assess teaching and learning in the contextualized math classroom. Specifically, the team developed interview protocols for assessing faculty experiences with professional development, survey instruments for students who have experienced contextualized math in their classrooms, as well as interview protocols to follow up with students who have responded. In addition, they developed a classroom observation protocol that operationalizes what contextualized math looks like when enacted from both the student and instructor lenses.

The project is guided by two intersecting conceptual frameworks: community of practice (Wenger, 2011) for structuring faculty professional development, and momentum for community college student success (Wang, 2017), as illustrated below:

Math Contextualization Graphic

One hallmark of this project is a partnership between University of Wisconsin-Madison and two community and technical colleges (Madison College and Milwaukee Area Technical College). With complementary research expertise and practitioner knowledge, the partnership allows for not only development and implementation of effective professional development for faculty teaching math in Advanced Technical Education programs, but also grounded faculty practices and student learning within empirical evidence and robust evaluation. Further, the relationship and mutual trust created through joint efforts have allowed educators to form a robust community of practice to advance research teaching practices and use what they have learned to improve students' motivation, learning, and outcomes in math.

C2L Cross  institutional Meeting in 2018
Contextualize2Learn cross-institutional meeting in 2018

This project is supported under DUE award 1700625.


2020-04-14: "What's New in DUE"
NSF Acting Director

On March 31st, Dr. Kelvin K. Droegemeier joined the National Science Foundation to serve as acting director until Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan is confirmed as the NSF Director by the Senate. Over the past 35 years, Dr. Droegemier has led a career that has been deeply intertwined with NSF. Among many accomplishments, he has co-founded and led an NSF Science and Technology Center in addition to serving for 12 years on the National Science Board, four of which as Vice Chairman. Dr. Droegemier is also the current Director of the White House Office of Science Technology and Policy. From this position he brings a wealth of knowledge to the NSF on federal operations. Read more about Dr. Droegemier's acting appointment in NSF's News Release 20-006.


2020-04-07: Highlights
2020 Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM)

The Joint Mathematics Meetings, a convening of both the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America occurred in Denver, Colorado Jan. 15-18, 2020. As the conference website states, “JMM advances mathematical achievement, encourages research and educational exchange, and provides the communications necessary to progress in the field.” Highlighted speakers came from institutions ranging from Research I universities, to liberal arts schools and community colleges, covering areas such as research and development in mathematics and mathematics education. Various DUE personnel attended, including Program Officers Sandra Richardson, Karen Keene, and Talitha Washington, Deputy Division Director Lee Zia, and Program Specialist Mike Jugan.


Noyce and IUSE principal investigators
“Noyce and IUSE principal investigators at JMM” Photo courtesy of Sandra Richardson

DUE celebrates the achievements of the undergraduate math community and all the connections made at this conference. We look forward to 2021 when JMM will be held near NSF in Washington, DC!

DUE principal investigator develops groundbreaking method for Braille mathematics textbook production

Researchers supported by both the Division of Undergraduate Education and Mathematical Sciences recently announced their development of a method for creating math textbooks in Braille using “a new authoring system which serves as a ‘universal translator’ for textbook formats, combined with enhancements to the standard method for putting mathematics in a web page.”

One of the principal investigators (PIs), Martha Siegel, pursed the project being inspired by one of her students who was blind and encountered significant difficulties in procuring an accessible statistics textbook for one of her courses. “This project is about equity and equal access to knowledge,” Siegel said to Business Wire. Conversion of simple text into Braille is not a great hurdle, although it is labor-intensive. Even more challenging is rendering the structure of the book in a non-visual way and handling the conversion of mathematical formulas, graphs, and diagrams. Automating the entire process is the key advancement of the project.

“At the recent Joint Mathematics Meetings, I attended three presentations about complementary facets of this project to automate the conversion of mathematics to Braille,” DUE’s Lee Zia said of the project. “In conversation with the project leaders I learned of a new challenge they are tackling which is to convert mathematical figures such as graphs of functions into Braille. Because notational symbols, for example the labels of the axes of a graph, require a minimum amount of space on the Braille page, their original alignment on the textual page must be adjusted carefully to the Braille page so that the relation of the different parts of the mathematical figure to each other don’t inadvertently overlap.”

Mathematics textbook next to braille textbook

“Text to Braille” Photo courtesy of Lee Zia *Text to Braille summary courtesy of Nadege Aoki of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)


2020-03-30: “What’s New in DUE”
National Science Foundation’s Response to COVID-19

In response to the global pandemic, the National Science Foundation has issued Important Notice No 146 regarding COVID-19. This notice conveys a personal message from the NSF Director, Dr. France Córdova, acknowledging the challenging circumstances affecting both personal and professional lives of everyone in the STEM and STEM education community.

NSF has also issued additional guidance on NSF’s implementation of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum (M-20-17), entitled, Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations. NSF has implemented flexibilities authorized by OMB from specific administrative, financial management and audit requirements contained in 2 CFR Part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards without compromising accountability requirements.

Questions about the policies described in the NSF Guidance should be directed to NSF is working to update existing FAQs and other resources to reflect NSF’s new guidance and will keep the community informed at:


2020-03-30: “What’s New in DUE”
NSF 20-034 Dear Colleague Letter

NSF 20-034 encourages the submission of proposals to the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE: EHR) program from institutions that have not had prior funding from the IUSE: EHR Program. Proposers are encouraged to consider submission to Level 1 of the Engaged Student Learning track of the IUSE: EHR Program. Proposals in the Engaged Student Learning track of IUSE: EHR focus directly on students or serve them through faculty professional development and related activities. Information about the objectives and expectations for the Engaged Student Learning and for Level 1 proposals can be found in the IUSE: EHR solicitation, NSF 19-601.

Upcoming deadlines: Aug. 4, 2020 and Feb. 2, 2021, then the first Tuesday in August and February thereafter.


Please view DUE's goals and strategies on our site

Division of Undergraduate Education (EHR/DUE)

Phone: (703) 292-8670 | Fax: (703) 292-9015 | Room: W 11100