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Media Advisory 09-004

Research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

Event at NSF offers the latest from researchers on STEM learning, and the best approaches for teaching STEM subjects


STEM education researchers are drawing on cognitive sciences to better understand student learning.

February 10, 2009

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

STEM education researchers are increasingly drawing on the cognitive sciences for a more detailed understanding of how students learn, and researchers are investigating topics as diverse as the neural basis for learning mathematics, and how virtual environments support scientific inquiry.

Advancements in education research are prompting NSF to ask: Where is the cutting edge in education research? How can we best support it? What are its implications down the road for teaching and learning?

Among NSF's programs supporting basic research into how students learn STEM, and what approaches are most effective in teaching them, is a program called, Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE).

Eleven researchers funded through REESE are participating in an event at NSF headquarters where they will be presenting information about their ongoing work. The event, which is open to the public, takes place on Thurs., Feb. 19, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in the first-floor atrium at NSF headquarters, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Va.

Remarks on ongoing directions and priorities will be given at 4:00 p.m. The event will include light refreshments.

Among the researchers scheduled to attend are:

  • Janet Hyde, University of Wisconsin-Madison--Recently featured in the New York Times and other media for her work on gender and math learning, she will discuss three different projects related to math learning, including one on mothers' interactions with children doing mathematics.
  • Jeremy Roschelle, SRI International--Recently interviewed for NSF's multimedia special report, "Math: What's the Problem?", will discuss his projects, which have addressed issues of how to teach and scale up the teaching of important mathematics concepts to middle school students using innovative technologies.
  • Sarah Brem from Arizona State University--She will discuss her study synthesizing what we know from cognitive scientists, science educators, biologists and teachers about the challenges of learning about and teaching evolution.
  • Kathryn Borman, University of South Florida--Her research draws on the wealth of data from the state of Florida about students in public postsecondary institutions. Through her research projects, Borman examines student pathways all the way from high school through college and into their later career placements in STEM or other fields.
  • Bruce McCandliss, Vanderbilt University--He will discuss his new research project that is using brain imaging measures, including brain structure (MRI, DTI), bloodflow changes (fMRI), and electrical responses (ERP) to analyze early math and number skills in first graders and kindergartners.

Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from all of the participants about their work. Media interviews may be arranged by contacting Maria Zacharias in NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) at or 703-292-8454.

Individuals with special needs, who would like to request accomodations, may contact Nicole Harris for assistance at or 703-292-7155 by Monday, February 16, 2009.

A complete list of participants follows:


Media Contacts
Maria C. Zacharias, NSF, (703) 292-8454, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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