Seeds of STEM Project Team
PI, Mia Dubosarsky manages the project. She brings to the project vast experience in science education, more specifically her expertise in professional development, curriculum development, and experience working with Head Start teachers in Minnesota and Massachusetts. In addition, her dissertation research focused on preschool children‘s views of science. Dr. Dubosarsky worked directly with the Worcester Head Start program during the 2012-2013 academic year. This work included conducting sixty hours of professional development and classroom modeling on the integration of engineering practices with literacy (Engineering the Story). In her role as Co-PI, Dr. Dubosarsky will manage the different components of the project, coordinate the sessions and studies in the Head Start classrooms, develop and conduct the professional development sessions, help facilitate the development meeting and assist in training the graduate students who will be observing the classrooms and coding the videos.
Co-PI, Florencia Anggoro is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the College of the Holy Cross. She received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Northwestern University, with a specialization in Cognitive Science. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago, where she studied children’s physical science learning on an NSF-funded project. Her research program focuses on conceptual development, particularly the role of language, culture, and formal learning experiences in shaping children‘s concepts. She has conducted numerous studies on children‘s acquisition of biological concepts and children‘s learning of relational categories. Her work has been published in multiple peer-reviewed scientific journals including Psychological Science, Child Development, and Journal of Cognition and Culture. Recently she was awarded an IES grant of $311,139 to examine cognitive factors that support children’s learning in astronomy. Working with Worcester Public Schools, the project aims to test whether successive comparisons of different perspectives of the solar system (i.e., Earth-based vs. space-based) help children integrate the different perspectives and better understand scientific explanations of the day-night cycle. In her role as Co-PI on the Seeds of STEM project, Dr. Anggoro contributes her expertise in conceptual development and helps develop assessments of conceptual change in children. She also provides feedback on curriculum development, data coding, and analyses.
Co-PI, Melissa-Sue John advises the curriculum development team on issues of stereotyping, diversity and multiculturalism. Dr. John brings to the project expertise in studying the academic achievement gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Melissa-Sue John is a Research Associate in the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Dr. John obtained her doctoral degree in Social Psychology from the University of Connecticut. Her research area investigates the effects of being categorized (e.g., ethnic minority, female, immigrant) on general attitudes (e.g. stereotyping) and behavior (e.g., hiring, promotion, voting, sentencing). Dr. John is a member of APA, SPSP, and SPSSI and has reviewed for a number of conferences and peer reviewed journals.
Bernadette Sibuma, Research Scientist, brings more than a decade of experience in educational research and evaluation to the STEM Education Center. With special expertise in cognition, instructional technologies, and human-computer interaction, Bernadette’s research interests include how we can use technology to enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and how different interface designs affect cognitive processes and learning outcomes. She has authored articles in peer-reviewed journals, such as Teacher Development, Journal of Interactive Learning Research, and the International Journal of Higher Education and presented her work at AERA, SITE, Association for Psychological Science, and the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. She holds a doctor of education degree in instructional technology and media from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a bachelor of science in educational psychology from Cornell University.
Susmitha Wunnava is a Graduate Research Assistant, assisting with data analysis and reporting of the evaluation processes, video coding and instrument development for curriculum outcomes assessment. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D in the Data Science program at WPI. Her research interests are in Educational Data Mining, Text Mining and Social Network Analysis. She received her Masters degree in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University and has a strong background in Mathematics and Statistics. She has 8 years of industry experience working as a database analyst/programmer. She is a strong advocate of children’s STEM education and with personal experience raising her two kids, believes that we can make a difference if we start early on.
A current undergraduate at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Leah Holt is studying Robotics Engineering as well as German Language and Culture. Leah assists throughout the project; helping in areas such as data collection, video coding, and curriculum development, as well as overall support.
Lisa Spalding is a Robotics Engineering major at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She joined the Seeds of Stem project team in Fall 2017 because of her interest in STEM education. Her main role is to proofread and help develop the curriculum, as well as organize and laminate materials. Her hobbies, other than robotics, are sailing, singing and skiing.
Akshaj “Achu” Balasubramanian is an undergraduate student, currently studying Mathematics and Computer Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Achu mainly works on proofreading and suggesting improvements for the Seeds of STEM curriculum. His passion for this project stems (mind the pun) from his interest in education.
Research Assistant Courtney Esteves is a current undergraduate student studying Psychology and Religious Studies at the College of the Holy Cross. She primarily works on the Seeds of STEM project by helping code assessments of both teachers and students. Passionate about the education sector, Courtney is grateful for the opportunity to be a member of the Seeds of STEM team.
Research Assistant Sawnaz “Sunny” Shaidani is currently an undergraduate student majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She scores and assesses videos of the curriculum and posts information about the Seeds of STEM project on its social media pages. Sunny joined the team because she is passionate about inspiring more women to enter STEM fields, and believes that this can be done by introducing STEM to students at a young age.
Ginger Adams is a third year undergraduate student studying environmental engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Her primary work with Seed of Stem consists of organizational tasks and video scoring/editing. Ginger loves both STEM and children, so Seeds of Stem is a perfect match. Being able to help children be interested in the same things she studies and loves is amazing!
Seeds of STEM Advisory Board
Dr. Martha Cyr is currently the Executive Director of the STEM Education Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI.) Martha brings to the advisory board her 18+ years of experience in the field of engineering education. Dr. Cyr has been leading innovation in the integration of engineering in K-12 classrooms since 1995. She was the founding director of the Center for Engineering Educational Outreach at Tufts and served in that role for six years. While in that position, she played an active part in the revision of Massachusetts‘s K-12 curriculum frameworks – resulting in a learning strand called Technology/Engineering. She has headed up the creation of three K-12 educational resources; The Prentice Hall Science Explorer middle school science series of texts, the Making the Connection series of resources for introducing engineering, and the LEGO Mindstorms for Schools, using ROBOLAB series of texts.
Dr. Sarah Michaels, Ph.D. Dr. Michaels participates in advisory board meetings, helps determine the curriculum framework and student outcome and provides feedback on unit plans. Dr. Michaels’ vast research experience guides the project‘s team on research in early childhood settings and STEM education best practices. Dr. Michaels is a Professor of Education at Clark University. She is actively involved in teaching and research in the area of language, culture, “multiliteracies,” and the discourses of math and science. She was the founding Director of the Hiatt Center for Urban Education and works to bring together teacher education, educational research on classroom discourse, and district-based efforts at educational reform. Dr. Michaels‘ book Ready, Set, Science!: Putting Research to Work in the K-8 Science Classroom (2007, co-authored with Andy Shouse and Heidi Schweingruber for the NRC) summarizes a rich body of findings from the learning sciences and builds detailed cases of science educators at work to make the implications of research clear, accessible, and stimulating for a broad range of science educators. Dr. Michaels has been involved with curriculum development projects for Head Start classrooms in math and science.
Dr. Skorinko is an associate professor of psychology and the director of the Psychological Science Program in the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She received her PhD in social psychology at the University of Virginia. Her research program attempts to understand how factors in our social environment, especially those factors we are unaware of, influence decisions and interpersonal interactions. Dr. Skorinko currently serves as the President-Elect of the New England Psychological Association (NEPA).
Greg Mullaney, Ed.D
As advisory board member Dr. Mullaney participates in advisory board meetings, helps determine the curriculum framework and student outcome and provides feedback on unit plans. His vast experience in early childhood settings helps guide the team on the Seeds of STEM development process. Dr. Mullaney is an adjunct professor at the department of Early Childhood Education, Quinsigamond Community College. Dr. Mullaney has over 30 years of experience in the field of early education and care.
Dr. Sherbourne serves as the liaison to the Worcester Head Start program. As advisory board member Dr. Sherbourne participates in advisory board meetings, helps determine the curriculum framework and student outcome and provides feedback on lesson plans. As the education manager of WHS Dr. Sherbourne serves as the link between the project and the day-to-day WHS needs, schedules, and long term plan. Dr. Sherbourne has vast experiences as a preschool teacher, Head Start administrator, and faculty member at Quinsigamond Community College.
As an advisory board member Dr. Figuerido participates in advisory board meetings, help determine the curriculum framework and student outcome and provide feedback on lesson plans. Dr. Figuerido has extensive knowledge of early childhood education, state and national requirements for programs including recent initiatives, and current research on best practices in early childhood education. She is currently the Director of Child Development and Education, Inc. where one of her many responsibilities is to develop and oversee professional development for Head Start, among other programs.
As an advisory board member Mr. Wolfson participates in advisory board meetings, helps determine the curriculum framework and student outcome and provides feedback on unit plans. Mr. Wolfson creates curriculum and professional development programs for Pre-K through fifth grade teachers. His programs build interdisciplinary learning environments by connecting literature to math and science using the engineering design process and thinking skills. Mr. Wolfson‘s experience provides the board with the insight and background needed to guide the projects.
Seeds of STEM Curriculum Development Teachers
Amy Herman worked with a team of dedicated early childhood teachers to develop an engineering curriculum for young learners. Her passion is to provide meaningful, science-based learning experiences for her preschool students. Amy has a master’s in early childhood education and believes young children deserve an education that honors them as individuals as well as prepares them for the future.
Christine Grudoff is a 17 year veteran PreK teacher at the Worcester Head Start Program. She received her BA in Early Childhood Education from Worcester State University.Her passion for STEM first started when she participated in a workshop conducted by W.P.I. Her participation in the SEEDS of STEM project has been very fullfilling and she is excited to see this curriculum used in more Head Start Programs.
Suchira Channoi was selected as a teaching authority for developing the STEM curriculum for WPI. She is presently a Lead Teacher at the Head Start Program in Worcester, MA, and holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Worcester State University. Ms. Channoi has taught for over a decade but has focused in early education for the least 9 years. Her passion for Science and Technology began earlier in her childhood. Today, she is combining her love for Science and Technology, as well as teaching at an early childhood level to develop a curriculum that would optimize the learning of young students. Ms. Channoi believes in the independent development of young students’ analytical and problem solving skills, with the use of science and engineering tools and methods. Aside from teaching, Ms. Channoi has a passion for continued learning and is pursuing additional graduate studies in Moderate Disabilities at Worcester State University. She is also an amateur photographer, capturing her friends, family, and travel experiences with a camera.
Colleen Bostwick has been an educator for 10 years with a passion for preschool and currently holds a Center Coordinator Support and Lead Teacher position at a Head Start Program in Worcester Massachusetts. Miss Bostwick is a part of the Seed of STEM curriculum development team, and in the past has done work with WGBH’s Peep in the Big Wide World Professional Development series. Miss Bostwick is dedicated to building the foundation of learning within her students by bringing early learning experiences that are engaging and meaningful for all in her class, despite their varying abilities.
Past Team Members
External Evaluator, Theresa Bruckerhoff serves as the project’s external evaluator, overseeing the planning, implementation, and reporting of the evaluation process and findings, as well as supporting the research plan. She works in collaboration with the project personnel, assisting the STEM Center in the collection and analysis of data that provides evidence of the project’s impact and effectiveness. Ms. Bruckerhoff is Vice-President and Principal Evaluator for CRE. She has a MS in Curriculum and Instruction and a BS in Elementary Education. Previously she was a state certified teacher with sixteen years of classroom teaching experience ranging from preschool to the middle school levels. She has taught in gifted programs, special education programs, and regular classrooms in public and private schools. She has held executive board positions for child care centers and a nursery school. Currently, she studies and evaluates state and national programs for teachers’ professional development, school restructuring, and student learning.
Miranda Lawell is a current undergraduate student studying Biochemistry with a focus in Pre-Health at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Interested in education, Miranda recently completed her teaching practicum at Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester, where she taught College-, Honors-, and Advancement Placement-level Chemistry. In her role on the Seeds of STEM project, Miranda assists in developing the curriculum for the various units, as well as providing additional support where needed.
Graduate RA, assisting with organization and implementation of data collection process. He also develops technological infrastructure for project. He is currently pursuing his PhD in the Robotics Engineering program at WPI. His research interests are in Soft Robotics, Control Theory and Autonomous Systems.
Graduate RA, Eugene Rohrer received his undergraduate degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester where he assisted with research that examined language adaptation abilities in children and adults. Currently, Eugene works as a Project Coordinator at the College of the Holy Cross. He helps manage and run an IES funded grant that aims to understand and improve children’s ability to learn astronomy. Eugene assists the Seeds of STEM project by helping develop assessments that gauge children’s conceptual growth.
Daniela Costa is a current undergraduate student studying Management Engineering with a concentration in Electrical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. A student in the Teacher Preparatory Program, Daniela recently completed her teaching practicum at Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester, where she taught College-level Advanced Algebra, Honors-level Statistics & Probability, & Advanced Topics . In her role on the Seeds of STEM project, Daniela assists in providing additional support where needed.
This study is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A150571 to Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.