Inquiry Magazine Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy

FALL 2010

Project Excite Grad Enrolls at Northwestern
Chance Carter

Ten years ago Chance Carter was a third grader selected for the SESP Project Excite program, which advances the science and mathematics skills of gifted minority students in Evanston schools. Today he is a freshman at Northwestern University, the first student from Project Excite to enroll at the University.

Carter is a psychology major and a member of the football team. "I'm very excited to start at Northwestern," he says.

Seeing the young kids on campus for Center for Talent Development classes over the summer, Carter says, "I remembered what it was like walking in their shoes." He notes that Project Excite gave him an advanced look at science and math that prepared him for high school. Project Excite provides sustained enrichment through eighth grade with classes on Saturdays and during the summer.

Reach for the Stars Project Places Scientists in Classrooms

In some Chicago-area classrooms, science lessons will pop off the page with the addition of a real-life resident scientist. Northwestern graduate students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields will bring their cutting- edge research tools into K-12 classrooms through a new project involving the Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP).

K-12 students will use the same computer modeling tools that real scientists use in the Reach for the Stars project, which received a $2.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program. This program advances graduate students' teaching skills as they work to improve science education and stimulate interest in science.

Physics and astronomy professor Vicky Kalogera is the principal investigator on this five-year project, and OSEP director Kemi Jona, SESP research associate professor, is a co-principal investigator. The graduate fellows will take a yearlong course taught by Jona on effective methods for science teaching.

Fellows will work with teachers to integrate cyber tools and computer simulation into the curriculum to support real-world, inquiry-based mathematics and science learning.

Undergraduates Log Research Experience

Emma Adam Lauren Troy and Aria Fiat
Student researchers Lauren Troy and Aria Fiat work with associate professor Emma Adam.

Twenty-five undergraduate students tap away on their laptops as they help associate professor Jeannette Colyvas with her research on science and commerce. The students collect primary data on the career histories of scientists so she can track inventing and entrepreneurship in scientists' careers. "It's exposing them to state-of-the-art social science research," says Colyvas, who notes that the students even learn about modeling and network visualization.

Colyvas is one of many SESP faculty members who involve undergraduates in their research. Students work with associate professor Emma Adam, for example, on her studies of social influences on stress and health and professor James Rosenbaum on tracking the transition to college.

Students also study civic engagement with professor Dan Lewis, life stories with professor Dan McAdams, teaching mathematics in context with assistant professor Edd Taylor and organizational communication with instructor Gail Berger.

SESP undergraduates have the opportunity to develop research skills and relationships with faculty members as they put their learning into practice and explore topics of interest. "I've developed as a leader. It's been huge in terms of my personal development," says Josh Tajchman-Kaplan (BS10), who served as lab manager for Colyvas's research group.

Tom Schuller

Neugarten Lecture Presents Tom Schuller on October 5

New ways of looking at lifelong learning will be the topic when the Human Development and Social Policy program presents the Bernice Neugarten Memorial Lecture on October 5 in Annenberg Hall. The featured speaker will be Tom Schuller, the author of 15 books and director of Longview, a British think tank promoting life course research.

The lecture series is presented in honor of the late Bernice L. Neugarten, a pioneer in human development and aging, and is funded through memorial gifts by friends. Neugarten founded the interdisciplinary Human Development and Social Policy doctoral program in 1981.

MSLOC Projects Encourage Healthy Foods in Schools

MSLOC students
MSLOC students developed a prototype event and toolkit for parents who wish to advocate for healthy eating in the schools.

Four projects led by graduate students in the Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change (MSLOC) program benefited efforts to increase locally grown and organic foods in Illinois schools. Student teams partnered with organizations advocating for child health and the local economy.

In one project, MSLOC students developed a survey about the sources of foods in Illinois schools to help the Illinois Farm-to-School organization foster the use of local and organic foods in schoolchildren's diets. Two other MSLOC projects assisted a nonprofit that serves Chicago-area schools with a healthy eating curriculum, food procurement, parent engagement and teacher training to improve access to healthier foods. Another MSLOC team helped two organizations focusing on children's health and nutrition by developing a prototype event and toolkit for parents who wish to organize action in their local schools.

NU-TEACH Graduates Score High Marks

NU-TEACH grad Rosalind Kline-Thomas wins Golden Apple Award. Read more >>
NU-TEACH director Sylvia Smith- DeMuth with Golden Apple Award winner Rosalind Kline-Thomas.

"Over the past 12 years we have certified numerous outstanding teachers who have gone on to receive recognition and awards," says NU-TEACH director Sylvia Smith-DeMuth. The NU-TEACH alternative certification program offers a fast track for career changers while it also provides highly capable teachers for urban classrooms.

Most recently, NU-TEACH graduate Rosalind Kline-Thomas was recognized with the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence. A former corporate buyer and engineering major, she received the prestigious Golden Apple Award in only her second year of teaching. She teaches mathematics at Michele Clark Academic Prep High School in Chicago, where she emphasizes mentoring students and creative techniques.

In June, President Obama named NU-TEACH graduate Paul Karafiol a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. A mathematics teacher at Walter Payton High School in Chicago, Karafiol coached the Payton math team to several state wins, authored two textbooks and created the school's student development program. He was also honored as a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction.

In addition to numerous other award winners, NU-TEACH boasts among its alumni 25 nationally board certified teachers. A hallmark of the program is that 75 percent of NU-TEACH graduates remain in teaching five years or more, compared with 50 percent nationally.

"I am quite proud of our grads. This is very much the measure of our program effectiveness and leadership," says Smith-DeMuth.