STEM Education Research Project Focuses on Sustainability with New Grant

STEM Education Research Project Focuses on Sustainability with New Grant

STEM education professional development

A project to develop high school students as science leaders will expand with a new Innovation Generation grant from the Motorola Foundation. The Office of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Partnerships (OSEP) will emphasize sustainability in the expansion of its research program for high school students spanning the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Creating Leaders for STEM Student Research program supports research opportunities for high school students through targeted teacher professional development, student mentoring with local experts, and teacher and student research internships. This year more than 100 teachers and students will be involved.

A new component this year is professional development related to sustainability so that students can focus on the topic in their inquiry-based research projects. Bimonthly workshops on current topics will supplement a summer course for teachers.

“The students are very aware of environmental issues and very motivated when those issues come up,” says OSEP assistant director Susan Ipri Brown. Stevenson High School and the College of Lake County are partners in developing the professional development for helping to get students involved in sustainability topics, she adds.

Meanwhile, the program continues to develop curriculum and provide professional development on facilitating student research projects in the STEM area. “We will continue to focus on giving students the ability to pick independent projects and explore topics on their own,” Ipri Brown notes.

In addition, an online mentoring component will match students with research mentors. Teachers and students also have the opportunity to job shadow and work directly with mentors.

Since 2005, the Motorola Foundation's Innovation Generation program has sought to boost American students' engagement in STEM education. “The future of American innovation depends on a diverse pipeline of critical thinkers who are well versed in STEM principles,” says Matt Blakely, director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation.

Housed at the School of Education and Social Policy, OSEP supports K-12 students and teachers by connecting them with the world-class science, technology, engineering and mathematics resources of Northwestern University.

Creating Leaders for STEM Student Research adds to OSEP’s numerous professional development programs offered in subjects from earth science to advanced biology. This summer, eight programs range from job shadowing opportunities to training in the use of scientific probes to curriculum development in the area of sustainability.

One of OSEP's most extensive projects is remote online laboratories that enable students and educators to use real instruments, rather than simulations, to carry out experiments from anywhere at any time. More than 1,400 students worldwide are engaging with the remote labs.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 12/22/11