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STEM Education PhD Fellowships

We are pleased to announce the availability of several fellowships to support student research for the Spring 2013 semester. Eligible students include those currently enrolled in the STEM Education PhD program or who will apply in the Spring 2013 semester.

Applicants must:

  1. Complete the application form and submit a current CV as a single pdf to William Martin.
  2. Submit two letters of reference (see application form for details).

Applications are due by December 14.

Please note new weblink for Section 5, Critical Prompt:

Dr. Erika Offerdahl Gives Invited Seminar

Dr. Erika Offerdahl will present results from her collaborative project focusing on visualization in the molecular life sciences at Purdue University September 19th 2012.  Her talk, entitled "Do you see what I see?  A pilot analysis of textbook representations in the molecular life sciences" will begin at 4:30 p.m. in WTHR 201 for the Chemical Education Seminar.  Special thanks to her host, Professor Trevor Anderson!

Momsen presents at Ecological Society of America

Dr. Jennifer Momsen will present a talk and workshop at the 97th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, held in Portland, Oregon.

  1. How student-constructed models reveal content understanding (Thursday, August 9 at 8 am)
  2. Formative Assessment: Just do it! Rapid Response to Undergraduate Feedback (Tuesday, August 7 at 11:30)

Introductory Biology Project

Dr. Jennifer Momsen will present two talks at the Introductory Biology Project's summer conference, which focuses on implementing Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology.

  1. Characterizing the cognitive learning levels of the biology major's curriculum.
  2. A workshop on whole course transformation, with a talk titled, Teach Different!

Faculty and students present at AAPT and PERC

STEM Education faculty and students will be giving presenting at the American Association of Physics Teachers Meeting (July 30-Aug 2) in Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Warren Chistensen in an invited panelist for a discussion on STEM Education Programs.

Oral Presentations

Title:  Application of Bloom's taxonomy in introductory college-level physics courses

Nathaniel C. Grosz, Drs. Erika Offerdahl, and Mila Kryjevskaia

Title:  Interpreting multi-variable expressions: Patterns in student reasoning

Dr. Mila Kryjevskaia


Transforming Resarch in Undergraduate STEM Education

The second conference of Transforming Research in Undergraduate STEM Education (TRUSE) will be held in St. Paul, MN at University of St. Thomas June 3-7th, 2012.  Dr. Warren Christensen is a co-organizer of the conference. 

Inivited Talk:

Tackling teaching:  Investigating inquiry instruction in chemistry, mathematics, and physics (Warren Christensen)

Poster Presentations:

Investigating student understanding of eigen theory in quantum mechanics (Warren Christensen)

Presentations Accepted for Annual SABER Meeting

The second annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER) (will be held in Minneapolis, MN July 12-15, 2012 on the University of Minneapolis - Twin Cities campus.  The following papers and posters will be presented by members of the STEM Education PhD program.

Oral Presentations

1. Student interpretations of phlogenetic trees

Jonathan Dees, Jennifer L. Momsen and Lisa Montplaisir

2.  A picture is worth a single word?  An analysis of textbook visualizations in the life sciences

Erika Offerdahl, Jessie Arneson, and Jordyn Hull

3.  Will this be on the test? Characterizing the cognitive learning levels of undergraduate science courses

Jennifer L. Momsen, Erika Offerdahl, Lisa Montplaisir, Mila Kryjevskaia, Elizabeth Anderson, and Nate Grosz

4. Introductory biology students' models reveal gaps in causal reasoning about the genetic basis of phenotype

Elena Bray Speth, Neil Shaw, Megha Ananth, Jennifer L. Momsen, Tammy Long

Poster Presentations

1.  Assessing the impact of a values affirmation task across biology, biochemistry, and physics

Shanda Lauer, Jennifer L. Momsen, Erika Offerdahl, Warrend Christensen, Mila Kryjevskaia, and Lisa Montaplaisir

2.  Seeing the invisible: Scientific models and visual thinking skills

Erika Offerdahl, Jennifer L. Momsen and Hyi-Gyung Kim


Kryjevskaia Presents at American Association of Physics Teachers


Title:  Spatial reasoning, a potential roadblock to conceptual understanding of waves

Abstract:  As a part of a multi-year investigation of student understanding of mechanical wave in introductory courses, a set of tutorials on wave behavior at a boundary has been developed.  However, even after the targeted instruction many students still are not able to systematically analyze complex unfamiliar situations. We hypothesized that poor performance on some post-tests may be attributable to difficulties in visualizing and reasoning spatially about transformations in the shape of a spring that occur over time as a complex pulse reflects from a boundary.  We probed the extent to which student performance hinges on their ability to visualize and reason spatially by examining the degree of association between student performance on the post-tests and on a spatial visualization test - paper folding test.


Tutorials in Introductory Physics, L.C. McDermott, P.S. Shaffer and the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington, Prentice Hall (2002).


REU: Research on the Prairies

Applications now being accepted for Research on the Prairies. Review begins February 15. Questions can be sent to

Presentations at NARST

STEM faculty and a graduate student will present at the 2012 NARST International Conference. MS Student Shanda Lauer, in conjunction with Drs Momsen, Offerdahl, Christensen, Kryjevskaia, and Montplaisir will present results from a study investigating the gender achievement gap across STEM disciplines. Dr. Momsen will also present work on systems thinking in introductory biology.

Special Physics Seminar

Faculty are pleased to host Dr. Joe Redish (Department of Physics, University of Maryland), a noted Physics Education Researcher. Redish's research group is currently developing an understanding the context and needs of biology students both through extensive observations (interviews, surveys, quizzes, exams, and videotaped observations of labs and tutorials) and through detailed negotiations with biology faculty.

Join us for a pedagogical lunch (Thursday, October 6 at 11:30) and a seminar, "Rethinking Physics for Biologists: Considering Value Added" (Thursday, October 6 at 4 pm).

Biology seminar: Scott Freeman

The Department of Biological Sciences, in conjunction with the STEM education faculty are pleased to host Scott Freeman (Department of Biology, University of Washington). Freeman's research focuses on the impact of active learning strategies on student performance in college science courses. Freeman will present a seminar Friday, September 23 at 4 pm (Loftsgard 114) titled, Evidenced-based teaching in introductory biology.

Presentations at SABER

Faculty and a graduate student presented at the first national SABER meeting in July 2011: Dr. Erika Offerdahl gave a keynote, Brittany Ziegler presented a portion of her doctoral work on portfolio assessments, and Dr. Jennifer Momsen presented a slice of systems thinking research.

NSF REU Grant Received

Dr. Erika Offerdahl (PI) and Dr. Mukund Sibi (Co-PI) recently received funding from the National Science Foundation for a three year undergraduate research program in the molecular sciences. The $330,000 project entitled "Research on the Prairies: Undergraduate Training in the Molecular Sciences" will begin accepting applications in January 2012 for the upcoming summer.


Thompson, JR, WM Christensen, and MC Wittmann. 2011. Preparing future teachers to anticipate student difficulties in physics in a graduate-level course in physics, pedagogy, and education research. Phys. Rev. ST Physics Ed. Research 7: 010108.


D Ebert-May, TL Derting, J Hodder, JL Momsen, TM Long, and SE Jardeleza. 2011. What We Say Is Not What We Do: Effective Evaluation of Faculty Professional Development Programs. BioScience 61: 550-558.

ESA Presentation

Dr. Jennifer Momsen presented research on quantitative reasoning in introductory biology at the 96th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America  in August, 2011.

Advance FORWARD Grant Received

STEM Education PhD faculty receive a grant to investigate the gender achievement gap across STEM disciplines.  Press Release, 22 July 2011

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Published by: Center for Science & Mathematics Education

Last Updated: Thursday, December 06, 2012 9:01:49 PM