Fall 2011 STEM Tuesday Seminars


STEM seminars are held at 4PM on the first and third Tuesdays of each month during the academic year in Hasbrouck 138. Everyone is welcome; no reservations are needed, and there is no charge. Parking is available in the Campus Center Garage.


September 20


David Lustick

UMass, Lowell


 “Finger Nails and Factoids: The Impact of Informal Learning on Formal Science Education”


Science teachers are often so consumed by the demands of formal education, that they rarely pause to consider the role of informal learning on both themselves and their students.  Such a situation is unfortunate, since understanding how we learn about the world outside the classroom can dramatically improve what happens in the classroom.


October 4

Michael Flynn

2nd Grade Teacher, Norris Elementary School, Southampton,

Teacher of the Year Awardee


“Breaking the Cycle of Mediocrity in Math Instruction”


For the past 7 years, Michael Flynn has worked with teachers and school leaders around the state and across the country to help them make math more meaningful for their students.  His extensive work in the field of elementary mathematics has earned him many honors and distinctions, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching.  Michael will present his perspective on the current state of affairs concerning math instruction in the United States and offer a solution to "The Math Wars" that are affecting local school districts.


October 18


Alyssa Na’im

Evaluation Specialist, NSF ITEST program, Education Development Center


“Assessing STEM Learning: Lessons Learned from the NSF ITEST Program”


Over the past eight years, the National Science Foundation has funded over 160 projects in 39 states as part of its Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program. Each of these projects offers exciting, hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) educational experiences for students and teachers, with the goal of sparking student interest in pursuing STEM careers. This presentation will highlight some of the traditional and innovative approaches used to assess STEM content knowledge, interest, and attitudes.  The discussion will explore experiences, challenges, and lessons learned with evaluating technology-based education programs.


 November 1


Stephen Alan Hammer

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

*** Location to be announced ***

"Linking Climate Change and Jobs:  The Challenge of Green Growth at the Urban Scale"


"Green growth" is increasingly seen as the economic development path we must follow if we are to achieve more sustainable cities.  Climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts are touted as potential sources of high paying jobs that can transform neighborhoods and cities.  Drawing on his work in Chicago, Dr. Hammer will explore the ways that green growth can occur, what the evidence tells us to date, and where the gaps are in our knowledge that must be filled if we are to truly understand the potential for climate-related economic growth.


November 15


Lisa Wexler

Associate Professor

UMass School of Public Health


“Considering the impact of rapid social change on indigenous young people through an analysis of youth-produced, digital stories”


To better understand how young Alaska Native people are creatively responding to the tensions of growing up in a world markedly different from that of their parents and grandparents, the presentation will describe a pilot study that examined youth-produced digital stories as representations of their everyday lives, values and ideas of selfhood.  A total of 271 stories were examined and assigned descriptive attributes; of these 31 stories were selected and subject to a more rigorous coding and a thematic analysis. Findings fall into three main categories: self-representation, sites of achievement, and relationships. Participants’ digital stories overwhelmingly depicted positive self-images that included both codified Alaska Native cultural values and pop cultural images to construct novel forms of Native-ness. The gendered depictions of achievement signal a need for more varied, valued and accessible avenues for success for boys. Lastly, relationships were prominent in the stories, but there was an absence of young male role models in the stories. Digital stories created by young people will be presented to illustrate these findings and to explore their implications for youth programming.