Current Projects

Advancing science identity and integration in students who transfer to western Michigan university (ASIIST-WMU)

  • 2021 to 2025
  • Funder: National Science Foundation
  • Description: The ASSIST-WMU Project is funded by an NSF S-STEM grant received by Western Michigan University. The project aims to better integrate and support low-income, academically talented biochemistry and chemistry majors, particularly transfer students, while developing their identities as scientists and preparing them for scientific careers and/or graduate studies. This project will help us recruit, retain, and support academically-talented, low-income transfer students majoring in biochemistry and chemistry through academic year scholarships and a cohort environment. SAMPI is conducting event questionnaires and student and project leadership interviews focused on understanding participants experiences in project activities and the impact of the program on the WMU chemistry department.

Promoting Research, Inclusiveness, Mentoring, and Experience (PRIME) Scholars Program

  • 2021 to 2025
  • Funder: National Science Foundation
  • Description: The PRIME Program is funded by an NSF S-STEM grant received by Kalamazoo College. The project seeks to increase numbers of students from underrepresented students in STEM fields. Project programming and enhancements focus on student mentoring, STEM research and job experiences, and academic support. As part of the external evaluation, SAMPI is administering annual student surveys and interviews related to interest in STEM careers and STEM attitudes and perceptions. Additionally, SAMPI is reviewing/documenting individual development plans that students develop in consultation with project faculty. Project leadership are also interviewed annually to determine the extent to which the program is being implemented as intended and to document whether the institution is better able to identify and provide support for at-risk students.

Michigan Tech University (MTU) Master Teacher Program (MTP)

  • 2019 to 2024
  • Funder: National Science Foundation Robert Noyse Teacher Scholarship Grant
  • Description: The MTU MTP Program is funded by an NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship grant received by Michigan Technological University. The project provides support for graduate coursework and professional learning communities related to improving K-12 teachers' leadership skills and NGSS aligned teaching practices. SAMPI will be working in collaboration with the internal evaluation team at MTU. The project consists of two cohorts of in-service teachers, one pursuing a master’s degree in science education and the other already possessing a master’s degree that is focused on participating in professional learning community (PLC). External evaluators collect and review quantitative and qualitative data from participating teachers and project leadership related to program implementation and the effect of project programming on participating teachers’ instructional practices, education research skills, and leadership skills. The external evaluation team also reviews teacher surveys developed by the internal research team and provides feedback regarding modifications for future data collection.


  • 2019 to 2024
  • Funder: National Science Foundation
  • Description: Building Foundations for Success in STEM is a five-year S-STEM project funded by the National Science Foundation. The project takes place at Calvin University. The project offers a comprehensive infrastructure of financial, academic, and career support to academically talented, low-income students who plan to major in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Information Systems, Engineering, Environmental Science, Geology, Geography, Mathematics, Statistics, Data Science or Physics. Four objectives drive this work: (1) Build institutional capacity to use data analytics and early alert mechanisms to identify and respond to students at risk of attrition. (2) Improve STEM retention and graduation rates for students at Calvin University. (3) Improve education at Calvin University using research-based interventions. (4) Generate knowledge of intervention effectiveness in new application areas. Student participants receive S-STEM scholarships and participate in new and existing curricular and extracurricular programs designed to retain and support students starting in their first year and continuing to graduation into the workforce or to graduate programs. Students enroll in a first year seminar together along with special sections of introductory chemistry and calculus that incorporate best practices in teaching. Co-curricular opportunities include peer-mentoring, developmental and proactive advising and mentoring from faculty, study sessions, and regular non-academic gatherings. Students are introduced and encouraged to participate in many existing student and academic services.

GP EXTRA: FOstering interest in earth science teaching through the reflective practice of teaching (Pathways to science teaching)

  • 2018 to 2022
  • Funder: National Science Foundation
  • Description: GP-EXTRA: Fostering Interest in Earth Science Teaching through the Reflective Practice of Teaching (Pathways to Science Teaching) is a three-year Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) project funded by the National Science Foundation. The project is being implemented by faculty at Western Michigan University (WMU) and involves the implementation of a 10-week summer program through which participants gain direct experience in conducting geoscience scientific research and in translating this research experience into classroom lessons. Eight undergraduate students from WMU and Kalamazoo Valley Community College are recruited each year for the summer program. Some participants are pre-service teachers, while others are science majors who express an interest in teaching. The summer program consists of four interwoven components: (1) Learn Science: a two-week introduction to local environmental issues such as water quality and human impacts on the environment. (2) Practice Science: a three week water quality investigation under the supervision of faculty. (3) Think Science: five weeks concurrent with Learn Science and Practice Science in which students learn about how Earth Science is practiced by scientists and how they might best teach these practices to children. (4) Teach Science: two weeks of teaching preparation and practice with master teachers, followed by two weeks of supervised teaching in a middle school summer camp.

MiSTEM Network

  • 2018 to Present
  • Funder: State of Michigan
  • Description: The MiSTEM Network, through its advisory board, Executive Director, and regional directors, has taken on the important function of coordinating a statewide effort to improve STEM education in Michigan. The statewide organization is housed within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. Through the regional structure, educational entities, business/industry, and community organizations and agencies collaborate to identify, design, and implement STEM programming to support the improvement effort. SAMPI is in the process of a two-phase external evaluation if the Network. The first phase focused on data collection for reporting to Michigan state legislators. Phase II involves organizing and implementing a more comprehensive on-going annual MiSTEM Network evaluation, with a particular focus on studying partnership development between the Network and external organizations across Michigan.

NEUROscience development for advancing the careers of a diverse research workforce

  • 2019 to 2023
  • Funder: National Institutes of Health
  • Description: Neuroscience Development for Advancing the Careers of a Diverse Research Workforce is a five-year Research Education (R25) project at the University of Michigan (UM) funded by the National Institutes of Health. The overreaching goal of the project is to meet the nation’s research needs by enhancing diversity in the neuroscience workforce. The focus is on increasing the representation of underrepresented minorities and to achieve this by targeting specific challenges in transitions along the neuroscience education and career continuum. Proposed activities bridge the fours transition points related to the UM Neuroscience Graduate Program: (1) Transition from undergraduate institutions to graduate institutions. (2) Transition into graduate school. (3) Transition through graduate school toward PhD. (4) Transition to post-doctoral studies or other neuroscience relate careers. One major component of the project project is a summer program for undergraduates involving a research experience in the labs of neuroscience faculty, professional development workshops on topics such as scientific presentations and preparation for graduate school, faculty mentoring, and networking with neuroscience professionals.

Project ELATE

  • 2017 to 2022
  • Funder: US Department of Education
  • Description: SAMPI is serving as external evaluators for Project English Learners and Teacher Education (ELATE), a U.S. Department of Education National Professional Development project that seeks to increase the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of pre-service and in-service teachers to work with English learners and strengthen parent, family, and community engagement. Through surveys, classroom observations, and interviews SAMPI is determining whether participants are increasing their understanding of teaching ELs and improving their practices inside and outside of the classroom to better serve EL students.

Contact SAMPI for more information about these projects.