Current Projects


  • (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 2020)
  • 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 2020)
  • 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.