About Us


STEM identity development and learning across time and settings


Innovative and humanizing research approaches with an equity-minded and social justice focus to make sense of:

  • How and why learning and identity work takes shape across settings and time and the implications this has for both youth and for the design of learning environments
  • The identity pathways middle school youth from non-dominant communities author in/through science as they engage in STEM, and the resources youth gain access to, create, move across settings, and re-purpose towards their identity pathways
  • New conceptual & methodological innovations for making sense of learning and identity development in STEM, which also help to uncover and challenge issues of power and positionality


We leverage the new understandings we gain through Collaborative Design-Based Research, Longitudinal Case Study, and Youth Participatory Action Research towards designing welcoming and inspiring learning environments for investigations and identity building in STEM.



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The GET (Green Energy Technology) City Collaborative shares sustained informal engineering design experiences for youth in Michigan and North Carolina. We expose youth to advanced digital technology, maker spaces, and a network of experts to advance their understandings of and interest in energy and engineering.


Making for Change


Solar panel hat testing

M4C, a new initiative funded by the NSF, supports youth in developing productive identities in engineering, while also learning the hybrid practices that make up engineering for sustainable communities! The project supports middle school youth in iteratively moving between community ethnography and maker spaces to make sense of local problems and design solutions for them, while also connecting into a broader social network of experts.





Student design sketch

Using youth collaborative designed-based research, we have been developing and refining the InvestigAction framework and tools for student learning & STEM identity development, in the context of energy systems engineering and the engineering practices of: a) Defining a problem and b) Designing a solution. Our goal is to study the pivotal juncture between investigation and action as a space of engineering learning and identity work in engineering.



Science Stars!


Movie-making in-progress

Science Stars provides middle and high school girls from non-dominant backgrounds opportunities to engage in sustained inquiry in STEM and to collaboratively author high quality movies about their findings. Funded by NSF, Science Stars is in collaboration with the University of Rochester (STARS home-base) and the University of Washington Seattle. Science STARS is an afterschool program that supports the interest of urban middle school girls in science. The 2014 movies across the three sites can be viewed here: http://getrealscience.org/get-real-science-movies/.

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