CEHD Faculty Receive Six Research Grants from National Science Foundation

September 21, 2021

FAIRFAX, Va. – The College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University recently received six research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

School of Education professors Carley Fisher-Maltese, Amy Hutchison, and Sam Steen are serving as principal investigators (PIs) on projects that were awarded grants from the NSF this fall. Brenda Bannan, Anna Evmenova, Andrew Gilbert, Nancy Holincheck and Erdogan Kaya are working as co-PIs on separate cross-discipline projects in collaboration with researchers from other colleges at Mason.

The six awards total more than $4.1 million in research funds for projects slated to run through 2022 to 2026.

“NSF grants are highly competitive,” CEHD Associate Dean for Research Eamonn Kelly said. “For CEHD faculty to be on six new NSF awards in the space of one year is remarkable. To receive one is a judgment by your peers, often times in other fields.”

Fisher-Maltese, an assistant professor in early childhood education, is conducting research that involves planning for a multidisciplinary approach to transform beekeeping and the education of future beekeepers. The study is part of Mason’s Honey Bee Initiative and includes collaboration from Lisa Gring-Pemble from the School of Business and German Perilla from the College of Science.

Hutchison, a professor of literacy, plans to use a three-year mixed-methods study to improve teachers’ self-efficacy and skills related to developing and implementing computer science instruction that is effectively scaffolded for students with high-incidence disabilities. Collaborating with her on the project are CEHD colleagues Anna Evmenova (Special Education) and Erdogan Kaya (Secondary Education), Jeff Offutt from the Volgenau School of Engineering and Jamie Colwell from Old Dominion University.

Steen, an associate professor and the counseling academic program co-coordinator, aims to advance programs, knowledge, and skills targeting Black male middle school students for better accessibility, and higher likelihood for success, in Algebra 1.

Holincheck, an assistant professor and academic program co-coordinator for Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning, will work with Jessica Rosenberg and Benjamin Dreyfus in the College of Science to cultivate physics identity and belonging for women in physics. This project builds on extensive literature that has shown the importance of female students’ sense of physics identity and belonging to persistence in STEM.

In another cross disciplinary study, Gilbert, an elementary education associate professor, and four professors in the College of Science are partnering with the Virginia Community College System, Prince William County Public Schools, and Fairfax County Public Schools. Project goals include supporting and mentoring 35 prospective teachers through their major education and career transitions as future STEM secondary teachers, including their induction into teaching and initial years of service.

Bannan, a professor in Learning Design and Technology, will collaborate with faculty from the Volgenau School of Engineering and the Schar School of Policy and Government to build an artificial intelligence-driven learning platform. The platform will enable distribution of artificial intelligence teammates in construction workplaces to support employment opportunities and safety outcomes for construction workers with varying abilities.

“Many of them are interdisciplinary,” Kelly said of the grants, “which shows the dedication to interdisciplinary research and the unique contribution that people in education can make to help other units attract external funding.”

In addition, Bannan and Literacy Associate Professor Allison Parsons have been recommended for Congressional funding in the appropriation bills by Virginia Sen. Mark Warner for separate projects.

Bannan was recommended for funds from the Subcommittee on Homeland Security to help establish the Center for Smart Infrastructure in Public Safety. The center aims to realize the potential of smart infrastructure in improving public safety.

Parsons was recommended for funds from the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies to help the Elizabeth G. Sturtevant, PhD, Center for Literacy. The federal aid will help build literacy skills in K-12 students with a scalable, comprehensive hybrid program for teachers, students, and their families.

About the College of Education and Human Development

The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, inspires undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students to promote learning and development across the life span. Innovative, inclusive, and cutting-edge, the college and its 30 academic programs that spread across three schools (School of Education, School of Kinesiology, and School of Sport, Recreation, and Tourism Management) prepare professionals who improve lives and make a difference for the community and for the world. The college is a nationally recognized leader in educator preparation, special education, counseling, and school leadership; prides itself in far-reaching expertise that includes sport management, human performance, athletic training, recreation management, and tourism and events management; and is home to 9 centers engaged in groundbreaking research. Learn more at https://cehd.gmu.edu.