‘A new era in education’

pencils lined up in a row


The interdisciplinary field of learning sciences is on what Robert Feldman says is the “cusp of a new era in education.” When pieced together, research from social and hard sciences provide invaluable information on how we learn. Feldman recently edited a book on learning science published by McGraw-Hill, where he serves as the chair of their Learning Science Advisory Board.

Effect of visualization on students’ understanding of probability concepts

drawing graphs on white board


Improving the quality and effectiveness of undergraduate education in STEM fields is crucial for preparing both a diverse workforce and a STEM-literate public that is ready to acknowledge and benefit from the advancement of science. STEM sectors of the economy are showing steady growth and careers in these fields are in demand.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recently awarded a $300,000 Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) grant to Associate Professors Jeffrey Starns, Andrew Cohen (psychological and brain sciences) and Darrell Earnest (teacher education and curriculum studies). This team will develop and test an instructional program in probabilistic reasoning that is designed to help students overcome math challenges by linking mathematical concepts to an intuitive visualization.

CNS students win top prize in Celebration of Innovation Challenge

winners receive large check

Three College of Natural Sciences students recently won a top prize in the Celebration of Innovation Challenge: The Seed Pitch, hosted by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship!

Pitched by Hadley Beauregard (biochemistry and molecular biology), Hailey Charest (biochemistry and molecular biology) and Bryanna Lexus Freitas (chemistry and psychology), Bac-Be-Gone focuses on MRSA, an antibiotic resistant superbug that kills hundreds of thousands of people a year in hospitals across the world. The Bac-Be-Gone venture will produce products that immediately eliminate MRSA on contact. The team was awarded $5,000 in equity-free funding. Congratulations!

Asking If Behavior Can Be Changed on Climate Crisis

planet earth is enclosed in a light bulb


UMass Amherst, UPenn research suggests invoking moral obligation may help 

One of the more complex problems facing social psychologists today is whether any intervention can move people to change their behavior about climate change and protecting the environment for the sake of future generations.

Now researchers Hanne Melgård Watkins at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Geoffrey Goodwin at the University of Pennsylvania report after their recent experiments that an intergenerational reciprocity approach ­– asking people to reflect on sacrifices made in the past by others for their benefit today – may generate gratitude and a sense of moral obligation to people in the future.

Deanna Ferrante '20 honored with Kaitlin A. Geraghty Memorial Prize for excellence in disability inclusion

Deanna Ferrante and Rachel Geraghty holding award at conferenceDeanna Ferrante '20, Developmental Disabilities and Human Services Program (DDHS) and Psychology, was honored with the first inaugural Kaitlin A. Geraghty Memorial Prize for excellence in disability inclusion by the National Organization on Disability (NOD). Named in honor of the late NOD intern who was much admired, this award is bestowed to an up-and-coming disability advocate who shares Kaitlin’s passion for working towards the full inclusion of people with disabilities.