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Campus Initiatives - Summer Undergraduate Research Assistantship

During the summers of 2011 – 2014, the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership (MainePSP) hosted undergraduates from Maine college campuses while they participated in a seven-week paid Summer Undergraduate Research Assistantship (SURA) on the University of Maine campus. The SURA program offered students an opportunity to gain education research experience working with UMaine faculty and to work with K-12 teachers preparing inquiry-oriented science curricula for the upcoming school year.

2013 SURAs in front of UMaine Bear

2013 SURA Fellows (from left): Yi Peng, Eliza Kane, Lindsay Grumbach, Jean Stevens, Paige Gallagher, Scott Merrill

The program included an orientation at UMaine, participation in a RiSE Center education research conference, the K-12 teacher Summer Academy at Schoodic Institute, and continued with research and K-12 collaborations at the University of Maine.

In the Teachers-in-Residence program SURAs helped to develop supporting resources for K-12 teachers.  These supporting materials facilitated teachers’ first experiences using the MainePSP’s instructional resources.  Among other things, the students created documents, modified websites and wikis, researched educational resources, worked closely with the Next Generation Science Standards aligning activities and lessons, and helped develop rubrics.

With the research faculty and graduate students, SURAs worked on a wide variety of research topics including analyzing student pre- and post-test data, student and teacher assessments, and data pertaining to teacher journals, clicker responses, and student proficiency with nature-of-science concepts.  The SURAs summarized their research findings in Powerpoint slideshows, which they presented to the UMaine research community during their final week.

To read highlights from the various program years, click on the links above.

The MainePSP is a major initiative funded by the National Science Foundation to improve the teaching and learning of physical sciences, targeting grades 6-9 and University of Maine courses. It involves teachers in Hancock, Penobscot, Waldo, and Washington counties, University faculty, staff, and students, and partnership members from the Institute for Broadening Participation, the Maine Department of Education, the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, and SERC Institute.

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