News & Collaborations

Ruth Varner Receives Prestigous Faculty Excellence Award

When UNH partners with New Hampshire public schools, everyone wins

When UNH partners with New Hampshire public schools, everyone wins was recently published in the UNH Magazine, Spring '17 issue. This article highlights the numerous and varied collaborations between UNH and many public schools in our state. Of special note, the work our own Laura Nickerson, Director of the STEM Teacher's Collaborative, has done with the Rochester schools, along with how the Leitzel Center has enabled and contributed to the increased accessibility of STEM professional development for our teachers.


Campus Group Energizes STEM Educators

SELC members at Lightning Talks event
UNH SELC members

The STEM Education Learning Community (SELC) is the brainchild of Lara Gengarelly, Cooperative Extension associate professor of science literacy, and Ruth Varner, professor of earth sciences at UNH’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, and director of the Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education. The group, which includes 75 STEM stakeholders from the UNH community, meets regularly to share updates on their work and explore opportunities to combine efforts.  

On December 19, twenty-three members of the SELC met at UNH’s Memorial Union Building for a “Lightning Talk,” the second in a three-part series. Four educators— Jennifer Bourgeault, Shane Bradt, Sameer Honwad, and Laura Nickerson—gave five-minute presentations aimed at enhancing their colleagues’ understanding of their work in STEM education, sparking new ideas and promoting collaborations.

STEM Docent Program Gets Rolling

STEM Docent volunteer in classroom
UNH STEM docent engages with a student.

The STEM Docents program started in August in the Manchester area. Docents help provide hands-on STEM training for students. Megan Glenn, UNH Cooperative Extension’s STEM Docent program coordinator, works with the volunteers to translate their science, technology, engineering and mathematics backgrounds into learning opportunities for youth.

Computer Science for All: New initiative launched at UNH Manchester

Teacher at CS for All workshop
Teacher at CS for All workshop.

When today’s elementary school students become adults, they will live in a world run on computers. Computer science is one of the fastest growing job sectors in the country, but the number of students graduating with a computer science degree is far below what the job market today demands.

Better preparing students for careers in computing is a challenge that’s been identified here in New Hampshire, as well as across the country, and something the New Hampshire Department of Education, the UNH STEM Discovery Lab and the STEM Teachers' Collaborative at the UNH Leitzel Center are working to address with the launch of CS4NH. This new initiative is aimed at providing every student in the state a chance to learn about computer science in grades K-12 to prepare them for the emerging demands of the 21st century.


Aptitude for Discovery: Middle school girls create smartphone apps in Creative Computing Challenge

Middle school girls at CCC
Middle school girls at CCC

On a sunny summer morning at Kennett High School in North Conway, New Hampshire, 17 middle school girls click away at their computer keyboards. They’re participating in the the weeklong Creative Computing Challenge teacher training and summer camp program.

Claes Thelemarck, a youth and family field specialist with UNH Cooperative Extension, demonstrates the steps they must take to complete the apps they’ve designed on their tablets using MIT App Inventor, free software students can use to create their own applications for mobile devices.

Minds Ignited: Summit at UNH Manchester sparks a connection with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)

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Chris Emdin - Keynote speaker at Summit

On May 7, the STEM TC presented its second annual STEM Educators Summit: "Who is in Your Classroom?" The Summit included workshops on topics including robotics, sustainability, marine science, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) practices and mathematics. Keynote speaker Chris Emdin is author of "Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation" (2010) and "For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...And the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy in Urban Education."

Full STEM Ahead

equipment photo
STEM workshop at Summit.

UNH Today interviews Adrien Deshaies, a science and robotics teacher who attended the STEM Educators Summit at the University of New Hampshire - Manchester on May 7, 2016. Adrien is helping his students push limits and approach science in unconventional ways. He attended the second annual STEM Educators Summit for approaches and tools that will inspire his students to think outside the box, think critically and challenge ideas. 

Teachers Gather for Second Annual STEM Educators Summit

Educators in Summit workshop

On May 7, K-12 educators from across the region gathered at UNH Manchester for the second annual STEM Educators Summit presented by the UNH STEM Teachers Collaborative (STEM TC) and hosted by UNH Manchester, the STEM Discovery Lab, the UNH Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering, UNH Cooperative Extension, and UNH Department of Education.

“The 2016 STEM Educators Summit was a great way for teachers to learn about and practice new technologies and ideas, get a deeper introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and network with other dedicated professionals,” said Laura Nickerson, director of STEM TC.



Leitzel Center Project Director Participates in 2016 White House Science Fair

On April 13, the White House is hosting its 6th annual Science Fair.  Students will be bringing their robots, rockets, solar-powered cars, and their classroom discoveries. Among this year's attendees is Jennifer Bourgeault, the U.S. Country Coordinator for the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program, which she coordinates through the UNH Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education, where she is a project director.

UNH Leitzel Center is Partner in NASA-GLOBE Science Fair

ON MARCH 10-11, 2016, Deerfield Community School students and their teacher, Ms. Ellen O’Donnell, in partnership with the Leitzel Center at the University of New Hampshire, took part in the first United States GLOBE Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Science Fair at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Visitor Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.  

Integrating Earthquake Science Research and Education

On February 12, teachers from local high schools spent the day at UNH working with Dr. Margaret Boettcher and Erik Froburg from the Leitzel Center. They were testing earthquake science learning components that incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for K-12 science education. This was one component of Boettcher's Early Career Development grant from NSF. Erik Froburg worked with her in developing the learning modules and classroom kits that included earthquake tables that make use of pressure, friction, and a spring-loaded manual crank to simulate a basic earthquake fault system.

Laura M. Nickerson Named Director of UNH STEM Teachers’ Collaborative

Laura Nickerson headshot

The University of New Hampshire welcomes Laura M. Nickerson as the new director of the UNH STEM Teachers’ Collaborative. The collaborative is an interdisciplinary effort to coordinate and strengthen STEM education, with the primary goal of increasing K-12 teachers’ expertise in computing, engineering and technology, and extending the impact of excellent STEM teachers to more students throughout the state.

NASA Funds Science Partners in K-12 Education

Thumbnail portrait of Jennifer Bourgeault

Jennifer Bourgeault, GLOBE U.S. Country Coordinator, is part of a NASA-funded Mission Earthproject, working as the GLOBE project consultant to facilitate project field testing and implementation in GLOBE Partnerships across the country. She coordinates this through UNH's Leitzel Center.

Unique Partnership Seeks to Increase and Retain K-12 STEM Teachers in the State

The University of New Hampshire and Albany International Corp. have joined forces to increase the number of K-12 teachers in the state with strong knowledge in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), launching a pilot program in the Rochester schools and advancing a statewide initiative to meet the needs of businesses for a skilled workforce.

Ruth Varner Honored by AGU for Student Mentoring

Image of Ruth Varner with a student

Ruth Varner has been awarded the American Geophysical Union’s 2015 Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring. Dr. Varner is associate professor of biogeochemistry at the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) and in the department of earth sciences.

Leitzel Award of Excellence is presented to students & teachers at UNH URC-ISE

Image of the Leitzel Award of Excellence

The 2015 UNH URC-ISE included two awards sponsored by the UNH Leitzel Center — a STEM Teacher Award and a Student STEM Outreach or Education Award.

UNH Educators Envision their Roles in K-12 STEM Agenda

Image of UNH Educators in a meeting

Educators from UNH, New Hampshire schools, and professional development organizations convened last week to propose how UNH can help make Governor Maggie Hassan's new STEM education plan a reality.

UNH Joins Initiative to Train STEM Teachers

UNH was selected as a national partner in the 100Kin10 network, an initiative to train and retain 100,000 STEM teachers by 2021.

Two Faculty Members Spearhead Scholarship to Assist Community College Students

Two UNH chemistry professors spearheaded an effort that will support 30 students over three years who transfer into the University's College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS) from community colleges.

UNH Launches STEM Teachers' Collaborative, Joins National Effort to Prepare 100,000 Excellent STEM Teachers by 2021

100K in 10 logo

The University of New Hampshire has been selected as a national partner in the 100Kin10 Network, an initiative to train and retain 100,000 excellent science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers by the year 2021.

Link to UNH STEM Teachers' Collaborative...