News & Collaborations

UNH gets grant to improve science education

kids participating in Bio Blitz in field 2017

UNH Cooperative Extension, in partnership with the Joan and James Leitzel Center and the UNH Education Department, has received a National Science Foundation Discovery Research PreK-12 (NSF DRK-12) grant to improve science education in New Hampshire’s schools by bringing together elementary school teachers and Cooperative Extension science volunteers for a community-based professional development partnership. The team is the first at UNH to receive a highly-competitive NSF DRK-12 grant.

Known as Schoolyard Science Investigations by Teachers, Extension Volunteers and Students (Schoolyard SITES), the project connects elementary school teachers with Extension science volunteers in a partnership that improves educators’ confidence, science content knowledge and instructional practice. Together with a UNH interdisciplinary team of experts, teachers and volunteers will learn how to design and implement locally-relevant, community-based citizen science projects with elementary school students.


UNH grant hopes to address lack of manufacturing workforce

Long-term, if this pilot program is a success, community colleges in New Hampshire become a source and direct pipeline for advanced manufacturing workers to businesses in New Hampshire.

The $300,000, two-year grant will fund a pilot project to address the workforce needs of the state’s advanced manufacturing sector in a collaborative effort among UNH, the state’s community colleges, the state, and advanced manufacturing partners.


UNH announces its Regional Partnership with Regional Partner logo

The University of New Hampshire is now a proud Regional Partner. We have been chosen to be the designated provider of Professional Learning Programs in the state of New Hampshire and will work to offer these programs for K-12 teachers around the state.

The STEM Teachers' Collaborative at UNH-Durham and the STEM Discovery Lab at UNH-Manchester have partnered with the CS4NH coalition, an advisory committee of the NH High Technology Council, and are committed to providing all New Hampshire students access to high quality K-12 Computer Science (CS) educational opportunities.

"We are thrilled to become a Regional Partner in collaboration with CS4NH so that all New Hampshire teachers will have access to high quality professional development in computer science.” said STEM Teachers’ Collaborative Director Laura Nickerson. “New Hampshire has nearly 1,200 computing jobs open, but only graduates  around 400 CS majors each year. We must prepare teachers so that students from diverse backgrounds have access to computer science early on in their academic careers, well before the collegiate level. This is a workforce development issue, as well as a diversity issue.”



Are you ready to integrate science practices into your teaching?

Book cover - DiveIN!

How can you create opportunities for student-directed investigations in your learning setting? Have you ever considered partnering with a scientist to add depth to your lessons?

These are some of the central questions of the new book "Dive In! Immersion in Science Practices for High School Students" by Karen J. Graham, Lara M. Gengarelly, Barbara A. Hopkins and Melissa A. Lombard.

“Dive In!” explains the important ways in which science instruction is evolving.



Ruth Varner Receives 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 2016 Summit

On May 7, 2016 the STEM TC and the Leitzel Center presented their 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, 2016, 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.  

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.