CREATE - ING members

Prof. Joseph Krajcik

Joseph Krajcik is Lappan-Phillips Professor of Science Education with a faculty appointment in the MSU College of Education. He is the director of CREATE for STEM, a joint institute between the colleges of Natural Science, Education, Engineering and Lyman Briggs. CREATE's mission is to improve the teaching and learning of science and mathematics through innovation and research.

Michigan State University Director Contact
Dr. Bob Geier

With an original background in Physics and then digital systems design, Bob began teaching high school science and mathematics in Massachusetts in 1988.

Michigan State University Deputy Director Contact
Renee Bayer

Renee Bayer began her work teaching environmental and secondary science education before moving into community-based public health research, teaching and practice. Her research interests include issues in educational and health equity and community-based participatory research (CBPR).

Michigan State University Associate Director - Outreach Contact
Dr. Kristen Bieda

Kristen Bieda is an Associate Professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State. She also serves as the Associate Director of Mathematics for the CREATE for STEM Institute. More information about her work can be found at

Michigan State University Associate Director - Mathematics Contact
Dr. Christopher Reimann

Chris brings 30+ years of experience and expertise in communications and education policy to Institute efforts. He has worked on education reform efforts at the local, state and national levels in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington DC and Michigan.

Michigan State University Communications Director Contact
Dr. Mark Urban-Lurain

I am responsible for teaching, research and curriculum development, with emphasis on engineering education and, more broadly, STEM education.

Michigan State University Associate Director - Engineering Contact
Prof. Danny Caballero

Danny Caballero is a physics education researcher who studies how tools affect student learning in physics, and the conditions and environments that support or inhibit this learning.

Michigan State University Affiliated Faculty Contact
Prof. Melanie Cooper

Evidence-based approaches to improving chemistry education are the focus of Dr Cooper's research. One of the prime outcomes of this research is the development and assessment of evidence-driven, research-validated curricula.

Michigan State University Affiliated Faculty Contact
Prof. Julie Libarkin

Julie Libarkin is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University with appointments in the Department of Geological Sciences, Center for Integrative Studies in General Science and the CREATE for STEM Institute. She is also affiliated with MSU’s Cognitive Science and Environmental Science and Policy Programs.

Michigan State University Affiliated Faculty
Dr. Becky Matz

Becky Matz (matz at msu dot edu) is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and an Academic Specialist with appointments in the CREATE for STEM Institute and the Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology.

Michigan State University Research Faculty Contact
Deborah Peek-Brown

Deborah Peek-Brown is an Academic Outreach Specialist for the Create for STEM Institute at Michigan State University. Deborah began her career as a science educator in Detroit Public Schools, where she taught for twenty-eight years.

Michigan State University Research Associate Contact
Ms. Sue Carpenter

Sue is the Business/Human Resources manager for CREATE, and has been at MSU for over 25 years. She will be helping to develop and coordinate the just-launched "Teacher's Professional Learning" division of CREATE. Sue has a B.S. in Business Administration.

Michigan State University Business Manager Contact
Dr. Phyllis Haugabook Pennock

Phyllis designs biology curriculum and chemistry assessment items for K-8 students that are aligned with NGSS. She received her PhD in Science Education with a concentration in Biology from Western Michigan University. Her research interests include issues relevant to equity and social justice in science education.

Michigan State University Contact
Ms. Skylar Hebert

Skylar Hebert is a senior at MSU studying actuary science.

Michigan State University Office Staff Contact
Angela Kolonich

Doctoral candidate working on the Interactions project through CREATE for STEM. My current research interests include supporting teachers in developing inclusive, three-dimensional learning environments that support all students in learning science.

Michigan State University Graduate Student Contact
Dr. James Laverty

J.T. is a Physics Education Researcher interested in increasing the use of evidence-based teaching and learning outside of the discipline based education research community. He received two undergraduate degrees from the University of Toledo, one in Physics and the other in Pure Mathematics.

Michigan State University Post-Doc Contact
Dr. Jane Lee

Jane is a research associate developing curriculums and assessment items for middle and high school students that are aligned with NGSS. She received her PhD in Science Education from Seoul National University and taught biology in Korea. She is interested in improving environment for science teaching and learning.

Michigan State University Post-Doc Contact
Mary Luba

I am all about the numbers. I am the CREATE for STEM Accountant and I manage the general, research and specialty accounts. Previously, I worked at Wayne State University as the Research Administrator for the Ballistics and Impact Biomedical Engineering Group. My accounting degree is from the University of Detroit (aka: UDM).

Michigan State University Contact
Sonny Ly

Sonny Ly is a senior at Michigan State studying Physics. At CREATE for STEM he works as a Research Intern.

Michigan State University Contact
Claire Morrison

Claire Morrison is a second-year undergraduate at MSU studying physical science and secondary education. She started working with CREATE in fall 2013 through the MSU Professorial Assistantship Program and have worked on the MSU AAU STEM Gateway and the Biology Initiative.

Michigan State University Research Intern Contact
Dr. Rosa Moscarella

I am Research Associate at the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University working with Dr Mark Urban-Lurain. I have a broad formation in Biology as a consequence of my many interests. I've worked in life history strategies, molecular ecology, phylogeography, morphometrics, biological consequences of climate change, conservation genetics, fruit flies genetics, and genomics.

Michigan State University Post Doc
Jennifer Nimtz

Jen came to the MSU graduate Program in Mathematics Education with varied professional experiences: engineering design, teaching grades 7-12 mathematics and remedial community college mathematics, and serving as the director of a mathematics and science center. As a graduate student, she has worked on the CMP3 revision, the MDISC project, and the TEAM project.

Michigan State University Graduate Student Contact
Zachary Nusbaum

Zachary Nusbaum is a recent MSU graduate, holding a degree in History, Philosophy and Sociology (HPS) of Science from Lyman Briggs College. He is a research assistant on the AAU Project and is the 2016 Mini-Conference coordinator, and served as coordinator for the Spring 2015 Seminar Series and Mini-Conference.

Michigan State University Research Intern Contact
Dr. Kamali Sripathi

Kamali received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 2014, focusing on the biophysics of small catalytic RNAs. Her research interests include: 1) understanding how students use the visualizations (e.g., 3D images of biomolecules, graphs, chemical equations, etc.

Michigan State University Post Doc Contact
Dr. Matthew Steele

I am an observational astronomer who specializes in optical spectroscopy of extra-galactic globular clusters and accretion powered outflows. More broadly I am interested in large data-set science, and researched-based student-centered pedagogies. My science interests lay in stellar population studies and accreting compact objects.

Michigan State University Post Doc Contact
Erin Surge

Erin is an undergraduate at Michigan State University studying Professional Writing: Digital and Technical Writing. She works on CREATE's Communications team to provide content for its website and publications.

Michigan State University Contact
Dr. Rachel Yoho

Rachel Yoho is a Research Associate with a background in biology, environmental biotechnology, and science education. Her research interests include evidence-based practices in teaching and learning, crosscutting educational topics, and instruction for issues of socio-scientific controversy.

Michigan State University Post Doc Contact
Dr. Hye Sun You

Hye Sun You received a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in STEM education, her master's degree in science education from Yonsei University, and her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Yonsei University. Prior to entering academia, she spent several years teaching middle school science. Her research interests center upon interdisciplinary learning and teaching in STEM education.

Michigan State University Post Doc Contact
Dr. Idit Adler

I joined CREATE for STEM as a research associate in 2017, and design NGSS-aligned curriculum for middle school as part of the Health in Our Hands (MI SEPA) project. I am interested in designing complex learning environments that provide opportunities for all students to engage in challenging science learning, and scaling up those experiences through community educational partnerships.

Michigan State University Contact
Dr. Tom Bielik

My educational background includes both formal and informal environments: tour guide in the Clore Outdoor Science Museum, program director of the 'Young Active Science' program for at-risk students at the Davidson Institute for Science Education, and middle school science and biology teacher. My academic background includes B.Sc.

Michigan State University Contact
Susan Codere

From 2011 to 2014, I served as the MDE Project Coordinator for Michigan's involvement in the development of the NGSS.

Michigan State University Contact
Melanie Cooper

Melanie Cooper holds a joint appointment in the departments of ChemistryTeacher Education and the CREATE for STEM Institute. Dr.

Michigan State University Contact
Morghan Cracchiolo

Morghan is a senior at MSU studying actuarial science.

Michigan State University Contact
Krista Damery Michigan State University Contact
Ligita Espinosa

Ligita Espinosa has been a part of the Michigan State University since 2008. She has M.A. in Linguistics from Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania and is fluent in English, Lithuanian, and Russian.

Michigan State University Contact
Jacob Newsted Michigan State University Contact
Sebastian Opitz

Sebastian Opitz currently works at CREATE for STEM as a visiting scholar. He supports two projects: "Supporting Secondary Students in Building External Models" and "Investigating How Students Build an Integrated Understanding of Energy Over Time."

Michigan State University Contact
Dr. Samuel Severance

I earned my PhD in Learning Sciences & Human Development combined with Cognitive Science from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Michigan State University Contact
Colter Starr Michigan State University Contact
Dr. Israel Touitou Michigan State University Contact
Ms. Alison Vincent

I am an East Lansing native and received my Bachelor of Science here at Michigan State University.

Michigan State University Contact
Mr. Darrell Williams Jr.


My name is Darrell Williams and I am an undergraduate student at MSU studying Human Biology and Professional writing. I'm interested in all the programs STEM has to offer and I'm excited to be apart of the team.

Michigan State University Contact
Affiliated Faculty
Dr. Diane Ebert-May

University Distinguished Professor Diane Ebert‐May provides international leadership for discipline‐based biology education research that integrates life sciences and cognitive science.

Michigan State University Affiliated Faculty Contact
Vashti Sawtelle

Vashti Sawtelle is physics education researcher who studies how learning environments support (or inhibit) students from diverse backgrounds in their learning physics. She focuses her work on understanding the role active learning, modeling, and interdisciplinary classrooms (e.g., physics for biologists) have to play in creating supportive learning environments for all students.

Michigan State University Contact