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Collaboration aims to study, shape children’s attitudes toward engineering

Teacher. Firefighter. Doctor. Astronaut. Many of these careers land on children’s lists of what they want to be when they grow up. CYFS research assistant professor Lorey Wheeler would like to see another profession added: engineer.

With a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Wheeler is joining a team from Arizona State University to study how children’s knowledge, stereotypes and achievement-related beliefs affect their interest in engineering. It’s a field in which job growth is outpacing the number of adults who pursue related degrees, especially among women and ethnic minority students.

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New sessions spark research conversations

CEHS faculty at the Jan. 20 research networking session on STEM. Upcoming sessions will focus on families and schools; social-emotional and behavioral health; and early childhood.
CEHS faculty at the Jan. 20 research networking session on STEM. Upcoming sessions will focus on families and schools; social-emotional and behavioral health; and early childhood. View photo gallery.

The College of Education and Human Sciences, together with CYFS, has launched the first of four research networking sessions to connect faculty around key topic areas: science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); families and schools; social-emotional behavioral health; and early childhood. 

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Study reveals benefits of UNL robotics program

Gwen Nugent and Brad Barker. View photo gallery.

Robots are inspiring the middle school students who may one day engineer them, while also benefitting those who pursue other career paths, according to a new University of Nebraska-Lincoln study.

Led by CYFS faculty affiliate Brad Barker and Gwen Nugent, CYFS research professor, the study examined findings from a student robotics project developed at UNL and implemented across the country—including one site in Cuba. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project delivered robotics and geospatial mapping curriculum to after-school clubs and summer camps. The curriculum also supported youth robotics competitions.

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Affiliate Sally Wei hosts collaborative STEM conference

CYFS affiliate Sally Wei speaks at the 2015 Project Lead the Way Nebraska State Conference. The conference, designed to encourage K-12 students' STEM education and participation, drew more than 150 participants. Photo Gallery.
CYFS affiliate Sally Wei speaks at the April 20 Project Lead the Way Nebraska State Conference. The conference, designed to encourage K-12 students’ STEM education and participation, drew more than 150 participants. View photo gallery.

Tommy Lewis always wanted to build something that can impact society. The Omaha North High School senior, and his teammates Jake Ferrin and Priamwad Pordel, are now realizing this dream through a project that began in their high school engineering class.

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Coutts researching distance tech delivery of intervention to rural communities

Michael Coutts
Michael Coutts

Miles or megabytes? Speed limits or bandwidth? Country roads or fiber optics?

For years, reaching out to families and schools in rural communities has meant long hours of costly travel. This reality has made distance technology an appealing alternative – and the dissertation focus of Michael Coutts, a CYFS doctoral student affiliate.

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Nugent serves as co-editor of new robotics book

Gwen Nugent
Gwen Nugent

As ever-younger children grow up with cell phones, tablet computers and photorealistic video games, a CYFS researcher has co-edited a new book designed to help educators teach students using another technology: robotics.

CYFS Research Associate Professor Gwen Nugent teamed up with three University of Nebraska researchers, including two CYFS faculty affiliates, to edit and contribute to the recently published “Robots in K-12 Education: A New Technology for Learning.”

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CYFS helps jump-start after-school club

They may lack a driver’s license and ride the bus to school, but students at Lincoln’s Culler Middle School are using other forms of transportation to reach destinations further down the road.

With the support of the Nebraska Center for Research on CYFS, the Nebraska Transportation Center and the Mid-America Transportation Center, Culler recently concluded the first year of an after-school engineering club that illustrated how math and science make modern transportation possible. Dubbed Roads, Rails and Race Cars, the weekly club offered interactive activities that helped Culler students grasp the diverse applications of the algebra, geometry and physics they learned in class.

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