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MU Prof Collaborates on $2.5 Million NSF Grant

From Chicago to the North Slope of Alaska, Middle School Students Will Reap the Benefits.

Middle school students around the country will have their science classrooms transformed into dynamic weather stations thanks, in part, to the work of a Millersville professor.

Dr. Nanette Marcum-Dietrich, professor of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) education at Millersville University, is collaborating with the Concord Consortium, Argonne National Labs and The University of Illinois – Chicago on a highly competitive DRL – STEM + Computing (STEM+C) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) amounting to approximately $2.5 million.

The grant will give middle school students in Chicago, Massachusetts and the North Slope of Alaska the opportunity to learn about weather through a new computational weather forecasting curriculum.

“This exciting grant promotes integrated learning in STEM and computational thinking by transforming the middle school science classroom into a simulated town that is experiencing a weather emergency,” explains Marcum-Dietrich. “Weather sensors placed throughout the classroom let students track the storm. Using computational thinking skills and meteorological data, students collect and analyze the sensor data in order to create an accurate weather forecast.”

DRL grants are only funded at a rate of approximately 12 percent, which makes them one of the most competitive NSF grants to obtain.

The project staff is comprised of several professionals in different disciplines from across the country including Marcum-Dietrich; Carolyn Staudt, curriculum and professional developer at The Concord Consortium; Chad Dorsey, president and CEO of the Concord Consortium; Nathan Kimball, senior scientist at the Concord Consortium; Meridith Bruozas, manager of educational programs and outreach at Argonne National Labs and Tom Moher, associate professor of computer science, learning sciences and education at the University of Illinois – Chicago.

Marcum-Dietrich will lead the educational research for the project. A team of graduate and undergraduate MU students will assist by collecting classroom data and performing video analysis related to the education research.

“This grant makes STEM learning fun and relevant,” Marcum-Dietrich says. “It supports the development of computational thinking skills that are essential for students in the 21st century!”

To learn more about Millersville University’s STEM programs, visit



One reply on “MU Prof Collaborates on $2.5 Million NSF Grant”

Congratulations on this very worthwhile and exciting grant and research! I hope your work will be disseminated in Pennsylvania. I look forward to learning more about this STEM project.

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