Our engagement with faculty, students, internal & external partners, and K-12 communities is based on reciprocity, responsiveness to community needs and broadening participation in STEM 

Through our various programs (the SMILE Program, Campus Field Trips, STEM Academy, iINVENT, SESEY, DIVE4Ag, Beaver Hangouts, Family Science and Engineering Nights, and the Institute for Reading Development) PCP develops important partnerships with researchers and other internal and external partners for advancing broader impacts of research in society. We have a landscape of practice the brings research, teaching and learning, and community needs together. For the last 33 years, we have played an important role in advancing OSU research impact while broadening participation of underrepresented and underserved youth in STEM education.  

Active Grant Highlights

Polar STEAM – Where Curiosity Thrives 
  Collaborating with Precollege Programs (Director Susan Rowe as Co-investigator)

Partners: STEM Research Center, College of Liberal Arts, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric
Sciences, and the Science Education Resource Center

National Science Foundation (NSF) (Award # 2221990, Amount: $3,711,918)

Principal Investigator Dr. Julie Risien - OSU STEM Research Center

Oregon State University (OSU) seeks to serve as the nation's Polar STEAM Facilitator through a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Four established OSU strengths provide leading expertise and capacity: Polar science; Arts and Science Integration; Inclusive STEM Education and Engagement; and STEM Learning Research. These strengths are all guided by OSU’s robust resources for inclusive excellence. We will re-institute, integrate, and expand the reach and impact of the Antarctic Artists and Writers and Polar Educator programs. Our vision is to create the conditions for curiosity to thrive by facilitating integrated Polar STEAM programs that embody inclusivity and authentic collaboration. Our overarching goal is to expand the reach and impact of the Polar STEAM Programs. We will support participants to collaboratively develop professional practices that inclusively serve communities of learners and increase public understanding of the critical global importance of Polar environments and the people who depend on them.


   Visit the Polar STEAM Webpage

Supporting Students' Language, Knowledge, and Culture through Science Project (LaCuKnoS)
  Collaborating with the SMILE Program (Director Susan Rowe as Co-investigator, Associate Director Jay Well as Senior Personnel)

Partners: College of Education, College of Forestry, College of Science

National Science Foundation (NSF) - Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12) (Award #2010633, Amount: $2,747,179)

Principal Investigator Dr. Cory Buxton (he, his) - OSU College of Education

This four-year research and development project will work with teachers across grades 3-12 with a science focus on Smart Forestry (efforts to apply a range of modern technologies and approaches to the work of forestry management and production) and a research focus on testing an instructional and professional development model for integrating language learning, cultural sustenance, and knowledge building with multilingual learners. The proposal builds on prior NSF funding from the exploratory LISELL project (2010-2013) and the early phase design and development LISELL-B project (2013-2018) that studied how to support secondary grades science teachers working with increasing numbers of multilingual learners as they transitioned from pre-NGSS standards to new science standards in a non-NGSS adopting state (Georgia). The synthesis of findings from those projects led to proposing a new model for multilingual science meaning making (the LaCuKnoS model). The next phase of the work is to study how teachers take up and iterate the practices of the LaCuKnoS model in a new geographic context of an NGSS-adopting state (Oregon), a new science focus (Smart Forestry and preparing the future forestry workforce), and a new cultural and linguistic context (multilingual rural and remote communities in the Pacific Northwest including both newcomer and Native American communities). While the focus of the proposed project is on researching changes in teachers’ practices and understandings as they learn to apply the LaCuKnoS model, the research questions also explore how the model influences students’ communication of science meaning making, students’ aspirations to pursue and succeed in forestry-related STEM academic and occupational pathways, and families’ engagement in science co-learning, with particular attention given to multilingual learners and their families. The term multilingual learners, rather than English learners or ELs, is used to highlight that students must be supported and challenged to use all of the linguistic resources at their disposal to make meaning in science.


   Visit the LaCuKnoS Webpage

Physically Distant yet Socially Connected: Exploring Agriculture through Immersive Field Experiences and Innovative Solutions – “Dive4Ag”
  Collaborating with the SMILE Program and Beaver Hangouts

Partners: OSU Extension 4-H Programs, Washington 4-H Program, Oregon and Washington Agriculture in the Classroom Foundations

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (Award #2021-67037-33379, Amount: $1,000,000)

Principal Investigator Dr. Susan Rowe – Director, OSU Precollege Programs

This two-year education project will create an Agriculture Distance Education Toolkit as an open access resource that will offer rapid, accessible, immersive and innovative distance agriculture education to regional middle and high school learners, educators, and trained volunteers from rural and underserved communities in Oregon and Washington using virtual reality tools (VR) and interactive virtual labs, including:  1) VR field experiences in agricultural sites, 2) Related online curricular activities produced for youth with youth contribution, 3) Virtual professional development for educators, 4) Youth Online Programing, 5) Teens as Teachers preparation, Virtual Teen Ag. Sciences Cafes, 7) Virtual Near-Peer Ag. Mentorship Sessions, 8) Virtual Ag. Challenge and Interactive Labs, and 9) a Curated distance agriculture education resources. Impacts include changes in agricultural literacy, increased educators’, learners’ and trained volunteers’ access to immersive agriculture curriculum via VR platforms and increased pedagogical skills for educators mediated by 21st century communication tools and state-of-the art technology.


    Visit the DIVE4Ag Webpage

 Regional Class Research Vessel Program, Phases III and IV
  Collaborating with the SMILE Program (AJ Mallozzi as Outreach Coordinator, Renee O'Neill and Adam Talamantes as Support Personnel)

Partners: OSU SMILE Program, Oregon Sea Grant, the Marine Resource Management Program, and the Coastal STEM Hub

National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Ocean Sciences

Principal Investigator Dr. Clare Reimers
– Regional Class Research Vessel Project Support Office Scientist, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (Award #1333564, OCE-1748726, Amount: $454,457 for SMILE)

The Outreach and Education Plan of this project has three main components: Public Education, Educator Professional Development and Student Engagement, and Researcher Education and Professional Development. By developing or contributing to educational programs and exhibits we hope to help the public understand the importance of the Ocean to the world, country and local communities.
Through curricula, videos and other forms of information that will be shared with educators during professional development events, we hope to increase ocean and data literacy and show K-12 students how scientific observations made at sea are the crux of understanding, discovering, tracking and predicting natural and human-impacted processes within and beyond the Ocean.
In providing professional development opportunities for researchers, we hope to build and maintain effective infrastructure services aboard each RCRV that can enable each science party to set and achieve meaningful broader outreach and education goals seamlessly and with minimal costs.


   Visit the RCRV Webpage

Current and Recent Grants/Projects with K-12 Broader Impacts

  • Program: Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) Program
  • Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program (SPECA).
  • Amount: $150,000
  • Principal Investigator: Jay Well, Precollege Programs.
  • Partners: Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom (OAITC) and OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences’ (CAS) Food Science and Technology Department (FST), Agricultural Sciences Ambassadors (ASA), and Agricultural Sciences Leadership Academy (ASLA).
  • Summary: Through its partnerships, this project creates multiple Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Health Sciences (FANH) pathways and opportunities for youth who are underrepresented in STEM and FANH sciences and from underserved rural communities. 
  • Learn more!
  • Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Secondary Education, Professional Development for Agriculture Literacy (PDAL)
  • Amount: $150,000
  • Principal Investigator: Jay Well, Precollege Programs.
  • Partners: Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) Program, Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom (OAITC) 
  • Summary: Through its partnerships, this project creates multiple Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Health Sciences (FANH) professional development opportunities for educators teaching underrepresented and underserved youth in rural communities. 
  • Source: Reser Foundation
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. SueAnn Bottoms, Precollege Programs.
  • Partners: Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) Program. 
  • Summary: This foundation gift is allocated to enhance SMILE middle school club programming, specifically to support SMILE students’ transition to high school. SMILE provides out-of-school time, STEM programming through afterschool clubs facilitated by school teachers. 
  • Source: NSF, Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)
  • Amount: $4,000,000
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Steven Strauss, Forest Ecosystems and Society
  • Partners: Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) Program.
  • Summary: This project uses advanced DNA sequence databases, imaging, and computational methods to map the genes that control the process of regeneration and transformation needed for genetic engineering. The project develops programs to educate high school teachers and students about the foundation of genetics and genomics as an important step to communicate effectively about genetically engineered crops and food. Educational modules contribute to teacher curricula in partnership with the SMILE program as part of an extensive STEM network of high school teachers and students in rural and underserved communities in the Pacific Northwest.

      Learn more!

  • Source: NSF, Office of Polar Programs (OPP)
  • Amount: $353,917.00
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Jennifer HutchingsCollege of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Partners: Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) Program.
  • Summary: Improved predictive models are an important means for addressing major societal needs related to Arctic change and declining sea ice. The project provides an observational and process-based foundation for model development that has been called for by model developers and international experts. Moreover, it will offer insight into the sources of sea ice predictability, which will help to constrain future research pathways for improved sea ice models. The observations will enable a wide array of coupled system research that reaches well beyond the proposed project to impact research on other aspects of the Arctic physical, biological, and biogeochemical systems. In partnership with the SMILE Programs, educational content developed around the project's research themes will support student learning on the physics of the Arctic system and enable broader scientific outreach efforts.

      Learn more!

  • Program: Precollege Programs
  • Source: Hatfield Marine Science Center
  • Amount: $10,000
  • Principal Investigator: AJ Mallozzi
  • Partners: Hatfield Marine Science Center
  • Dates: October 2022 – March 2023
  • Summary: Pilot project where historically underrepresented high school students from coastal Oregon will use the Hatfield Marine Science facilities to inspire, design, and conduct independent research projects that may be entered into a competition. The cohort will include 1-2 teachers and 2-6 students recruited from high schools in nearby communities. The summer event will showcase different components of Newport’s marine research and education community (science labs, tourism hubs, seafood industry) paired with lab activities to assist students in creating their research projects. To support this process, teachers will be trained in research components and navigating competition enrollment and local experts/community partners will be matched with the students to serve as research mentors.
  • Program: SMILE Program
  • Source: National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program Grants
  • Amount: $500,000
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Houssam Abbas, Assistant Professor Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Partner: School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Dates: September 2022 – August 2027
  • Summary: This project develops a computational theory and tools for automated reasoning about ethical obligations of human-scale Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). It also formalizes a notion of ethics-based empathy, necessary for cohabitation between humans and intelligent CPS. In this project, we take a formal logic-based approach to the problem of modeling, verification, control synthesis, and learning of ethical obligations for human-scale CPS. We use a deontic logic as our starting point; deontic logics were specifically developed by logicians, over the last 70 years, to reason about obligations, and have significant differences with alethic logics that are commonly used in the CPS community, such as LTL, CTL, MTL, STL, etc., and their variants. The problem of automated verification, control synthesis, and learning, are almost completely unaddressed for deontic logics, especially in the context of physics- constrained control loops, which are an essential aspect of CPS.
  • Program: SMILE Program
  • Source: Ford Family Foundation
  • Amount: $200,000
  • Principal Investigators: Jay Well – Assistant Director, SMILE Program & Dr. Susan Rowe, Director of Precollege Programs
  • Dates: May 2022 – April 2025
  • Summary: Over three years, the OSU SMILE (Science & Math Investigative Learning Experiences) Program will: Build capacity and strengthen relationships with the 31 schools and 15 rural communities of current SMILE programs. Establish new SMILE partnerships to create at least three new SMILE clubs (in an elementary, middle, and high school) in at least one additional rural community. This expansion will enhance SMILE community partnerships, assets, and networks and will help approximately 960 rural students earn the skills to succeed in the 21st century economy.
  • Program: iInvent Program and Youth as Inventors Program
  • Source: Lemelson Foundation
  • Amount: $335,221
  • Principal Investigator: Jay Well – Associate Director, OSU SMILE Program
  • Dates: November 2021 – October 2023
  • Summary: This two-year project continues our work combining our experience implementing Invention Education while recognizing the explicit need for community participatory work. We are utilizing our community partners, their resources, assets and networks to extend our iINVENT camp model to promote community-based invention at camps and in classrooms. This focused approach to bottom-up community-engaged invention curriculum builds from our engaged scholarship and work with community partners.
  • Program: SMILE Program and Beaver Hangouts
  • Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields (WAMS) (Award # 2021-38503-34819)
  • Amount: $100,000
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Susan Rowe – Director, OSU Precollege Programs
  • Partners: OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, BioResource Research Program, MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resource and Related Sciences), and SCANAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science)
  • Dates: September 2021 – August 2023
  • Summary: This two-year project will partner to provide food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences workforce development programming for underrepresented and underserved students in ten SMILE clubs across Oregon. Using a near-peer mentorship model, SMILE clubs and facilitating teachers will be paired with undergraduate mentors to identify and implement inquiry-driven projects exploring real-world problems and current research on these topics. Participants will also explore career paths while developing critical skills for the next generation USDA workforce.

   Learn More

  • Program: SMILE Program
  • Source: National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program Grants
  • Amount: $564,036
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Rebecca Hutchinson, Associate Professor Fisheries & Wildlife and Computer Science
  • Partner: School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Dates: June 2021 – May 2026
  • Summary: Machine learning is applied frequently to spatial datasets. While explicitly spatial models can account for the autocorrelation among data points, practitioners sometimes choose non-spatial approaches in order to fit nonparametric models to complex functions, or in order to use easily accessible “off-the-shelf” tools. This corresponds to making a convenient but incorrect assumption that data points are independent and identically distributed (i.i.d.). An example is species distribution modeling, in which environmental variables are mapped to species response variables at points on a landscape. Spatial autocorrelation is common in such datasets, but sometimes ignored, in favor of addressing other modeling challenges with non-spatial tools. The research proposed herein will produce new methods for effective and sound ways of adapting spatial data to the i.i.d. setting in order to allow practitioners to easily leverage powerful off-the-shelf tools. To reduce negative effects of assuming spatial data are i.i.d., the proposed work focuses on the steps before and after fitting a (non-spatial) model: representation learning and model evaluation.
  • Program: Precollege Programs
  • Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (Award # NA22OAR4170102)
  • Amount: $105,914
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Shawn Rowe, Free Choice Learning Program Leader, Hatfield Marine Science Center
  • Partners: Oregon Sea Grant, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon Coastal Hazards Ready, Timelooper, and Precollege Programs
  • Dates: August 2022 – October 2024
  • Summary: This project will develop a virtual and augmented reality toolkit and experiences focused on earthquake and tsunami hazards and preparedness by partnering with OSU Precollege Programs and Teen CERT programs from coastal schools. A Timelooper AR/VR app (examples can be seen here https://www.timelooper.com/xplore-distance/) is the cornerstone of the toolkit and will be created that incorporates rural, coastal Oregon youth voices and focuses on preparation, evacuation, and post-disaster recovery in the event of a large-scale Cascadia subduction earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Part of the app content would come from the existing Oregon Sea Grant effort, Oregon Coastal Hazards Ready (OCHR) Library & Mapper, and teen hologram avatars would orient users to what residents and visitors need to know in various coastal communities, resources available to increase preparedness, and how to get involved. 
  • Through Timelooper’s Xplore, partnering community members would have the ability to add content from their experiences from different coastal areas across Oregon or add any relevant content to the topic/App. Accompanying lessons co-developed by project leads and youth participants will be paired with the VR/AR experience for wider educator use. The AR and VR apps will be supported, modified as necessary, and available free of charge for a minimum of three years post-development. Products and lessons learned will be disseminated to others through the Oregon Emergency Management Association Annual Conference, existing annual professional development opportunities managed by project partners (OSG and PCP), and through regional and national workshops and conferences.
  • Program: SMILE Program
  • Source: National Science Foundation (NSF), CAREER (Award # 2144889)
  • Amount: $398,753
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Xiao Fu, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Partner: College of Engineering
  • Dates: May 2022 – April 2027
  • Summary: Factor analysis tools (e.g., nonnegative matrix factorization, sparse coding, and tensor decomposition) have become indispensable in science and engineering. Particularly, elegant and powerful algebraic properties such as model uniqueness (or model identifiability) of many factor analysis tools have empowered various core tasks in sensing and learning, e.g., hyperspectral unmixing, blind channel equalization, speech separation, and document clustering, just to name a few.
  • However, classic factor analysis models tend to over-simplify reality. For example, low-rank matrix factorization models assume that data samples reside in a linear subspace, while in practice nonlinear effects are often observed, since data sensing and acquisition entail unknown nonlinear distortions. Unlike classic factor analysis models whose analytical and computational aspects are well understood, theory and methods for handling nonlinearly distorted factor analysis models (or, nonlinear factor analysis) present a largely uncharted research territory. For example, it has been largely unclear if nonlinear factor analysis models are identifiable, except for some very limited cases under stringent assumptions. In addition, combating unknown nonlinearity requires function search over high-dimensional continuous spaces, and how to tackle such problems efficiently with provable guarantees has been an open question. This project lays out the theoretical and computational foundations for nonlinear factor analysis.
  • Program: SMILE Program
  • Source: National Science Foundation (NSF), Arctic Research (Award # 2140500)
  • Amount: $529,842
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Christo Buizert, Assistant Professor, College of Earth, Oceanic, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Partner: College of Earth, Oceanic, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Dates: February 2022 – January 2025
  • Summary: Overview: The proposed work seeks to apply a new ice core proxy for surface melt intensity: the Xe/N2 ratio. In the absence of refrozen meltwater the Xe/N2 ratio in ice samples reflects the atmospheric ratio; due to the high solubility of Xe, the Xe/N2 ratio becomes strongly enriched in the presence of surface melt. The proxy would be applied to address four important scientific questions: (1) what is the timing and magnitude of the Holocene Thermal Maximum in the Arctic; (2) what is the extent and magnitude of Greenland melt during the Last Interglacial period; (3) what are the drivers of Arctic melt on long time scales; and (4) how do current melt rates in the Arctic compare to the last 10,000 years. These questions cannot be addressed with traditional visual identification of melt layers. Measurements are proposed on the Renland and GISP2 ice cores (both from Greenland), and the Mt. Hunter ice core (from Alaska). The Xe/N2 melt proxy will be calibrated to reconstruct local summer 22-0008 Arctic melt and summer temperature during past warm periods: a new ice core temperature. The proposed work uses existing ice core samples and does not involve Arctic fieldwork.
  • Intellectual Merit: The relationship between ice volume and climate is one of the central problems in Earth System science, with implications ranging from future sea level rise to Pleistocene ice age cycles. Long-term melt reconstructions can contribute to a process-based understanding of the drivers of surface ice melt in the Arctic. Visual melt identification in ice cores is incapable of producing such records due to annual layer thinning and gas hydrate formation. The proposed work represents the first systematic use of a new Xe/N2 ice core melt proxy to investigate surface melt rates on orbital, millennial and anthropogenic time scales. The work evaluates the extent and magnitude of Arctic melt during climatic periods warmer than today (the Holocene Thermal Maximum and the Last Interglacial) to enhance scientific understanding of Greenland ice sheet sensitivity to warm climate states such as expected in the near future. The work would allow observational constraints on the impact of incoming shortwave radiation, abrupt Atlantic Ocean circulation changes, and light-absorbing impurity concentrations on Arctic surface melt. The relative importance of obliquity and precession orbital forcing on surface melt rates is tested. The work would place current melt rates in historical (10,000 year) perspective. 
  • Broader Impact: Sea level rise will be among the most societally impactful consequences of anthropogenic climate change. Uncertainties sea-level projection are dominated by the ice sheet response, including the surface melt rates on the Greenland ice sheet. This work will enhance scientific understanding the (long-term) drivers of Arctic and Greenland melt, and provide new data-based constraints that can benchmark ice sheet and climate models used in projections. The PI will work with the OSU Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) program to develop lesson materials on ice cores and climate change that will be provided to middle- and high school students from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds. Funds are included to support two SMILE teacher workshops at OSU, and to support SMILE student clubs across Oregon rural communities. Materials developed through this program will be made publicly available. The work further supports an ongoing outreach program out of the OSU ice core laboratory that visits around 20 middle school science class rooms (550 students) annually. The work contributes to the STEM workforce by supporting and training a graduate student, and supports an untenured early-career investigator. The PI and students will disseminate research findings to the broader public by working with OSU and NSF public relations officers.
  • Programs: Campus Field Trips, iINVENT
  • Source: Oregon Department of Education (Award # 16514)
  • Amount: $245,387
  • Principal Investigator: Amas Aduviri, Upward Bound Program Director
  • Partners: Elevate Oregon, Parkrose High School, Office of Institutional Diversity, Educational Opportunities Program, Dr. Lawrence Griggs Office of Black & Indigenous Student Success, and Precollege Programs
  • Dates: July 2021 – June 2023
  • Summary: The OSU AABD success grant seeks to increase access and success of AABD high school students by joining collaborative partnerships with Elevate and Parkrose HS to provide culturally relevant support that includes families and community-based organizations. Activities offered by the grant will include wrap-around services, mentoring, tutoring, school visits, meals, housing, transportation, family educational programing, and bridge/transition programs for first-year students.
  • Programs: SMILE Program and SESEY
  • Source: National Science Foundation (NSF), CAREER (Award # 2046678)
  • Amount: $105,810
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Rebecca Hutchinson, Associate Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Partners: College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Dates: June 2021 – May 2026
  • Summary: This project is about machine learning methods for spatial data analysis with applications in ecology like species distribution modeling and water quality monitoring. It covers research on algorithms for splitting spatial data into subsets for evaluation purposes and algorithms for aggregating spatial data points for further modeling. There is also an integrated education and outreach plan including new course development in computer science and activities for summer camps and STEM clubs.
  • Programs: Campus Field Trips and SESEY
  • Source: National Science Foundation (NSF), CAREER (Award # 2041153)
  • Amount: $432,850
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Kelsey Stoerzinger, Assistant Professor, Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering
  • Partner: College of Engineering, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, and Precollege Programs
  • Dates: January 2021 – December 2025
  • Summary: Electrocatalysts are typically designed to reduce the overpotential for a given reaction by stabilizing adsorbed intermediates. Such strategies are inadequate, however, when competing reactions require electrons (or holes) of the same energy, the same active sites, and the same reactant species (such as protons or water). Our approach to catalyst design extends beyond a singular atomic active site into the three-dimensional picture necessary for driving product selectivity: decoupling active sites for competitive reactions and manipulating the transport and adsorption of ions to the catalyst layer. Studies will establish the mechanistic driver of oxidation pathway in water containing Cl salts: why a given material oxidizes Cl–, water or a combination of both, and how this is related to the electrochemical potential and mass transport. These findings will provide guidance in the rational design of electrocatalysts that are efficient and selective for a desired reaction pathway or product in the presence of highly competitive oxidation reactions
  • Program: Precollege Programs
  • Source: National Science Foundation (NSF), CAREER (Award # 1945520)
  • Amount: $445,442
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Melissa Santala, Associate Professor, College of Engineering
  • Dates: May 2020 – April 2025
  • Summary: The proposed work will address the vast gap in the experimental crystal growth data for phase change materials (PCMs) and, paired with simultaneously-collected calorimetry data, will significantly advance the understanding of the fundamental basis of glass stability in PCMs. The results project will be of immediate value to communities researching PCMs for low-power, non-volatile memory, but will also impact research of other important marginal glass formers, e.g. non-PCM semiconductors and bulk metallic glasses. This project will also provide research and training opportunities in materials science and engineering for graduate and undergraduate students. High school students from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM will participate in mini-research projects in the Santala Lab. The project will also develop a conference to inspire middle school girls to recognize their potential in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
  • Program: Precollege Programs
  • Source: USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (Award # 2020-67037-30670)
  • Amount: $499,584
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Shawn Rowe, Free Choice Learning Program Leader, Hatfield Marine Science Center
  • Partners: Oregon Sea Grant, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Branch Experiment Stations, OSU Extention, US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Laboratory, OSU Food Innovation Center, USDA ARS Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, and Precollege Programs
  • Dates: April 2020 – March 2025
  • Summary: This 5-year education project will increase participation of underrepresented students in STEM/agricultural and environmental fields, through summer research projects at Oregon State University (OSU), OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC), OSU Branch Experiment Stations (BES), OSU Extension, US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Laboratory, OSU Food Innovation Center, and USDA ARS Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory. The NIFA foundational area is Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health, and the project is multidisciplinary, relevant to plant and animal health, food, bioenergy, and natural resource sciences. Students will be recruited from community colleges, CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program), SMILE (Science and Math Learning Experience) and OSU (50%). The project embodies three layers of mentoring: the project leadership team, experienced faculty research mentors, and peer/professional/career mentors, for a mentor: participant ratio of >1:1. Our leadership team has specific and appropriate experience through work with CAMP, SMILE, OSU MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, and Related Resources), BioResource Research (BRR; research-based biosciences major in College of Agricultural Sciences), and five USDA Multicultural Scholars Programs (MSP). 
  • For each 10-week summer session, students will participate in an eight-week research project, matched to their interests, with experienced research mentors. Professional development will include: laboratory/experiment station/industry tours; research skills; library resources; leadership training; research ethics; applying to four-year colleges/graduate programs/financial aid; resume writing; data presentation; and career workshops. Students will present their research results at a showcase for community partners and parents. We will assess the program and track future student attainments. Participants will gain exceptional skills to enter the agricultural workforce or pursue graduate studies. Mentoring intended to successfully spring-board and transition community college participants into BS degree majors will continue beyond the summer program via virtual and/or in-person engagement with the OSU MANRRS Chapter members and MANRRS National Career Fair and Training Conference.
  • Program: SMILE Program
  • Source: National Science Foundation (NSF), Biological Oceanography (Award # 1948163)
  • Amount: $684,996
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Kimberly Halsey, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology
  • Partners: SCI Microbiology Operations and College of Science
  • Dates:  March 2020 – February 2024
  • Summary: This project addresses a number of basic questions about the biological cycling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the oceans. VOC’s have captured attention as an understudied component of the carbon cycle. We propose to apply experimental approaches we have been developing and publishing to asking these broad questions: 1) to what extent do VOCs contribute to uncoupling photosynthetic gross and net carbon fixation; 2) how does the spectrum of VOC compounds produced vary between phytoplankton from different evolutionary backgrounds and how does it depend on the environmental conditions, and 3) is the utilization of a wide range of VOCs, which we have observed in SAR11 heterotrophs, a common feature of heterotrophic planktonic bacteria, or are these functions reserved for specialist taxa? To explain experimental findings described below, we propose a general hypothetical question: 4) are some VOCs essential metabolic intermediates of phytoplankton that enter a pool of public goods because of their volatility and are catabolized by competing heterotrophs?
  • Program: SMILE Program
  • Source: National Science Foundation (NSF), Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease (Award # 1911994)
  • Amount: $2,320,186
  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Anna Jolles, Professor, Integrative Biology; Dr. Brianna Beechler, Assistant Professor of Research, Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine; Clinton Epps, Professor, Fisheries and Wildlife; Benjamin Dalziel, Associate Professor, Integrative Biology.
  • Partners: College of Science, Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Fisheries, and Precollege Programs
  • Dates: September 2019 – August 2024
  • Summary: Bighorn sheep populations are threatened by habitat fragmentation and disease spillover from domestic livestock, most notably Mycobacterium ovipneumonia (M. ovi). This study investigates effects of host population isolation on genetic diversity, immunity, susceptibility to infectious disease, and ultimately, population performance in desert bighorn sheep (DBH, Ovis canadensis nelsoni). We take advantage of a current epidemic of ovine pneumonia as a natural experiment to ask (1) How do immunological genotype and phenotype vary with host population isolation?; (2) How does population isolation affect susceptibility to infection?; (3) To what extent will an epidemic of a fatal infection further deplete genetic variation and undermine performance of these fragmented populations?
  • Program: SMILE Program
  • Source: Reser Family Foundation
  • Amount: $10,000
  • Program Director: Jay Well, Associate Director, SMILE Program
  • Dates: June 2019 – May 2023
  • Summary: SMILE’s Middle School College Connection Challenge event has been an annual two-day event held at Western Oregon University and OSU. In the past few years, we have not been able to bring all the students to OSU and have, instead, held smaller events at regional colleges across Oregon. This project allows us to bring all the middle school students to OSU. The focus of the first day (Thursday) is a team-based, problem-solving issue drawn from a real-world problem. This builds on pre-challenge activities and experiences the students have been learning in their SMILE clubs. The focus of the second day (Friday) is to expand students’ understanding of the college environment through connection to college students, faculty, labs, college classrooms, dorms, dining centers, recreation facilities, and student services that will help participants see a pathway to college for themselves that they can build upon. This near-peer connection offers opportunities for the SMILE students to engage with college students and hear from them about their experiences as college students.
  We have several active grants at various stages of implementation and including a variety of academic disciplines. Explore our portfolio in this page and the work of our amazing research partners impacting K-12 audiences in Oregon and beyond through our programs, and in particular the SMILE Program.