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Center for STEM Education

Elevating STEM education in Mississippi and beyond

The Center for STEM Education offers Certificate, M.S., and Ph.D. programs in STEM education as well as opportunities to collaborate on STEM education research.

Why a class, certificate, or degree in the Center for STEM Education?

  • Improve your ability to teach science and math to every kind of learner.
  • Pursue tenure-track research and teaching positions at universities and colleges.
  • Serve as STEM curriculum directors and school administrators.
  • Develop programming for out-of-school organizations, museums, and learning centers. 

Graduate students are the pinnacle of an institution, and we use one-on-one mentoring to help them succeed both on campus and beyond.

More information on graduate programs   Plan a visit

Why collaborate with STEM Education researchers?

Our faculty are mathematics and science education researchers—with expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methods—working towards multiple research goals:

  • Designing new ways to help children learn mathematical concepts.
  • Investigating science lab activities that inspire high school students.
  • Developing more equitable learning communities for K-12 classrooms.
  • Exploring climate science through outdoor learning.
  • Finding creative ways to use virtual learning tools to improve outcomes.
  • Working with academic and industry partners to tie secondary STEM education to regional job opportunities. 

Meet our faculty and staff

Spring 2024 Center Newsletter

Cutting-edge STEMed programs

STEM on Demand GenSea
Contact: Dr.%20Allison%20Downing Contact: Tara%20Skelton or Chelsey%20Reid

USM is home to an innovative program that supports teachers across the state with virtual lessons in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for kindergarten through 8th grade classrooms in Mississippi.

GenSea: Blue Economy Pathways introduces students to the vast career opportunities in our coastal corridor. This USM collaborative effort pairs the Center for STEM Education and the School of Ocean Science and Engineering, with generous support from the Hearin Foundation.

STEMontheGO is a new campus-wide initiative to provide free STEM teaching kits aligned to a variety of science and math disciplines for use by faculty and students to share important concepts through hands-on activities. Funded by a DoDSTEM grant, the JROTC STEM Academy gives Cadets around the country the opportunity to interact with scientists and engineers, observe a broad range of STEM careers, and participate as part of a Cadet team to create, test, and improve their own solutions to STEM-focused engineering design challenges. 

Contact: Dr.%20Allison%20Downing or 


Contact: Dr.%20Julie%20Cwikla
The EJSLA is funded by a Steps Coalition grant from the National Academies Science Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), and the curriculum development work is coordinated by USM faculty members Drs. Walker, David Holt, and Rachel Gisewhite.  
Contact Dr.%20Rachel%20Gisewhite  

Center-Sponsored STEM Competitions

JSHS Region I Science Fair
Contact: Dr.%20Kendrick%20Buford Contact: Dr.%20Kendrick%20Buford
Tri-Service –  the Departments of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force – sponsored STEM competition which promotes original research and experimentation in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the high school level and publicly recognizes students for outstanding achievement. By connecting talented students, their teachers, and research professionals at affiliated symposia and by rewarding research excellence, JSHS aims to widen the pool of trained talent prepared to conduct research and development vital to our nation. The Region I Science Fair covers the following counties: Adams, Amite, Clarke, Covington, Forrest, Franklin, Green, Jasper, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Simpson, Smith, Walthall, Wayne, and Wilkinson. The Region I Science Fair services children in Grades 1st – 12th.
Mississippi Science Olympiad  Science Fair
Contact: Dr.%20Allison%20Downing Contact: Susan%20Stachowski
The Mississippi Science Olympiad (MSO) is devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers.

The Region VI Science and Engineering Fair  serves the counties of George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Stone.

The Region VI Science Fair services grades 1-12.




from around the world have obtained their graduate degrees in Science Education since 1964.


hosts the Region I Upper and Lower Science Fairs for 23 South Mississippi counties.


hosts the Mississippi Science Olympiad State Tournament for the winning teams from three Regionals.