Graduate student Jason May was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship for his work in STEM Education and Learning Research. The NSF-GRF Fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.
Under the direction of Professors Jordan Gerton, Lauren Barth-Cohen, and Claudia De Grandi, May’s work has focused on researching the changes of student attitudes and competency in newly reformed introductory laboratory courses designed as Introductory Physics for Life Science (IPLS) labs. He studies how students respond, both academically and socially, to introductory computational methods, collaborative group work, and scientific modeling while working within high-stakes research-oriented laboratory courses. His research is conducted using both quantitative research methods (survey analytics, coding of student assessments, etc.) and qualitative research methods (interviews, video and audio observations, etc.).
In addition to his current research project, May’s interests in STEM education include:
- The roles that positionality and power dynamics play within undergraduate STEM classrooms, specifically with regard to instructor-student and student-student communication and student retention of content
- How scientific writing practices and skills can be taught and used in science classrooms to positively impact students’ ability to effectively communicate and retain content-rich information
- How students’ science education experiences throughout their academic career, including experiences with content, instructors, and pedagogical techniques, influence student choice of major and career path.
“After I obtain my Ph.D., I plan to work as a postdoctoral researcher at a research-based
university to continue my work in Physics Education Research (PER),” said May. “Ultimately,
I hope to become a professor teaching physics and/or education courses and conducting
Originally from Reno, Nev., May received a bachelor’s degree in physics and secondary education from Boise State University.