STEM Education Research Experience (SERE)
The UROC Science, Technology, and Engineering, and Math STEM Education Research Experience (SERE) program provides students the opportunity to conduct research at CSU Monterey Bay in a two-term (fall, spring, or summer) learning pathway specifically for students in STEM majors who wish to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to be a highly qualified STEM 6-12th grade teacher.
Designed to expose students who have demonstrated an interest in teaching to STEM Education Research, the program will stimulate participants' interest in completing 4-year STEM degrees and applying for the teacher credential program. Admitted students will participate in:
- Professional development in a community of practice for STEM Education
- Mentored classroom observation and practice
- Mentored STEM education research
In addition, students will read STEM education literature, contribute to original scientific research, and learn how to present their findings orally and in writing. Students will attend two workshops each semester as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC) professional development program. Applications are welcome from all qualified students: women, minorities, veterans, first-in-family to attend college, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. We are particularly interested in supporting those who have an interest in teaching 6th-12th grade.
- Participation in the SERE program also includes a research scholarship for each term you participate. You will receive $1,400 per semester for fall and spring and $2,800 each summer.
- Semester research experience with the opportunity to extend into additional semesters.
- Hands-on research guided by CSUMB Faculty.
- Support from senior CSUMB undergraduate researchers.
- Professional development workshops (mandatory).
- Advising and support for applying to the credential program.
- Guest speakers, course observations, and field trips.
- Plan to return to CSUMB the semester after participation in the program.
- U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Actively enrolled at the time of application at CSU Monterey Bay or planning to transfer in 2021.
- Willingness to make a full-time commitment (0-10 hours per week) to the SERE professional development program from January 2021 to May 2021.
- Plan to apply to the credential program to obtain a single subject teaching credential in a STEM discipline.
- 3.0 GPA or higher for STEM courses.
- Successful completion of two college-level STEM courses by November 2020
- Completed online application
- Academic resume or CV
- Personal Statement Questions
- 1. Describe your background and the personal experiences that have led you to where you are today in your educational and professional career. Do not hesitate to express relevant circumstances or obstacles in your personal or academic background that you wish for the SERE committee to consider. Answer in 500 words or less.
- 2. Please explain why you want to be part of the STEM Education Research Experience (SERE) at CSUMB. Answer in 500 words or less.
- 3. Looking forward, what are you career goals and how do they relate to teaching STEM? Answer in 500 words or less.
Two Letters of Recommendation
- As part of the online application each applicant will be asked to submit the name and email of two potential letter of recommendation writers. These individuals will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org prompting them to submit a letter of recommendation on the applicant's behalf. Letters may be addressed generally to the SERE Review Committee
- Transcripts (unofficial transcripts are accepted)
I have a very specific question about the program. Who can I contact with my question?
If --- after reading this FAQ --- you have a question, you can send an email to Dr. Corin Slown at email@example.com. Please make sure that your email is professional, polite, and clearly states your question or concern.
What is the timeline for when applicants will be notified if they are accepted into the program?
We receive many applications and careful evaluation takes time! Application review will begin immediately after the application deadline (Nov. 13 at 3:00pm). Applicants that submit applications that are incomplete or that do not meet all eligibility requirements (see Eligibility section above) will not be evaluated.
We hope to notify all applicants of the status of their application via email by Late May. Applicants who are accepted into the program will have one week from the date that they receive the notification email to accept their offer and return the SERE commitment form that will accompany their acceptance offer.
Can I take courses while participating in the SERE program?
Yes, admitted students are expected to fully participate in the program while continuing to make progress towards their undergraduate degree. You will have opportunity to observe Course Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) courses and discuss pedagogy and instruction with faculty teaching the courses.
What will the daily or weekly research schedule look like if I am selected for the SERE program?
The weekly commitment will depend significantly on the project. Your research project may require that you are in a classroom regularly, be conducted in a laboratory or in an indoor environment working with an existing data set. You will observe course based undergraduate research courses and attend at least two professional development workshops per term.
What skills should students have, who are interested in STEM Education Research? What are students in SERE expected to be willing to learn?
- Computer Skills - Some experience with basic software such as Microsoft Office and Google applications is required. Experience with specialized software like R, SPSS or NVivo is beneficial, but not necessary. SERE students will be trained by their research mentor on how to complete all analyses.
- Statistics - Having taken an introductory statistics class would be helpful, but not strictly necessary.
- Feedback - A willingness to incorporate feedback and improve their and student learning through iterative practice.
What will students participating in STEM Education research learn? Students will learn:
- How to read and interpret primary STEM Education literature.
- How to enter data into a comprehensive database.
- How to code qualitative data into a quantitative system allowing for statistical analysis.
- How to organize data into a meaningful format for data analysis.
- How to form testable hypotheses.
- How to analyze data that is less structured than datasets normally provided in introductory statistics classes.
- How to visualize data to tell a compelling story about STEM education.
- How to articulate conclusions from a mixed methods study.
Project Description for Dr. Dennis Kombe: We will examine data from the CSUMB Makerspace to identify hands-on learning experiences and compare the data of repeat users in the Makerspace with Course Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs)
Project Description for Dr. Quentin Sedlacek: CSUMB is one of many universities working to create opportunities for undergraduates to do scientific research in their college coursework. We will be studying these “course-based undergraduate research experiences,” or CUREs, to help instructors create the best possible experiences for students, including those who are commuters, transfer students, students working full- or part-time jobs, and students who are parents or caregivers. Members of the research team will learn to work with one or more of the following methods: surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
Project Description for Dr. Corin Slown: We will explore direct and indirect evidence of student learning in Course Based Undergraduate Research Experiences in 200 and 300 level courses in the College of Science to determine if associating Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) with a Course Based Undergraduate Research Experience improve student outcomes.