Associate Professor Alicia Alonzo was among those who recently received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Barack Obama. Alonzo’s award was announced—along with 101 other scientists, researchers and educators—on Jan. 9, 2017.
The award is the highest bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers, and celebrates those that pursue innovative research. Additional award considerations include recipients’ dedication to community service and outreach, public education and tackling scientific challenges.
The recipients were either employed or funded by various national and governmental departments. Alonzo, part of the Department of Teacher Education at MSU, is currently funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for: “CAREER: Redesigning a Learning Progression to Build Upon Students’ Intuitive Ideas about Motion and Support Teachers’ Formative Assessment Practices.”
The CAREER grant is a four-part study, split into strands, that examines if students’ intuitive ideas can help inform formative assessment practices and learning progressions. Strands A and B highlight students’ sensemaking, redesigning introductory high school physics curricula to include learning progressions and assessment items. Strand C includes professional development for educators to support the changes in their classroom. Lastly, in Strand D, all of the lessons learned from the previous strands will help inform decisions to revise the curricula for the MSU College of Education Teacher Preparation Program for science educators.
“This award is a tremendous honor that recognizes the very important contributions of [Alonzo’s] research in science education,” said Ann Austin, associate dean for research in the College of Education and a former program officer at NSF. “We are so pleased to have Dr. Alonzo at MSU, working with many other talented scholars to improve teaching and learning at all levels of education in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”