Raggio Research Center

Welcome to the website for the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education. The purpose of the Raggio Research Center is to promote a better understanding of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines by providing quality programs focused in, among other areas, outreach and research. For more about our center's goals, please read the Raggio Research Center Mission Statement.


News & Events:

  • The Raggio Research Center for STEM Education received the Golden Pinecone Award (2016) from Green Nevada for Project ReCharge recognizing it as an outstanding program which provides professional development for teachers, faculty and staff in energy instruction and conservation to engage WCSD to become energy detectives in their schools.  The success of the program has saved WCSD thousands of dollars in energy savings by implementing energy-saving proposals submitted by the students.  Raggio Research Center Executive Director David Crowther and Catherine Pozarski-Connolly accepted the award.  Pozarski-Connolly was a doctoral student while working on the project.   Also present at the ceremony was the Envirolutions staff which partners with the RRC on the NSF ITest grant.   

Golden Pine Cone Awards

Golden Pine Cone Awards

  • The Raggio Research Center for STEM Education is partnering with Science Olympiad I for the 2017 Nevada Science Olympiad to be held March 4, 2017 on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.  Team registration is still open.  To date, 22 teams from Nevada have registered for the competition.  Out of the 30 teams that competed last year, two teams from Las Vegas advanced to the national competition at the University of Wisconsin.  For more information, contact Nevada Science Olympiad State Director Richard N. Vineyard at: rvineyard@unr.edu. 
  • GreenNevada will recognized the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education with the Golden Pinecone Award for outstanding Educational Program, "Project ReCharge," in a ceremony November 1, 2016 at the Peppermill Hotel and Casino, Reno.  Local nonprofit Envirolution and the Raggio Research Center have partnered through Project ReCharge to provide 10 schools in Northern Nevada and 48 teachers the curriculum and resources to engage over 2300 middle and high school students about energy usage and conservation.  Through the program, students become energy detectives in their own schools and the students' energy-saving proposals, using energy monitoring data they have researched, are expected to save WCSD close to $43,000 a year.  Project ReCharge is successful in educating students about making informed energy and conservation decisions in their own lives and preparing them for future jobs in a sustainable economy.  Project ReCharge is a 3-year program funded by the National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experience for Students and Teachers Grant (ITEST). The RRC was awarded 1.2 million for the program.  GreenNevada stands for Growing Resources for Environmental Education in Nevada.  Over 20 northern Nevada environmental organizations make-up GreenNevada whose mission is to foster sustainablility through environmental education and leadership.

  • October 6, 2016:  Local middle school and high school students have been energy detectives in their schools through Project Recharge,  a National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovative Technology Experiences for Student and Teachers (ITEST) grant awarded to the Raggio Research Center two years ago.  Their recommendations were implemented yesterday at Dilworth Middle, Sparks, Nevada.  A crew replaced fluorescent lighting with energy-saving LED lamps.  Students will return from Fall break next week to brighter hallways and a brighter cafeteria.  Thank you to KOLO News 8 for this contribution:   http://www.kolotv.com/content/news/Students-LED-project-saves-local-school-money-396101301.html
  • September 23, 2016:  The Raggio Research Center for STEM Education Partners With EDU2000 Through "Project Python." 

 We are surrounded by coding in our everyday lives; the  television remote control, the microwave oven in our kitchen,  the computer in our car dashboard.  Coding is one of the complexities of computer program language.  It is difficult to teach and difficult to understand.  Computer science courses are offered in higher education and those students who are successful have a vast window of opportunity for jobs in STEM fields.  Funded by the Nevada Department of Education (NDE),  Project Python's goal is to create easy-to-teach and easy-to-learn computer science classes for underrepresented 7-12 grade students by simplifying the industrial-grade language of Python.  The courses will help prepare  students from Washoe County School District (WCSD) and other Nevada school districts for college and future jobs.  The project will provide professional development opportunities for Nevada teachers to effectively teach computer science coding in their classrooms.  EDU2000, is a local technical educational product development company which is developing the computer science curriculum and will be the site administrator for Project Python in pilot schools within WCSD and other school districts in Nevada.


  •  September 19, 2016: Nevada Governor Proclaims "Year of STEM.": The statewide "Year of STEM" initiative was signed by Governor Brian Sandoval Monday, September 19, during a ceremony at Sparks High School in Reno, Nevada.   The initiative objective is to educate teachers, K-12 students, and their parents about job opportunities that don't exist today but will exist in the future.  Nevada will need a skilled technological workforce to fill these jobs.  Raggio Research Center Executive Director Dr. David Crowther was in attendance at the event.   The Raggio Research Center for STEM Education "SCIP" program introduces local junior and senior high school students to careers in STEM fields. "SCIP" or the STEM Career Investigation Program, is in its third year.  Pictured are: Dr. Crowther and Governor Brian Sandoval.

    DC and the Governor

Fall 2016 paras

NNELI Workmark jpg

  • September 1, 2016:  Today marks the beginning of the fifth and final year of the Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative grant program (NNELI).  The grant was funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition. NNELI has improved instruction to English language learners in our communities by providing professional development opportunities to pre-service teachers, classroom teachers and paraprofessionals. Participants also were given strategies for working with ELs in STEM-content. Happy Birthday NNELI!  Above:  NNELI welcomes the Fall 2016 Paraprofessional Cohort during their first face-to-face meeting September 1, 2016. 



  • August, 2016: Moving Science Education Forward through "Project MANTA";  The Raggio Research has partnered with University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in a state-wide program to increase awareness of science standards through professional development of Nevada teachers.  Funding comes from the Nevada Department of Education (NDOE) Math and Science Partnership 2016-2017 grant program: "Moving All Nevada Teachers through Awareness of the Nevada Academic Content Standards for Science (NVACSS); Project "MANTA".  RRC Executive Director and UNR Science Professor, Dr. David Crowther and his team recently led workshops for teachers from Washoe County School District (WCSD) and Elko.  Similar teams of higher education faculty and teacher educators from across the state will develop and present workshops to teachers in their districts and regions. 

  • August 12-13, 2016:  If you plan on getting early shut eye today and tomorrow, you will miss out on the most spectacular meteor shower visible in the Northern Hemisphere...the Perseids meteor shower.   Find a dark sky and witness as many as 200 meteors per hour between 10 p.m. and into the early morning hours.  The Perseid cloud stretches along the comet SWIFT-Tuttle on its 133-year orbit and is visible mid-July every year.  Once ejected by Swift-Tuttle, the debris particles were named Perseids because they appear to come from the constellation Perseus.  UNR's Fleischmann Planetarium Facebook Page is a great resource for information and updates about the Perseids.  Here is the link.  https://www.facebook.com/fleischmannplanetarium

Teachers Pose On Stairs

  • Summer/July 2016: While summer at the University of Nevada, Reno is quiet with the exodus of  most of the students and professors,  it is the Raggio Research Center's (RRC's) busiest time of year for grant activity.  Washoe County School District (WCSD) teachers  convened at the RRC for the SU 2016 Classroom Teacher Cohort of the Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative (NNELI).  This was the fourth and final classroom teacher cohort for the grant.  During the intensive 3-week  professional development workshop, the teachers attended a morning session in "Special Topics in Teaching English as a Second Language: Academic Language", taught by Julie Lucus, former NNELI classroom teacher "completer" and English as a second language (ESL) teacher certification instructor.   After lunch,  it was more hands-on activities in the UNR science lab at the College of Education.  Dr. David Crowther led the group in inquiry-based science methods that would later get their students excited about the molecular features of the states of matter through hands-on and kinesthetic science strategies.  
  • March, 2016: Raggio Research Center Executive Director David Crowther will serve as president of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) during 2017-2018.  NSTA members elected Crowther in February.  An educator for 25 years, Crowther is a professor of science education at the University of Nevada, Reno.  Crowther said we need to "rejuvenate" science and STEM education to catch up with the skills needed for the 21st century workforce.  He states one of the biggest challenges is to move from traditional methods of STEM instruction to align with the three-dimensional approach of the Next Generation Science Standards.  He teaches science inquiry methods at the undergraduate and graduate level.  Crowther's particular research interest is teaching science through inquiry to develop English language acquisition for English language learners; research he has done through the Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative (NNELI) grant as co-principle investigator.  
  • March 5, 2016: The 2016 Nevada Science Olympiad will be held Saturday, March 5 on the UNR campus.  The Raggio Research Center is supporting the 2016 Olympiad.  RRC Director of Science STEM Fairs and Festivals Dr. Richard Vineyard says 13 high schools and nine middle schools are registered for the state competition.  Vineyard reports on the Nevada Science Olympiad at UNR at the following website.
  • February 12, 2016:  NNELI Accepting Applications for Paraprofessional Cohort Which Begins September 2016    Attention WCSD teacher aides, teacher assistants and education support professionals! The Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative provides an outstanding learning and professional development opportunity to help you become more effective working with English language learners in the classroom. Recruitment is now open for the third paraprofessional cohort which begins September 2016. Selected applicants will complete nine online modules and network with other paraprofessionals in the WCSD. Module topics include: Teaching/Learning Strategies, Professionalism, Technology, GLAD/SIOP Strategies and more. Participants will receive a $600 stipend upon completion of the program and they will have access to NNELI resources including laptops and i Pads, and science kits. Apply today at http://www.unr.edu/nneli/applying/paraprofessionals. Applications will be accepted through May 1, 2016. For more information email nneli@unr.edu or call 775-682-7877.


SCIP students

  • February 9, 2016: "I Didn't Know You Could Learn That From Mud!" The second installment in the SCIP speaker program had curious high school students looking at core samples from Sequoia National Forest to identify different pollens.    Led by Dr. Scott Mensing, University of Nevada, Reno researcher and professor of geography,  students learned that by analyzing fossil pollen and charcoal from layers of sediment from lakes and meadows that researchers can reconstruct past environments that may have been exposed to changes in vegetation, climate change and fire.  What impact does environmental changes have on communities and how do humans interact to their new environment?  These questions are of particular interest to Dr. Mensing.  For the past six summers, Dr. Mensing has conducted his research in the Rieti Basin of Italy reconstructing 2500 years of environmental change at the periphery of Rome.  Next week, Julia Hudson, lead occupational therapist at Renown Health will share her work with electrical muscle stimulation. 

SCIP 2016 participants

  • February 2, 2016:  Local high school students gathered at the Raggio Research Center for STEM education for the SCIP 2016 Spring Seminar Series.  In its third year, SCIP or the STEM Career Investigation Program gives students the opportunity to explore careers in STEM fields.  The program is funded through the statewide EPSCoR-Nexus program, a National Science Foundation grant (NSF).  Andy Stevenson, special projects associate for Tesla Motors, Inc., was the first speaker for the six-week seminar series scheduled every Tuesday evening through March 8.  Stevenson enlightened the group with the history of the sustainable energy electrical car company and discussed what skills, mindset, and education are required for a career with the company. Tesla was founded in 2003 with five employees.  By 2015, the company employed 13,000 workers.  Tesla will open a gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada providing 6500 full-time jobs to the region.  The company's Model S electric car travels 265 miles per charge.  As the world's oil supply is depleted, Stevenson discussed the challenges the company faces in the future;  advanced battery technology to increase the range of vehicles, manufacturing to meet electrical transport demands, and recruiting and finding qualified technical workers.  Knowing these challenges, the high-school group was asked to brainstorm solutions.  


  • January 21, 2016:  The Raggio Research Center  recently was awarded the 2016 State Educational Technology Needs Assessment (SETNA) grant for Nevada schools and districts.  Dr. Jacque Ewing-Taylor, Ph.D., will serve as the project director.  Dr. Ewing-Taylor is Director of Grants & Evaluation in the Raggio Research Center.  Three essential analyses are required to be part of the project:  1. The need for computer-based assessments including the use of computers for the administration of the high school proficiency examination; 2.  The use of educational technology to improve the achievement and proficiency of pupils; and 3.  A feasibility study of the costs associated with using laptop computers versus traditional textbooks.  The study will be completed by June 1, 2016.  

  • January 15, 2016:  Applications are now being accepted for  the Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative (NNELI) Summer Classroom Teacher Cohort.  The summer courses are available to selected elementary and secondary classroom teachers.  Participating teachers will be enrolled in two graduate-level courses in STEM and ESL that were designed in collaboration with Washoe County School District to improve EL instruction in northern Nevada classrooms.  UNR registration, course fees and associated class textbooks will be paid for by NNELI.  Course dates are July 5-22, 2016 on the UNR campus.  Apply before April 1, 2016 at http://www.unr.edu/nneli/applying/k-12/classroom-teache For more information, email nneli@unr.edu or call 775-682-7877.  
  • December 1, 2015:   Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giant

Beneath the surface of the world's rivers swim mysterious giants.  Join Dr. Zeb Hogan, National Geographic explorer, host of the National  Geographic WILD series Monster Fish, and a University of Nevada, Reno professor,  on a journey to find and protect the world's largest freshwater fish.   Monster Fish will be on exhibit at the Discovery through April 24, 2016-the very first traveling stop after its debut at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C.  The Monster Fish Exhibition Guide for students grades 4-8, which corresponds to the exhibition,  was written by Dr. David Crowther, science professor and the director of the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education,  in collaboration with researcher Dr. Zeb Hogan and faculty from the College of Science. 

education guide

  • Oct. 29, 2015:  The VEX Robotics Pilot Program is a GEAR UP sub grant that the Dean's Future Scholars (DFS) program received for the 2015-2016 school year.  The purpose of the grant is for 9th and 10th grade GEAR UP students to gain hands-on experiences and exposure to STEM by assembling, modifying, and programming VEX Clawbots.   The DFS program utilized the Washoe County School District fall break to run a small-scale pilot program at the Raggio Research Center Oct. 26-29, 2015.  Ten students, ages 11 to 17 years old from local schools, participated in the 4-day robotics camp.  The pilot program will be valuable for collecting student feedback about the robots, curriculum, activities, and delivery for future robotics camps.  DFS is located in room 4117 of the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education, University of Nevada, Reno.   


Students sit on floor and smile at the camera.DFS

  • Oct. 28, 2015: Homecoming festivities last week on the University of Nevada, Reno campus included a "Tour de Raggio," Friday, October 23, 2015.  Alumni from the College of Education toured the college facilities.  A reception followed in the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education.  Departments shared research projects and education programs within the college.  Mrs. William J. Raggio (Dale) was an honored guest of the open house.  The College of Education building was renamed in 2003 in honor of Nevada State Senator William J. Raggio.  Guests toured the Raggio Research facility, including the resource center which is being established to provide STEM education resources to educators in the northern Nevada community.  Grants from sponsors including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),  the United States Department of Education and the Nevada State Department of Education were highlighted as their funding provides the education research and programs which enrich science education and instruction of the STEM fields in our schools and communities.  Below left is Mrs. Dale Raggio with Sandra Prytherch, program manager, education grants for the Raggio Research Center.  Student Worker Jeffrey Bouchard explains what is available through the resource center at the RRC.

Dale RaggioIATwo people chat near a poster.


  • Sept. 9, 2015:  Paraprofessionals from Washoe County School District gathered for their first face-to-face meeting.  The group is participating in the NNELI Fall 2015 Paraprofessional Cohort, a nine-month professional development workshop. 
    2015-2016 Paraprofessional Group
  • August 22, 2015:  Teachers from Las Vegas and Northern Nevada gathered Saturday, August 22, at the Raggio Research Center for a professional development workshop as part of the CLASSP (Cyber-Learning Activities to Scaffold STEM Practices) grant.  A state-wide project, CLASSP is an EPSCoR Track 3 grant funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), addressing the overarching question: how can innovative, cyber-enabled instructional methods transform STEM education and increase opportunities for underrepresented populations? The instructional method that was explored was the 5-DIE approach for developing scientific literacy.  5-DIE or 5-Featured Dynamic Inquiry Enterprise,  begins with 1.  A scientific question, 2. Collection of evidence 3. Create Explanations 4. Compare explanations to scientific knowledge and 5. Communicate and justify explanations.  Over the course of a year, the teachers will complete an online course and use this method in their classrooms.  

CLASSP Teachers

  • July 24, 2015:  Licorice twists and gummies form edible DNA strands to engage children in science, one of the final presentations made Friday, the final day of the NNELI specialized summer courses in STEM and academic language.

DNA strandDNA presentation

NNELI Class picture

  • July 24, 2015 :  Last day of class:  NNELI participants stopped from giving final presentations to take a class picture.  Most of the pre-service teachers and classroom teachers were dressed in their own tie dye creations that were made in Professor David Crowther's science lab.  The photo also marked the end of the NNELI specialized summer courses in STEM and academic language, a three-week intensive professional development workshop available only to NNELI grant participants.  
  • June 24, 2015: The Raggio Research Center for STEM Education last year was awarded a very competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovative Technology Experiences for Student and Teachers (ITEST) grant entitled Project ReCharge.  A three-year collaboration between the University of Nevada, Reno, the Washoe County School District (WCSD), and local nonprofit Envirolution, Project ReCharge will engage teachers and over 3000 students to interface with real-time data through innovative energy efficient technologies and will empower them to make energy-saving recommendations for their schools.  Dr. David Crowther, executive director of the Raggio Research Center and principal investigator in charge of Project ReCharge, recently was interviewed by KUNR Reno public radio.  Crowther spoke how through this program, students are becoming "energy detectives" for their schools.  Read or listen to the interview by following this link.    http://kunr.org/post/new-program-aims-help-renosparks-schools-save-energy-money

  • June 22, 2015: Teachers from several Nevada school districts this week are attending a professional development and research  workshop at the Raggio Research Center.  The program is NERDS or Nevada Educators Really Doing Solar.  UNR Associate Professor Dr. Ravi Subramanian is applying National Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and STEM activities to a Solar Energy course content that will be effective introducing solar in the classroom.  Teachers will assemble and race solar-powered cars and explore wind energy and other energy sources.  Included in the week-long program will be field trips to Nevada solar installations including the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project at Tonopah, NV.  NERDS is funded by the EPSCoR Nexus grant through an award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

  • September 18, 2014: Read the final report for SCIP Spring 2014

  • January 3, 2014:  Thirty local high school students have applied for the STEM Career Investigation Program or (SCIP).  There is still time to apply.  The  application deadline has been extended to January 31, 2014.  The seminar series will be Tuesday evenings during the months of February and March 2014, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.  The six sessions are free and are open to 10th-12th grade high school students, from Reno and Sparks, who want to explore a career in science and engineering.  Students who attend all six sessions, will receive a certificate of completion.  For more information and to apply for the SCIP program click here. .
  • January 2, 2014:  Happy New Year from the faculty and staff of the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education.  We look forward to working with the new Raggio Research Center Advisory Board this year.  Board members and organizations who wish to promote their STEM activities on this website, are welcome to email the program or event information to pamelajs@unr.edu.    
  • December 10, 2013: The application deadline for local high school students to apply for the STEM Career Investigation Program or (SCIP), has been extended to Tuesday, December 31st.  For more information and to apply for the SCIP program click here.
  • October 30, 2013: STEM Career Investigation Program or (SCIP) gives local high school  students the opportunity to observe current research from University of Nevada, Reno scientists and engineers and STEM businesses from our community.  The program also introduces students to careers in specialized areas of science and engineering.  Applications are currently being accepted for the Spring 2014 SCIP seminar series at the Raggio Research Center, UNR.  The seminar series will be Tuesday evenings during the months of February and March 2014, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.  The six sessions are free and are open to 10th-12th grade high school students from Reno and Sparks.  Friday, December 13, is the deadline for applying for participation in the program.  Acceptance into the program will begin early January, 2014.  For more information and to apply for the SCIP program click here.
  • September 2012: On Thursday September 20, 2012, the Nevada Discovery Museum is hosting the Tech Café. It is Northern Nevada’s premiere educational technology showcase for pre-service and classroom teachers! From 2:30-3:45pm on Thursday, pre-service teachers from the University of Nevada, Reno, Truckee Meadows Community College, and surrounding colleges of education are welcome for a FREE sneak peak at the Tech Cafe “teched-up” exhibits from the following rooms at the Discovery Museum: the Nevada Stories Room, Under the Stars, the Da Vinci Room, and the Cloud Climber/Truckee Connects exhibit. To create a robust Discovery Museum experience for teachers and their students, each of these rooms has had lesson plans created using the Common Core State Standards, 21st Century Skills, and other Nevada State Standards to base lessons from. Teachers can differentiate their lessons to use more or less technology with their students. Types of technology-integration include ActiveBoards, iPods/iPads, Web 2.0 technologies, audio/video, and other available classroom technology.

    Pre-service teachers will have a special time allotted to visit the Discovery Museum, look at the exhibits, then join a discussion panel to talk about what they experienced at Tech Cafe. If pre-service teachers are interested in volunteering to meet class requirements, they can volunteer before, during and after the 4-8pm event for current classroom teachers. All Nevada educators—both PK-12 and higher ed—are welcome! Classroom teachers who attend get to be the first to sign up for 2012-2013 field-trips to the Nevada Discovery Museum—and the Discovery Museum pays transportation expenses and museum tickets are discounted!

    University of Nevada, Reno & Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) instructors, tell your students about this great opportunity! For more information or for students to RSVP, please visit TechCafe 2012 or the Innovate Twenty-two/Tech Café Facebook page to RSVP and to LIKE us on Facebook!

    If you have any questions, please contact Shawn Pennell at spennell@unr.edu.

  • May 1, 2012: The Raggio Research Center is pleased to announce the funding of the Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative (NNELI), a National Professional Development grant program funded by the United States Department of Education. The grant was sought by University of Nevada, Reno, College of Education, Associate Professor of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Rod Case, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, along with Co-Principal Investigators, Jacque Ewing-Taylor, Ph.D., Director of the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education, and David Crowther, Ph.D., Professor in Science Education, in consortium with the Washoe County School District. The grant was fully funded in May, 2012 by the Office of English Language Acquisition of the United States Department of Education. It is expected to continue for five years, with a total grant award of almost two million dollars ($1,935,167.)

  • NNELI's purpose is to improve instruction to English Learners (ELs) by providing professional development opportunities for pre-service teachers and in-service teachers and paraprofessionals in Northern Nevada. Most relevant to the students in your classes (EPY 330 a and 330b), this grant will give financial assistance to selected pre-service teachers at the University of Nevada, Reno as they seek an ESL endorsement. It will also pay for these pre-service teachers and selected licensed, practicing classroom teachers to take a course which focuses on strategies of working with ELs within Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines through a Sheltered Instruction (SI) approach, and a second course on Academic Language in STEM. Lastly, NNELI will offer paraprofessionals training using multi-modal digital EL/STEM tools to better serve ELs in the classroom.

    The NNELI grant offices are housed in the Raggio Research Center. NNELI staff can be reached via email at nneli@unr.edu or (775) 682-7877. Check out the Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative website.
  • January 25, 2012: The Raggio Research Center has published its 2011 annual report.
  • September 29, 2011: The Nevada Pathway Project won the Partnership for 21st Century Skills award for Best Practices! Nevada was one of ten states recognized for their leadership and best practices in promoting 21st century education. Congratulations to the Nevada Pathway Project staff, participants, and students! Please read the P21 Press Release and the WCSD Pinnacle article.

Contact Us

Raggio Research Center (0432)

1664 N. Virginia Street

Reno, NV 89557

Phone (775) 784-8288

Fax (775) 327-2016

William J. Raggio, Room 4001