News & Events

 News Banner

  • Golden Pinecone Award: 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

  • Science Olympiad 2017: 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.  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. 

Science Olympiad participants

  • Recognition for Project ReCharge: GreenNevada will recognize 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 with the curriculum and resources to engage over 2,300 middle and high school students about energy usage and conservation.  Through the program, students become energy detectives in their 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 environmental organizations in northern Nevada make up GreenNevada, whose mission is to foster sustainability 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 at Dilworth Middle School, 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

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. 

NNELI Group Photo

  • 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. 

  • 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.  
  • February 12, 2016:  NNELI Accepting Applications for Paraprofessional Cohort, Beginning September 2016 

NNELI LogoAttention 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.

 Microscopes

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