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Learn about our Childhood Education program

Mission

The mission of the Mercy College Center for STEM Education (MCCSE) is to create opportunities for groups typically underrepresented in STEM to engage in enrichment activities for learning, career readiness, enjoyment, and personal and community growth, which may not be available through school districts. This Center is the only such academic center in our Westchester and Rockland region and hosts events, organizes activities, and conducts research related to STEM education. The CSE is an umbrella for varied, current and future STEM education activities conducted by faculty and supported through external funding. In an increasingly technology-oriented society, the importance of STEM education is paramount. Social data over the past 30 years suggests that, as compared with children of the 1970s, the future success of today’s youth largely hinges on their parents’ socio-economic status and educational experience (Harvard Saguaro Seminar, 2012). Science education can also be seen as part of being an educated citizen and thus an issue of access to knowledge, as a means of giving individuals—hence their families and communities—tools to solve problems on their own (Tate, 2001). 

Women cutting a ribbon

If students do not have an opportunity to develop a strong foundation in STEM knowledge, they will not be prepared to make civic and social decisions that affect their families and communities. Students’ lack of preparation for applying knowledge of science in new situations and to their lives is more than just a problem of classroom instruction: it is also a challenge tied to race, English language proficiency, and socioeconomic status. Our poorest children often attend schools with the least resources, yielding disparities in academic quality among the haves and have-nots (Tate 2001, 1016). Through the Center for STEM Education, Mercy is situated to address these challenges and meet STEM education needs of underserved groups through research-based work with our own students and community outreach that includes local schools. Center activities include family STEM nights, Saturday STEM Academies, professional development for K-12 teachers, and summer camps.

Co-Directors

Dr-Amanda-M- Gunning

Dr. Amanda M. Gunning

Dr. Gunning is an Associate Professor of Secondary Science Education at Mercy and Chairman of the Department of Secondary Education.   She is Co-Director of the Greater NY Wipro Science Education Fellowship and was the Director of the Step up to STEM Grant at Mercy.  She is also working with the Yonkers School District on a Math Science Partnership and is co-PI on a brand new (2018)  NSF Grant Preparing Master Teacher Fellows in STEM.  

Her areas of specialty are Physics and Engineering, and teacher education in STEM.

Contact: agunning@mercy.edu

 

Meghan-E-Marrero

Dr. Meghan E. Marrero

Dr. Marrero is Professor of Secondary Science Education at Mercy. She is Co-Director of the Wipro Science Education Fellowship, and the Director of the Mercy College Intensive STEM Teacher Initiative (MISTI), an NSF Grant for training undergraduate Science and Math Teachers. In 2018 she was elected President of the National Marine Educators Association and did a Fulbright research semester at the National College of Ireland, Dublin, where she collected data for the international implementation of FLORES (Family Learning and Outreach for Research and Education in STEM).

Dr. Marrero's research interests are in ocean literacy (she co-authored a high school marine science textbook), and teacher education in STEM.

Contact: mmarrero3@mercy.edu

 

Kristen Larson

Dr. Kristen Larson

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Larson holds her Ed.D in Science Education with a specialization in Teacher Education from Teachers College, Columbia University where she is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor and University Supervisor for the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. She proudly joins Mercy College in September 2020 after seven years teaching 7th -12th grade life sciences in New Jersey and looks forward to collaborating on research in science teacher education and developing community partnerships

Contact:  klarson1@mercy.edu

 

Mary Ushay

Mary Ushay

Assistant Director

As of September 1, 2020, Mary will be the Assistant Director of the Center for STEM Education and will oversee the running of all activities under the CSE Umbrella, including numberous National Science Foundation grants, Saturday STEM Academy and STEM Professional Development offerings.  She came to Mercy College in 2014 after many years of volunteering in the Tuckahoe School District to enrich curriculum, as an after school teacher and organizer, and as PTA President and Tuckahoe School Foundation Secretary. She especially enjoys working with the undergraduates to help them realize their potential in the science and education fields.

Contact: mushay@mercy.edu

 

Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Marion Ben-Jacob, Professor, Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Mercy College

Dr. Zhixiong Chen, Professor, Cybersecurity, Mercy College

Dr. William Farber, Associate Professor, Mathematics Education, Mercy College

Dr. Renee Haskew-Layton, Assistant Professor, School of Health and Natural Sciences, Mercy College

Dr. Wendy Mages, Associate Professor, Childhood Education, Mercy College

Dr. Elena Nitecki, Associate Professor, Childhood Education, Mercy College