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  Peer Enhanced Experiential Research in STEM (PEERS)  
The PEERS project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program is a collaborative project involving the departments of Physics, Earth Science, Chemistry, Computer Science and Mathematics at NEIU to increase student engagement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The PEERS project seeks to advance the research skills of undergraduate majors through the inclusion of hands-on research activities, expansion of computer simulations, and most importantly, through the use of peer mentors to facilitate these activities, in the introductory courses in Chemistry, Earth Science, Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science. The project involves Professors Paulo Acioli (Principal Investigator, Physics), Elisabet Head (Earth Science), Joseph Hibdon (Math), Ken Nicholson (Chemistry), Sudha Srinivas (Physics), Rachel Trana (Computer Science), Lidia Filus(Mathematics), and Marcelo Sztainberg (Computer Science).

Changes implemented in STEM courses under the PEERS project Fall 2015 - present:

CHEM 211 - General Chemistry I
CHEM 212 - General Chemistry II
Students in PEERS General Chemistry I & II courses
Course Modifications
  • Four week research project
  • Projects designed to engage students in topics relevant to their personal and career goals
  • Projects are tipically interdisciplinary with applications to applications to biomedical, nutrition, geological and environmental chemistry fields.
  • Students work in teams of 2-4
  • Peer Leaders are involved in the development of materials and supporting students within their projects.


Faculty Involved

Dr. Ken Nicholson - Chemistry

Peer Leaders
  • Student 1 - Department
  • Student 2 - Department
  • Student 3 - Department
  • Student 4 - Department
Materials
Olive Oil Classification - Fall 2015(?)




CS 207 - Programming II
Course Modifications
  • Three peer-led research-based components that have evolved over several semesters to encompass both multidisciplinary and industry-specific focus based on student and peer leader feedback
  • Students work in groups of 2-3 guided by peer leaders during class hours to apply object-oriented programming techniques to investigate different applications of computer science to multidisciplinary/industry-related problems.
  • Student groups submit required technical write-ups and group peer evaluations for each of the research components.
  • Peer leaders provide additional time during the week following the in-class lab to guide students on the lab materials.
  • Each peer leader provides a weekly two-hour time block outside class hours to guide students on additional exercises designed to reinforce core Programming II concepts


Faculty Involved

Dr. Rachel Trana - Computer Science

Peer Leaders
  • Morris Ballenger - Computer Science
  • Cherie Formacion - Computer Science
  • Jason Merrill - Computer Science
  • Claudiu Moise - Computer Science
  • Michael Sikorski - Computer Science
  • Ashley Torres - Computer Science
Materials
Research Lab #1: Image Processing, first implemented on 09/22/16
Research Lab #2: Form/Input Validation, to be implemented on 10/20/16
Research Lab #3: XOR Encryption, first implemented on 04/12/16
Java Starting Code for Lab 1
Java Starting Code for Lab 2




ESCI 211 - Physical Geology
Course Modifications
  • Mt. Rainier lahars research project
  • Studends act as consultants to cities surrounding Mt. Rainier
  • Use ArcGIS to research potentl movement of future lahars
  • Students work in teams
  • Peer leaders aid students during the entire project.


Faculty Involved

Dr. Elisabet Head - Earth Science

Peer Leaders
  • Cesar Bustos - Physics and Astronomy
  • Gulnara Karimova - Earth Science
Materials
Lahars Map


MATH 207 - Calculus II
MATH 275 - Computational Statistics

Course Modifications
  • Introduce data obtained from current research; biological, solar panel, and refugee data.
  • Have students analyze the data and write comprehensive report
  • Data analysis is either from a common source or students obtain own data from their current research
  • Four peer leaders are used to support the two courses


Faculty Involved

Dr. Joseph Hibdon - Mathematics

Peer Leaders
  • Irving Garcia - Chemistry
  • Krista Lotesto - Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Luis Pereda - Mathematics
  • Robert Ringstad - Physics and Astronomy
Materials


Fig. 1 - Bryophyte image from the Field Museum, data obtained from a citizen scientist project. http://microplants.fieldmuseum.org


Fig. 2 - Solar panels on the NEIU campus, data obtained from the company that monitors the solar panels.

PHYS 206L - University Physics I
PHYS 207L - University Physics II
Figures from Student Project on Asteroid Collisions - Fall 2015
Course Modifications
  • Semester long open ended research project
  • Suggested topics relevant to students discipline at level appropriate for the class.
  • Activities focused on the research process
  • Three Lab sessions devoted directly to the development of the research projects
  • Students work in teams of 2-4
  • Peer Leaders are involved in the development of materials and supporting students within their projects.


Faculty Involved

Dr. Paulo Acioli - Physics

Peer Leaders
  • Cesar Bustos - Physics and Astronomy
  • Gulnara Karimova - Earth Science
  • Vincent Vangelista - Physics and Astronomy
Materials
Lab1-Guide.pdf - Fall 2016
PHYS 206L Syllabus - Fall 2016
PHYS 207L Syllabus - Spring 2016

CHEM 300/CS 346/MATH 300/PHYS 300
Interdisciplinary Seminar in STEM
Course Objectives
  • Scientific Method
  • Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) training.
  • Students go thorugh the modified experiments/modules in each of the disciplines
  • 12-16 Peer Leaders are selected to take the course


Faculty Involved

Dr. Paulo Acioli - Physics
Dr. Elisabet Head - Earth Science
Dr. Joseph Hibdon - Mathematics
Scott Mayle - Instructor (Spring 2016)
Dr. Ken Nicholson - Chemistry
Dr. Sudha Srinivas - Physics
Dr. Rachel Trana - Computer Science

Peer Leaders
  • Same as the PEER Leaders for the individual classes
Materials
STEM300 Syllabus - Spring 2015




  Conference Presentations  

S. Srinivas, P. Acioli, K. Nicholson, E. Head, R. Adler, M. Sztainberg and L. Filus, The Peer Enhanced Experiential Research in STEM (PEERS) Project at NEIU, Poster presented at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) Crossing Boundaries: Transforming STEM Education, November 12-14, 2015, Seattle, WA.

Conference Poster

P. Acioli, S. Srinivas, E. Head, J. Hibdon, L. Filus, R. Trana, M. Sztainberg, and K. Nicholson, Peer Enhanced Experiential Research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, Oral presentation at the NEIU Sixth Annual Faculty Research & Creative Activities Symposium, Nov. 13, 2015, NEIU, Chicago, IL.

Presentation

Joseph Hibdon, Lidia Filus, Elisabet Head, Sudha Srinivas, Kenneth Nicholson, Rachel Trana, and Paulo Acioli , The Peer Enhanced Experiential Research in STEM (PEERS) project at Northeastern Illinois University: Mathematics Component, oral presentation at the 2016 Joint Mathematics Meetings, Jan 6-9, 2016, Seattle, WA.

Presentation

E. Head, S. Srinivas, P. Acioli, K. Nicholson, J. Hibdon, R. Trana, L. Filus, and M. Sztainberg, The Peer Enhanced Experiential Research in STEM (PEERS) Project at NEIU, Poster presented at the North-Central Regional Meeting of the Geological Society of America, April 18-19, Champaign, IL.

Conference Poster

Ken Nicholson, Paulo Acioli, Elizabet Head, Joseph Hibdon, Sudha Srinivas, and Rachel Trana, The Peer Enhanced Experiential Research in STEM (PEERS) Project at NEIU, Oral Presentation at the Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) Summer Institute 2016, July 28th-Aug. 1st, 2016, Chicago, IL.

Presentation

Gulnara Karimova (Earth Science Student), Vincent Vangelista (Physics Student), and Paulo Acioli, "Computational Modeling of Asteroid Collisions", Poster presented at the Twenty-Fourth Annual Student Research and Creative Activities Symposium, April 15, 2016, NEIU, Chicago, IL.

Conference Poster

Last Updated: 9/26/2016 .