Thesis Defense by Marissa Saad on April 23rd
Space Studies Master’s student, Marissa Saad, will defend her thesis as follows. Please show your support by attending.
When: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. (Central)
Where: Ryan Hall, Room 111
Title: Progressing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education in North Dakota with Near-Space Ballooning
About the Topic: The United States must provide quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in order to maintain a leading role in the global economy. Numerous initiatives have been established across the United States that promote and encourage STEM education within the middle school curriculum. Integrating active learning pedagogy into instructors’ lesson plans will prepare the students to think critically – a necessary skill for the twenty first century.
This study integrated a three-week long Near Space Balloon project into six eighth-grade Earth Science classes from Valley Middle School in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It was hypothesized that after the students designed, constructed, launched, and analyzed their payload experiments, they would have an increased affinity for high school science and math classes.
A pre- and post-survey was distributed to the students (n=124), before and after the project to analyze how effective this engineering and space mission was regarding high school STEM interests. The surveys were statistically analyzed, comparing means by the Student’s t-Test, specifically the Welch-Satterthwaite test.
BIO: Marissa graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor's degree in Astronomy and two minors: Education and Latin. She was a member of Eta Sigma Phi, the National Honorary Society for Classical Studies. Upon graduating, she received her Massachusetts Teaching License for High School Earth Science, and decided to attend UND and pursue a Master's Degree in Space Studies. While at UND, she became heavily involved with High Altitude Ballooning. She was the team leader for UND's High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) and flight director/coordinator for the Near-Space Balloon Competition (NSBC). Her efforts from these two programs earned her the 2013 North Dakota Space Grant Award. Ultimately, Marissa was able to combine her passion for ballooning and her dream of inspiring younger students to pursue STEM for her thesis research. Marissa lives near Boston, Massachusetts and enjoys hiking, running, photography, and birding.
******Those unable to attend in person may view the live webcast******
1) A live webcast which includes PowerPoint slides will be available here. Please note: this option is currently not operational on portable devices/tablets.
2) A simple live webcast is also available here