STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Nicole Bennett's photo

Nicole Bennett

Program Officer, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation

Nicole Bennett is an Associate Professor at Appalachian State University and a rotating Program Officer for the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education.  She received a B.S. in Chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1990 followed by a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996.  Her 17-year career as a teacher/scholar began in the Chemistry Department at Hope College, a 3,000-student Liberal Arts college in Holland, MI.  There, Nicole thrived in an environment where it was the norm for teachers and students to collaborate, discover, and learn together.  In 2002, she moved to Appalachian, a primarily undergraduate institution with approximately 17,000 students, where she established a vigorous undergraduate research program in physical organic studies of microwave-induced synthesis of biodiesel and small molecules and she still enjoys the strong sense of community that research collaboration imparts on students and faculty alike.  Nicole has been the principle investigator or co-principle investigator for undergraduate research projects funded through the NSF-POWRE (2000), NSF-CCLI (2004), Merck/AAAS (2006), Pfizer Inc. (2007), NSF-STEP (2007), NSF-S-STEM (2007), NC Space Grant (2008), NSF-REU (2010), and NSF-MRI (2012) Programs.

Robin Phelps 's photo

Robin Phelps

Director, Client Services , UCF Venture Accelerator

Robin Phelps is Director, Client Services, in the UCF Venture Accelerator, working actively with the team on UCF I-Corps and other programs to educate and support researchers, university-based and community start-up ventures, and emerging growth businesses.  She has more than 25 years of experience in business development, strategy, and as a founding executive in investor-backed technology startup companies.   Robin holds a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Pepperdine University, a Master’s in Management from University of Denver, and a Ph.D. (ABD) in Public Affairs from University of Colorado Denver where her research focuses on economic development and the growth of innovation economies.