STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

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Daniel Udovic

Senior Scholar, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Daniel Udovic is a Senior Scholar at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in the Office of Undergraduate STEM Education. He is co-directing an NSF-funded project to foster social and professional networking among those interested in improving STEM education via webinars, social media, and the development of a highly interactive website ( A main goal of this project is to support the on-going community-building efforts of organizations such as AAC&U and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

Udovic is also Emeritus Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1973. He is also a member of the University’s Institute of Ecology and Evolution. He served as Head of the Department of Biology from 1989 until June 1995, as Director of the Environmental Studies Program from July 1996 to July 2006, and as Director of the Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from its establishment in 2001 until July 2006.

Dr. Udovic has been a leader in science education reform and in the development of educational simulation software in the biological sciences. As director of the Environmental Studies Program, Dr. Udovic led efforts to introduce a new major in Environmental Science and to strengthen the curriculum of the Environmental Studies major. From 1991 to 1998 he directed the Workshop Biology Project (co-funded by NSF and by the Department of Education), aimed at improving undergraduate education for non-science majors. The Workshop Biology curriculum focused on open-ended, interactive laboratory activities and de-emphasized lectures and demonstrations. Overall, the goal of the Workshop Biology curriculum was to help students actively address important scientific issues and learn to make informed, critical decisions that are consistent with their values. Udovic also directed a five-year science education project funded by HHMI.

Udovic served as a Program Director for the National Science Foundation, in the Division of Undergraduate Education from August 2006 until January 2009. During and after his time at NSF, he organized annual national meetings of STEP grantees, and directed projects aimed at building communities of practice among the grantees through meetings, webinars and the development of an interactive website ( These projects have formed the basis for his current project at AAC&U.

He received a BA in Zoology from the University of Texas at Austin (1970), a PhD in Entomology from Cornell University (1973), and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Oregon (1988).

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Scott Grissom

Professor, Grand Valley State University

Scott Grissom is a professor of Computer Science at Grand Valley State University.  He was named 2008 Michigan Professor of the Year partly due to his national accomplishments in computer science education and served as Guest Editor for a special issue of ACM Transactions on Computer Science Education, entitled “Alternatives to Lecture in the Computer Science Classroom” (Sept 2013). He served as NSF Program Officer (2009-2011) and was the co-Lead for the STEP Program.  During the past year he has provided professional development for faculty who want to integrate more active learning in to their classrooms.

Kelly Mack, Ph.D.'s photo

Kelly Mack, Ph.D.

Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education; and Executive Director, Project Kaleidoscope, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Dr. Kelly Mack is the Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education and Executive Director of Project Kaleidoscope at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Prior to joining AAC&U, Dr. Mack was the Senior Program Director for the National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Program while on loan from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) where, as a Professor of Biology, she taught courses in Physiology and Endocrinology for 18 years.

During her tenure at NSF, Dr. Mack managed an annual budget of approximately $17 million, facilitated the inclusion of issues targeting women of color into the national discourse on gender equity in the STEM disciplines and significantly increased the participation of predominantly undergraduate institutions, community colleges and minority serving institutions in the ADVANCE portfolio.

At UMES, Dr. Mack served in many capacities including Biology Program Director where she was responsible for providing leadership and strategic vision for the intellectual, educational, and professional development of biology majors and for the coordination of faculty in providing quality instruction, research, and development activities. She also served as Principal Investigator, Director or Co-Director for externally funded projects that totaled over $12 million dollars, including the UMES ADVANCE Program, which focused on issues related to African American women faculty in the STEM disciplines and led to the initiation of several institution-wide practices to promote the professional development of all faculty.

Dr. Mack earned the BS degree in Biology from UMES and, later, the PhD degree from Howard University in Physiology. She has had extensive training and experience in the area of cancer research with her research efforts focusing primarily on the use of novel antitumor agents in breast tumor cells. Most recently, her research focus has involved the use of bioflavonoids in the regulation of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast tumor cell proliferation.

Dr. Mack has served as a member of the Board of Governors for the National Council on Undergraduate Research and is a current member of the National Institutes of Health Review Subcommittee for Training, Workforce Development and Diversity. She also recently completed a brief stint as Executive Secretary for the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering, which is the Congressionally mandated advisory body that focuses on efforts to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in the STEM disciplines.

Linda L. Slakey, Ph.D.'s photo

Linda L. Slakey, Ph.D.

Dr. Slakey served at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1973 – 2006, first as a member of the faculty in the Department of Biochemistry, then Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and then Dean of Commonwealth Honors College. She supported teaching and learning initiatives throughout the University, with particular attention to faculty development, the support of research on how students learn, and engaging undergraduate students in research. From 2006 through 2011 she was Director of the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation.  At present she has a consulting practice in Washington, DC, focused on bringing about a shift in the culture of undergraduate teaching from one in which lecture is an acceptable norm toward one characterized by personal and institutional expectations of more student-centered teaching practices.

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Tania Siemens

STEM Central Project Manager, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Tania Siemens is the STEM Central Program Manager in the Office of Undergraduate STEM Education at American Association of Colleges and Universities. In this role, Tania supports the development of STEM Central, which works to engage and support STEM educators and researchers in their common goal to improve Undergraduate STEM Education.

Tania has extensive experience in science, education, and engaging communities. Tania comes to AAC&U from the University or Oregon, where she worked to build and manage STEM-Central’s predecessor:  STEPCentral, a community of practice for STEP Grantees. Tania also worked at Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, where she coordinated Oregon Sea Grant's K-12 teacher training program called WISE (Watershed and Invasive Species Education) in which teachers utilize invasive species as local, engaging, problem-based and relevant issues through which teachers can meet benchmarks in STEM. 

Tania obtained her Bachelors in Biology (summa cum laude) at the University or Oregon and a Masters of Science from Cornell University where she studied the Ecology and Management of Invasive Plant Species on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. While at Cornell, Tania held a NSF GK-12 Fellowship in which she partnered with High School Science teachers to develop and implement inquiry-based science labs and field experiences.

Joshua Freeman

Senior Adviser, Multimedia Strategies, and Founding General Manager, Trellis., AAAS

An accomplished leader of both start-ups and digital media organizations, in addition to founding and leading Trellis, Mr. Freeman currently is responsible for developing multi-media strategies for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, the publishers of the journal Science). Prior to AAAS, he was the founding CEO of TeamVisibility, building TeamVis from a prototype to a growth stage company. Previously, Mr. Freeman was EVP, Digital Media, for the Discovery Networks, where he drove significant growth in traffic and revenue, especially around video. Before Discovery, he played a variety of roles at AOL, including being a key member of the team that built and launched AOL Video, one of the first major aggregators of premium video content. Mr. Freeman also served as a Consultant at Bain & Company and has lived overseas, in Russia, while working for the National Democratic Institute.

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Lou Woodley

Community Engagement Director, Trellis, AAAS

Lou is the Community Engagement Director for Trellis, the new online communication and collaboration platform being developed by AAAS. Lou is a trained molecular biologist with research experience at Cambridge University, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, and the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona. Since leaving the bench, she¹s gained extensive experience in on- and offline community engagement. This has included 5 years overseeing Nature Publishing Group¹s community projects such as Nature Network, the editorial blogs, and online coverage of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and Nobel Week Dialogue. She also chaired NPG¹s social media working group, coordinating the creation of best practice documentation and training sessions for staff.

Lou has additionally organized community-focused events of various formats and sizes, many of which have focused on science communication and Open Science. These include the SpotOn London annual conference and the Open Knowledge Festival 2014. She also devised and co-organized the SpotOn NYC monthly discussions, and has hosted science tweetups in the UK and US.

Other projects for Lou have included co-founding and serving as Managing Editor for BlueSci, the first student science magazine in the UK, and organizing SciBarCamb, a two-day science and technology unconference in Cambridge. She also co-founded and continues to curate MySciCareer, a website for first person science career stories. She explores the intersection of people, science and technology on her blog, Social in Silico.