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CSE Distinguished Women Scientists and Engineers Speakers

Date: 02/22/2013

Time: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Location: 130 Murphy Hall

Cost: Free


"The Role of Undergraduate Education in the Future of STEM”

by Cindy L. Hasselbring, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, NSF, Arlington, VA

2:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013
130 Murphy Hall

This event is sponsored by the College of Science and Engineering's Distinguished Women Scientists and Engineers Speakers Program and hosted by the Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics (AEM) Department


According to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recent report called “Engage to Excel” (February 2012), fewer than 40% of undergraduate students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field actually complete a STEM degree. There are several reasons that have been identified in reports as potential causes for students to change from their STEM majors or not complete their degrees. Some of these reasons include lack of motivation, low performance, lack of self- confidence, etc. One study completed by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University found that the number of STEM occupations in the U.S. between the years 2008 and 2018 would increase by 1,000,000 new positions, with 92% of these requiring at least some postsecondary education and training. In the past, the United States has filled unmet workforce needs with professionals born in other countries. However, as STEM fields grow in other places of the world, there is no guarantee this pattern will continue in the future. Another area of concern is engaging young women and minorities in STEM majors. Approximately 70% of college students are women and minorities, but only 45% of students who graduate with an undergraduate STEM degree are women and minorities. Additionally, members of these minority groups leave STEM majors at faster rates and make up an untapped pool of talent.

Several initiatives have begun at the federal level in recent years to address these undergraduate issues. First, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 was signed to “advance U.S. competitiveness in the critical areas of science, technology, and education”. This legislation authorized federal agencies to work together in a committee on STEM education called CoSTEM (Committee on STEM education). CoSTEM addresses education and workforce issues at the PreK-12, undergraduate, graduate, and lifelong learning levels. Currently, this group is developing a five-year strategic plan to coordinate and inventory their STEM education activities. Part of this process includes aligning federal STEM education investments with four priority areas which are effective K-12 STEM teacher education, engagement, undergraduate STEM education, and serving groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.

Undergraduate students in STEM majors play a crucial role in the future of our nation’s competitive workforce. Not only will they fill high-demand STEM career needs, but they also can be the future STEM educators who will inspire and motivate generations in years to come.

About the speaker

Cindy Hasselbring is a 16-year veteran teacher of mathematics at Milan High School in Milan, Michigan. She has taught Algebra I, Geometry, Advanced Algebra, FST (Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry), and Advanced Placement Statistics. During that time, she has served as an assistant cross country and track coach for third through twelfth grade boys and girls. Cindy is currently serving her second year as an Einstein Fellow at the National Science Foundation, Education and Human Resources Directorate, Office of the Assistant Director, under the leadership of Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy. Hasselbring earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Cedarville University in 1995 and her Master of Arts in Secondary School Teaching from Eastern Michigan University in 2001. She achieved National Board Certification in the area of Adolescent and Young Adulthood Mathematics in 2002 and successfully renewed her certification in 2011.

In 2005, Hasselbring was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. As a two-time participant in the Toyota International Teacher Program to Japan and Costa Rica (the only teacher nationwide to be selected twice), she brings a multicultural perspective to her mathematics classroom. Hasselbring co-leads the Network of Michigan Educators and has been active in providing training using interactive whiteboards and educational software in her district and at state and national conferences, presenting at the Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference in 2006-08 and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual meeting in 2004-07 and 2009. Hasselbring authored 15 interactive math lessons which are used in a secondary math content pack for RM Education. She served on the PolyVision Advisory Council for the 2011-12 school year and provided input regarding educational technology from a teacher’s perspective.

A three-time, highly qualified applicant and interviewee for NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Program, Hasselbring has been an active member in the NASA Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers (NEAT) for the past seven years; her involvement in this group includes two reduced gravity flights, reviewing NASA grant proposals, viewing three space shuttle launches, and leading NEAT to develop a plan for how this teacher network could be used to impact STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education across the country.

As a passionate, lifelong learner, Cindy continually challenges herself to experience new things. She is SCUBA certified, has taken courses in Japanese and Russian, earned her private pilot’s license and is currently working on her instrument rating. “I believe in modeling being an active learner and taking opportunities to share those experiences and challenges with my students. I am passionate about linking mathematics and science in my classroom, especially using space exploration and aviation, two of my personal interests, as a focus.


  • Name: Ryan Elliott
  • E-mail: relliott@umn.edu
  • Phone: 612-625-8000
  • Sponsored by: College of Science and Engineering, College of Science and Engineering

Disability Options:

To request disability accommodations, please contact the event sponsor.

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