Pictured above: Cindy Bukach with UR junior Aalok Sathe during the 2019 School of Arts & Sciences Symposium.

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Psychology professor Cindy Bukach has been awarded nearly $720,000 from the National Science Foundation for a project focused on preparing undergraduates for research in STEM-related fields.

Through a total of about $2 million of NSF funding, Bukach is leading a team of scientists, including colleagues from Claremont McKenna College and Mount Holyoke, on the cross-school, collaborative project that will improve STEM learning and learning environments by fostering widespread use of evidence-based resources and teaching strategies in undergraduate STEM education.

Bukach, a cognitive neuroscientist and chair of the Department of Psychology, is the lead scientist on the PURSUE project, which stands for Preparing Undergraduates for Research in STEM-Related Fields Using Electrophysiology. Bukach’s area of expertise is cognitive neuroscience.

Main goals of this research project include broadening participation and institutional capacity for STEM learning by facilitating the revision of existing courses and creation of new courses and building the professional STEM workforce for tomorrow by providing students with the training needed to engage in authentic research experiences.

Bukach and her team have been developing course materials, an open access database for faculty to access experiments for hands-on lab exercises, and a website to share best practices and materials for involving undergraduates in research. This new award will fund faculty workshops to facilitate broad implementation and revision of the materials.

“This Level II award will build on the work our team accomplished in Level I and will train faculty from across the country on collaborative course design, inclusive pedagogy, and how to adapt the materials we’ve created for their particular needs,” Bukach said.

Bukach, who has taught at Richmond since 2006, has received NSF funding in the past to advance her work on undergraduate research education.

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The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science, advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare, and to secure the national defense. NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.

Grant At-A-Glance

Psychology professor Cindy Bukach has been awarded $719,895 from the National Science Foundation for “Collaborative Research: Level II Preparing Undergraduates for Research in Stem-related fields Using Electrophysiology.” Buckach is directing this cross-school, collaborative project, which has been awarded a total of about  $2 million through the NSF’s Engaged Student Learning, Development and Implementation Level 2 award for five years.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Chair, Department of Psychology
Object recognition
Cognitive and neural mechanisms of the development and loss of perceptual expertise across the
lifespan
Organization of semantic knowledge
Category specificity in cognitively intact and impaired individuals
Face recognition