Sandra K. Abell Institute for Doctoral Students

June 2-6, 2019

The Tennessee STEM Education Center at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is excited to host the biannual 2019 Sanda K. Abell Institute for Doctoral Students to be held June 2-6 on the campus of MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN. The institute is sponsored by NARST (National Association for Research in Science Teaching), a worldwide organization of professionals committed to the improvement of science teaching and learning through research. This years’ theme will be Science Education Research in Disciplinary Contexts. We have chosen this theme in order to foster a broader dialogue between young and established scholars in the fields of science education research community and discipline-based education researchers.

Applications for doctoral students are closed. Mentorship applications are now closed.

attending 2019 scholars can pay registration fees using the link below.

Registration Payment

Mentorship Information

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Mentor for the Institute. Please fill out the application in the link below to the best of your ability. The due date for completion is February 15, 2019. Funding for travel and a small stipend will be provided.

Although we invite faculty at any point in their careers to apply we will give preference to those who have: Experience mentoring doctoral students, experience in conducting education research within disciplinary contexts, and a successful record of publication. Finally, we are selecting doctoral participants first and plan to do our best to select mentors that will provide appropriate expertise for selected doctoral student participants. 

Mentorship applications are now closed. 

Who should apply?

The purpose of the Institute is to bring together a focused and dedicated group of doctoral student scholars in science education who: have completed their basic graduate-level coursework, have a clear idea of the direction of their dissertation project, have some initial data, want to discuss and refine aspects of their project, want to network with various experienced mentors, and have an interest in how a specific science discipline (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc.) impacts their scholarship. The Institute is selective and is limited to 24 graduate students and 8 research mentors. Applications for doctoral students are now closed. 

Costs and Fees: $150, covering housing, most meals, and conference materials.
Grants for Attendance: Up to four travel grants in the amount of $750 are available in cases of financial need.

Selection Criteria

In addition to the description provided above, applicants will be asked to commit to the proposed Institute date, provide a professional biosketch, provide a description of the current state of their dissertation research, and provide a description of what specific aspects of their dissertation they hope to improve through participation in the Institute. All participants will be expected to develop a conference proposal to be submitted to a special section of the upcoming 2020 NARST conference.

Organizing Committee

The program will be organized by the MTSU Tennessee STEM Education Center (TSEC) Director and Professor of Chemistry Education, Dr. Gregory Rushton; MTSU Assistant Professor of Biology Education, Dr. Grant Gardner; and University of Georgia Associate Professor of Science Education, Dr. Julie Luft. Former Abell Institute participants, Dr. Anna Grinath (Assistant Professor, Biology Education) and Joshua Reid (Doctoral Candidate, Biology Education) are also part of the organizational committee. MTSU’s Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Mathematics and Science Education has approximately 30 faculty with expertise in the intersection of disciplinary content and education research methods who will assist in implementing the program. Mentors will be selected from both established researchers as well as early career scholars who are thinking about the intersection of science education and disciplinary content.


Additional Location Information

Middle Tennessee State University is the second largest undergraduate-serving institution in the state of Tennessee conveniently located in a central geographic region of the United States. The region is home to the unique cedar glade ecosystem as well as a numerous geological features. MTSU is the location of the Tennessee STEM Education Center and the Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Science Education Ph.D. program possessing over 30 full-time or affiliate faculty researchers in Biology Education, Chemistry Education, and Interdisciplinary STEM Education. The Institute will be held primarily in the brand-new, state-of-the art Science Building. Murfreesboro itself is one of the top 15 fastest growing cities in the United States and is located approximately twenty miles southeast of metropolitan Nashville.  

Tennessee STEM Education Center

820 Fairview Ave,
Suite 102
MTSU PO Box 82
Murfreesboro, TN 37132