Periscope Lab Research

Our vision is to break down barriers that are discouraging creative, intelligent people from pursuing engineering and computing degrees. We need new and diverse ideas to solve today’s grand challenges, but academic barriers, such as learning to program, and social barriers, such as stereotypes, work against engineering recruitment and retention efforts.

We conduct research on writing to improve processes for learning to program.
By making thinking visible, writing supports feedback and assessment mechanisms for programming instructors, enables metacognition for students in programming courses, and facilitates collaboration between team members coding different portions of software. Prior programming writing efforts focus on source code documentation, but we focus on writing as communication to improve instructional processes for learning to program.

We conduct research on real-time data analysis to inform instruction.
How can computing and digital devices can broadly support engineering education? From immersive virtual reality headsets to wearable sensors, we consider the ways that digital systems can provide real-time feedback and be relevant for virtual classrooms in both workforce training and traditional academic contexts.

We conduct research to broaden participation in engineering and computing.
What are the lasting impacts that K-12 outreach, engineering courses, purposeful community building, and other support structures have on graduation outcomes for all students? And how can these systems be used to counter stereotypes and increase the number of women and minority students earning engineering degrees?

Current Projects

Recruiting More U.S. Women into Engineering Based on Stories from Morocco

Culture Project

Funding: National Science Foundation Award #1927125

We are exploring cultural influences that impact whether men and women pursue engineering degrees. We are uncovering hidden messages that permeate two cultures to understand how we can broaden participation of people are not currently considering engineering as a viable career pathway. Our exploratory qualitative case study uses the combined frameworks of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension Theory and Eccles’ Expectancy-Value Theory.

Team Members: Dr. Rani Sullivan (PI), Dr. Jean Mohammadi-Aragh (Co-PI), Soundouss Sassi


3D Weather Analysis and Visualization

Culture Project
Funding: National Science Foundation Award #1934194

The 3D Weather Analysis and Visualization (3D Weather) project is creating a contextual framework to support teaching computational thinking skills in 4th-12th grade science classes. Computational thinking refers to a set of skills necessary to conceptualize data and solve problems with a computer. While rooted in computer science, the skills are general enough to be useful to all professionals in design and problem-solving fields, including engineering.

Team Members: Dr. Yan Sun (PI), Dr. Jean Mohammadi-Aragh (Co-PI), Dr. Jamie Dyer (Co-PI), Jonathan Harris (Co-PI)
Periscope Lab Students: Chase Robinson

News: MSU Receives Grant for Stem Education

Past Projects

Understanding Engineering Pathways and their Impact on Community and Identity

Culture Project
Funding: National Science Foundation Award #1664264

In collaboration with Dr. Rachel Kajfez and the RIME Collaborative at The Ohio State University, the “Pathways” project, is exploring how the choices made in first-year engineering (FYE) programs impact the community and identity development of students who have taken different pathways (for example, transfer students, regional campus students, etc) to and through their engineering degree. This is a multi-phased project that includes a three part student survey, longitudinal interviews, and focus groups with faculty and teaching assistants regarding community development during the first year.

Team Members: Dr. Jean Mohammadi-Aragh (PI)
Periscope Lab Students: Soundouss Sassi, Shaylin Williams