Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity

Projects for Faculty & Post Docs

Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroSciences (BRAINS)


Funded by the National Institutes of Health, BRAINS (Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroSciences) is a national program to accelerate and improve the career advancement of neuroscience postdoctoral researchers and assistant professors from underrepresented groups. The BRAINS program goal is to increase engagement and retention of academic early-career neuroscientists from underrepresented groups by reducing isolation; providing tips, tools, and skills development to prepare for tenure track success; and increasing career self-efficacy. This goal is being met via a variety of activities: A) a national symposia; B) webinars; C) peer-mentoring circles; and D) continuous career invention teams. CERSE serves as the evaluator of the BRAINS program. Evaluation data from the first two cohorts shows that BRAINS participants become more dedicated to their scientific careers, better able to direct their careers, and more likely to achieve success in academic neurosciences.

Selected Publications

See Research.


Dr. Sapna Cheryan’s NSF EHR Core Research (ECR)

CERSE is collaborating with Dr. Sapna Cheryan at the University of Washington to investigate whether cultural beliefs, and the stability of academic interest contributes to gender gaps in computer science. CERSE evaluates the research progress and focus, and collaboratively developed a high-level logic model that relates the proposed research studies to the intended outcomes. We also make yearly quantitative assessments of the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the research published from this grant.


Aspire INCLUDES Alliance 

The NSF Eddie Bernice Johnson Aspire Alliance is developing inclusive and diverse STEM faculty across the nation. The Alliance works through three change teams (Institutional Change, National Change, and Regional Change) to achieve three goals: deepen the preparation of STEM faculty be inclusive and effective in their teaching, mentoring and advising, diversify the faculty, and foster institutional cultures that recognize and value inclusivity and diversity.  CERSE has been working on all parts of the Alliance’s evaluation. 


Identifying Marginalization and Allying Tendencies to Transform Engineering Relationships (I-MATTER) 

The goal of the NSF-funded I-MATTER project at Purdue University is to develop a theoretically and empirically grounded framework and tool to help instructors of large classrooms identify teams engaging in marginalizing behaviors. Findings from this research will be incorporated into an observation tool for instructors of large classes, and into a modification of a web-hosted instrument called CATME which measures behaviors necessary for effective team functioning. CERSE is providing formative and summative evaluation through annual faculty interviews, annual logic model reviews, regular consultation, and bibliometric tracking.