Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity

Current Research

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 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. In addition to serving as the evaluator of the BRAINS program, CERSE also works with the BRAINS leadership team to conduct and publish research.

Selected Publications

Margherio, C., Horner-Devine, M. C., Mizumori, S. J., & Yen, J. W. (2020). Connecting counterspaces and community cultural wealth in a professional development program. Race Ethnicity and Education, 1-21.

Horner-Devine, M.C., Gonsalves, T., Margherio, C., Mizumori, S.J., and Yen, J.W. (2018). Beyond hierarchical one-on-one mentoring. Science, 362(6414), 532-532.

Horner-Devine, M.C., Margherio, C., . Mizumori, S. J.Y, and Yen, J. W. (2017). Peer Mentoring Circles: A strategy for thriving in science. Web blog post. BioMed Central blog. BioMed Central, 18 May 2017. Retrieved from

Yen, J. W., Horner-Devine, M.C., Margherio, C., and Mizumori, S. J.Y. (2017). The BRAINS Program: Transforming Career Development to Advance Diversity and Equity in Neuroscience. Neuron 94(3): 426-430. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.03.049

Margherio, C., Horner-Devine, M.C., Mizumori, S. J.Y., and Yen, J. W. (2016). Learning to Thrive: Building diverse scientists’ access to community and resources through the BRAINS Program. CBE—Life Sciences Education 15(3): ar49. DOI: 10.1187/cbe.16-01-0058


Louis Stokes STEM Pathways and Research Alliance: Pacific Northwest

As part of an NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) grant, Emily Knaphus-Soran and Liz Litzler will lead a five-year research effort in collaboration with educational researchers at Boise State University (BSU), Oregon State University (OSU), Portland State University (PSU), and Washington State University (WSU). Our research takes an assets-based and intersectional approach, examining factors that contribute to persistence in STEM among systemically marginalized students. The project is multifaceted, including a multi-year, mixed-methods study conducted by CERSE, as well as four “sprint studies” conducted by researchers at BSU, OSU, PSU, and WSU. Each year-long sprint study will focus on the needs and experiences of students on one PNW LSAMP campus, contributing to a nuanced understanding of sense of belonging for systemically marginalized students in STEM. As part of the project, CERSE will also lead research-to-action forums that will result in actionable student-informed improvements to university programs across the alliance.


RED Participatory Action Research (REDPAR)

Funded through three NSF grants, this collaborative research project focuses on faculty change agents who are engaged in making change on their campuses through the NSF Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments (RED) Program. NSF has thus far awarded 22 of these five-year, $2 million RED grants to engineering or computer science departments from 2015 through 2019.

REDPAR (RED Participatory Action Research) is a collaborative project between Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and UW CERSE. The Rose-Hulman portion of our team draws upon their extensive experience in the Making Academic Change Happen (MACH) program, a faculty development initiative that supports the work of change leaders in many different contexts, to provide training and support to RED awardees and facilitate consortium-level activities. UW CERSE is qualitatively investigating the work of the RED teams, through observation of all consortium-level activities and facilitation of focus group discussions among the RED teams. From this research, we are developing tip sheets that highlight the skills required to promote change in STEM; these tip sheets serve as informative resources for faculty and administrators who wish to make significant change on their campuses.

All Current REDPAR Tip Sheets (n=8)

REDPAR Leadership Succession Tip Sheet

REDPAR Starting Change Tip Sheet

REDPAR Communication Tip Sheet

REDPAR Partnerships Tip Sheet

REDPAR Shared Vision Tip Sheet

REDPAR Developing Teams Tip Sheet

REDPAR Communities of Practice Tip Sheet

REDPAR Resource Mobilization Tip Sheet

Selected Publications

Doten-Snitker, K., Margherio, C., Litzler, E., Ingram, E., & Williams, J. (2021). Developing a Shared Vision for Change: Moving toward Inclusive Empowerment. Research in Higher Education 62, 206-229. DOI: 10.1007/s11162-020-09594-9

Margherio, C., Swan, A.L., Williams, J., Andrijcic, E., Mohan, S., and Litzler, E. (2021). Unified voice and group agency: Developing teams to transform engineering education. Proceedings of the 2021 American Society for Engineering Education Conference.

Margherio, C., Doten-Snitker, K., Williams, J., Litzler, E., Andrijcic, E., & Mohan, S. (2020). Cultivating strategic partnerships to transform STEM education. K. White, A. Beach, N. Finkelstein, C. Henderson, S. Simkins, L. Slakey, M. Stains, G. Weaver, & L. Whitehead (Eds.), Transforming Institutions: Accelerating systemic change in higher education (pp.177-188). Pressbooks.

Margherio, C., Doten-Snitker, K., Litzler, E., Williams, J., Andrijcic, E., & Mohan, S. (2019). Building your dream team for change. Proceedings of the 2019 American Society for Engineering Education Conference.

Ingram, E.L., Litzler, E., Margherio, C.L., Doten-Snitker, K., Williams, J.M. (2018). The Researcher/Practitioner Strategic Partnership: Linking Theory and Practice for Change in Engineering and Computer Science Education. Proceedings of the 2018 American Society for Engineering Education Conference.

Ingram, E.L., Litzler, E. Margherio, C., & Williams, J.M. (2017). Learning to Make Change by Revolutionizing Departments: Initial Team Experiences. Proceedings of the 2017 American Society for Engineering Education Conference.

London, J., Berger, E. Margherio, C., Branstad, J. & Litzler, E. (2017). The RED Teams as Institutional Mentors:  Advice from the First Year of the “Revolution”. Proceedings of the 2017 American Society for Engineering Education Conference.