Lou Charkoudian Awarded NSF Grant
The assistant professor of chemistry is part of a team awarded $75,000 from the National Science Foundation to fund a new educational initiative that will prepare students in STEM fields to persevere through challenges and failures in the classroom and lab.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry Lou Charkoudian ’03 has been awarded a grant from the Research Coordination Network (RCN) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her collaborative proposal “Failure as a Part of Learning, A Mindset Education Network” (FLAMEnet).
Created by Charkoudian and her collaborators, Jen Heemstra of Emory University and Lisa Corwin of the University of Colorado, Boulder, FLAMEnet seeks to bring together STEM instructors, educational researchers, and psychologists to coordinate diversity and inclusivity efforts focused on growth mindset and student response to failure.
"FLAMEnet will create resources to encourage undergraduate students in the sciences to learn and grow from failure experiences,” said Charkoudian. “These resources will be easy to implement by instructors and will be broadly distributed to the public via networking and social media applications. The overarching impact of the proposed activities is to support the preparation of a diverse workforce that is ready to tackle the large, pressing challenges of tomorrow.”
The $75,000 grant will support the development of resources and instructional materials for a wide range of institutional and departmental needs alongside a series of workshop activities to expand the mission of FLAMEnet.
"I am particularly interested in coordinating diversity and inclusions efforts focused on growth mindset and student response to failure,” Charkoudian said. “This is important work because failure is widely accepted as an integral component of STEM research, yet our curriculum rarely takes intentional steps to help students develop the resilience and perseverance they need to cope with and overcome failures. My hope is that this work will help make STEM courses and careers more inclusive.”
Charkoudian is grateful to the Haverford psychology department, particularly Ben Le (member of FLAMEnet), Jen Lilgendahl, and Laura Been, for their support and aid in this new project, and she looks forward to continued collaboration with her colleagues and students alike.
"My students will be involved in this work by providing feedback on, and participating in, the mindset intervention activities,” she said. I’m also eager to engage students interested in discipline-based educational research in the project design in the future.”
Last year Charkoudian was awarded an NSF CAREER grant to fund her research on natural product synthases and related outreach activities, and earlier this year she was named a 2018 Cottrell Scholar, one of only two dozen early career academic scientists to receive this year's honor, which comes with a $100,000 award.