Skip to main content

Students Discover

The overarching goal of the Students Discover project is to use the pathway of Citizen Science to improve STEM education in middle school by developing a model for engaging students in doing real science and inspiring teachers through mentorships with practicing scientists. Real research experiences are key to educational development of students. Funded by the National Science Foundation, Students Discover builds on existing citizen science projects developed in collaboration between the Department of Biology at NC State University and the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

As one of seven partner organizations involved in the Students Discover project, the Friday Institute’s role is to examine a process for moving collaborations between scientists and teachers and the resulting citizen science projects from the ideal “greenhouse” settings in which they are piloted to a variety of schools and community-based settings where conditions for success may be less favorable. Our scale research identifies contextual variations where the citizen science projects are implemented and examines processes for evolving the design of projects to increase their effectiveness under varying circumstances. For the original project announcement and additional links, visit

Learn More


  • National Science Foundation National Science Foundation
  • Partners

  • Department of Biology Department of Biology
  • Kenan Fellows Program Kenan Fellows Program
  • Nature Research Center Nature Research Center
  • Teams

  • Program Evaluation and Education Research (PEER) Group Program Evaluation and Education Research (PEER) Group
  • Selected Resources

    Case Study – A Shift in Scientific Identities: How Teacher-Scientist Partnerships Can Impact Middle School Teachers’ Science Teaching and Instruction

    Following the push to improve science literacy and implement science education programs in the 1970s, organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have worked fervently to develop programs aimed at reforming science education and increasing science literacy among America’s students. The emergence of teacher-scientist partnerships in K-12 classrooms has proven influential in broadening teachers’ content knowledge, understanding of scientific inquiry, and increasing teachers’ confidence in their abilities to teach science. Unfortunately, research exploring how these partnerships impact teachers’ identities, in general, and teachers’ self-efficacy, pedagogical practices, and identities as scientists, more specifically, has remained limited.

    Project Team

    Dr Jenifer O'Sullivan Corn Dr Jenifer O’Sullivan Corn

    No Photo Available Prof Rob R Dunn

    Dr Callie Womble Edwards Dr Callie Womble Edwards

    Malinda Musacchia Faber Malinda Musacchia Faber

    Dr Sharon Booth Freeman Dr Sharon Booth Freeman

    Dr Jose A Picart Dr Jose A Picart

    No Photo Available Dr Terrance R Ruth

    Dr LaTricia Walker Townsend Dr LaTricia Walker Townsend