NatSci nets S3 collaborative program funds for 2016-17

  • Dec 16, 2016
  • Faculty & Staff, Research, CREATE for STEM, EES, Physics & Astronomy

The MSU College of Natural Science (NatSci) has team members participating on three of the 12 new research projects recently funded by the Science and Society at State (S3) Collaborative Grant Program for 2016-17.

S3 was created in 2014 to promote interdisciplinary research, grants and education at Michigan State University. Each funded project includes at least one MSU STEM faculty member or health professional and at least one MSU science studies (studies of science using methods and scholarship from the humanities and/or social sciences) faculty member.

“In just three years, S3 has been incredibly successful in supporting interdisciplinary scholars at MSU by providing grants to support the development of new projects with the goal of generating competitive external grant applications and increased visibility for MSU as a site for innovative and interdisciplinary research,” said Georgina M. Montgomery, S3 director.

The three projects with NatSci participation are:

  • photographer and students in wetlands

    Integrating indigenous approaches to science and technology.

    Tribal Environmental Governance and Environmental Science – While science and technology studies scholars have studied the contributions of indigenous people to critiques of western science, indigenous peoples themselves have had both little voice in expressing these views and little success at integrating indigenous knowledge systems into mainstream western scientific paradigms. Consequently, this project aims to explore indigenous approaches to science and technology based on the work that tribal governments already do regarding environmental protection and climate change planning. Team members: Julie Libarkin (College of Natural Science) and Kyle Whyte (College of Arts and Letters/College of Agriculture and Natural Resources), team leader.
  • high school students in class

    Integrating computational science into high school science courses.

    Integrating Equitable Computational Science into High School Science Courses – Historically, computational science and science classes in K- 12 education are taught in separate contexts. This team will develop a research practice partnership (RPP) with a local school district (East Lansing Public Schools) to integrate computational science into science courses offered at the high school. Such integration faces difficulty given that certain groups—particularly those differentiated along racial, class and gendered lines—remain precluded from participating in computational science practices. Team members: Danny Cabellero (College of Natural Science); David Stroupe (College of Education), team leader; and Niral Shah (College of Education).
  • infographic

    Collecting and analyzing data that bridges physics and biology.

    Vital Signs: Bridging & Democratizing Physics – The IOLab is an inexpensive device that has 11 built-in sensors that can measure such phenomena as body movement, sound and temperature. The Lyman Briggs studio physics course checks out an IOLab to each student, allowing students to collect data not only outside the classroom, but from their own bodies. This project aims to develop robust add-on devices that allow the IOLab to record electrocardiograms (ECG) and conduct pulmonary function tests (lung capacity and flow rate). Students can then critically examine the ethical, social, biological and technical dimensions of measuring the human body while collecting and analyzing data that bridges the disciplines of physics and biology. Team members: Abhilash Nair (College of Natural Science), team leader; Vashti Sawtelle (Lyman Briggs College & College of Natural Science); and Isaac Record (Lyman Briggs College).

Since 2014, S3 has awarded 34 grants that promote interdisciplinary scholarship on campus with the goal of supporting new collaborations seeking external grant opportunities. The program provides around $10,000 worth of seed money per project.

For a complete list of S3 funded projects for 2016-17, visit

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