About the Institute

The purpose of the Research and Innovation in STEAM Education Institute (RISE Institute) is to recognize, strengthen, and encourage collaboration in STEAM education pedagogy through fundamental and discipline based education research (DBER), and to establish Michigan Technological University as a leader in Michigan, the nation, and the world in the area of STEAM education research. The RISE Institute is aligned with the vision for Centers and Institutes on the Michigan Tech campus, which is to help to promote interdisciplinary work that involves faculty from several different departments on and off campus.

  • Culture: The RISE Institute promotes a culture that values teamwork and collaboration, and recognizes all contributions of faculty, staff, and students to meet our mission. To facilitate this culture, the RISE Institute provides support to the University community through programming directed towards implementation of outreach, scholarship and educational research. We acknowledge, respect and promote the importance of diversity and equity in an inclusive environment.
  • Vision: A collaborative, interdisciplinary community fostering excellent and inclusive STEAM opportunities for all.


Mission Statement

Maintain a robust and diverse community of stakeholders at Michigan Tech, who will serve as the bridge from proposal preparation and submission through empirical activities to outreach and dissemination by engaging in the following activities:

  • Serve the research and scholarship activities of the community of educational researchers at Michigan Tech
  • Build capacity and diversity in STEAM disciplines through networking, scholarly pursuits and interdisciplinary research related to innovative pedagogy, transformative learning, and cutting-edge teaching and learning practices
  • Maximize inter-department collaboration to eliminate program duplication, enabling effective use of resources while maximizing the impact made on the Michigan Tech community



  • Professor and Chair, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Affiliated Professor, Cognitive and Learning Sciences
  • Director, Research and Innovation in STEAM Education Institute (RISE)

Research Interests

  • Problem-based learning methods applied in the areas of CAD/CAM
  • Static and dynamic model simulation
  • Product and manufacturing work cell verification

Teaching Interests

  • Parametric Modeling
  • Statics and Strength of Materials
  • Product Design and Development
  • CAE and FEA Methods
  • Computer-aided Manufacturing
  • Senior Design

Executive Committee

Cassy Tefft de Muñoz

Cassy Tefft de Muñoz

  • Executive Director, Enrollment Initiatives
  • Associate Professor of Psychology, Cognitive and Learning Sciences

Research Interests

  • Motivation Science
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Impact of Values on Behavior
  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Individual Differences in STEM Learning
Amanda Gonczi

Amanda Gonczi

  • Associate Research Scientist, Great Lakes Research Center
  • Instructor, Cognitive and Learning Sciences
  • Director of Research and Evaluation, Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform

Areas of Expertise 

  • Design and implementation of professional development for K-12 and undergraduate STEM teachers
  • K-12 STEM education research 
  • Program evaluation 

Amanda's CV

Research Interests

  • Instructional practices that support environmental literacy and stewardship
  • Integration of computing into STEM education
  • Teachers beliefs about reforms-based science instruction including nature of science, inquiry, engineering, Next Generation Science Standards, and technology integration
  • Professional development elements (remote and face-to-face) that support instructional change, teacher leadership and reforms-based science instruction
  • Using levels of inquiry to support teachers' understanding and integration of mathematical and scientific inquiry in k-12 education
  • Teachers' understandings regarding key concepts in science including respiration and photosynthesis