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Department of Engineering and Science Education


Research in STEM Education

The research interests and projects of our faculty cover a broad range of endeavors in STEM Education. The below research group descriptions provide a glimpse into the breadth and depth of this cutting-edge research going on right now in the Engineering and Science Education Department here at Clemson.

The Research groups, although distinct to some extent, are constantly blurred and highly overlapping and interdisciplinary, as you will see by digging deeper into the areas and the work underlying them.

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Lisa BensonBenson Group

Lisa Benson

The Benson research group focuses on the interaction between student motivation and learning in engineering, science, and mathematics to promote effective educational experiences for diverse learners. This important nexus has led to projects related to undergraduate student identity, students’ epistemic beliefs and practices, student self-efficacy in mathematics, student interest in engineering and science, and the development of student problem-solving and self-regulated learning skills.

Eliza GallagherGallagher Group

Eliza Gallagher

The Gallagher group's research interests include broadening participation by examining the factors associated with major selection and mathematics placement among populations historically underrepresented in STEM. Particular focus is on rural students, first-generation students, students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds, LGBTQ students, and racially minoritized students. Another core component is the development of instructional identity among mathematics graduate students.

Karen HighHigh Group

Karen High

The High group research emphasis includes STEM faculty and graduate student development as well as enhancing student success in calculus. The group focuses on faculty well-being, graduate student professional development, the effects of mentoring on faculty productivity and teaching STEM online. For calculus student success, she studies the impact of various teaching modalities on students, math anxiety, transfer student success, and the impact of COVID on math learning and teaching.

Kelly LazarLazar Group

Kelly Lazar

The Lazar group research focuses on the development of scientific interest in undergraduate students through unique experiences and technologies in geoscience education. This includes best practices for virtual reality to allow students to explore the planet, making science more accessible, and designing field experiences to increase student interest in field sciences. Collaborative work aims to empower students to become enthusiastic and effective science communicators.

Marisa OrrOrr Group

Marisa Orr

The Orr group's research interests include understanding and enhancing the ways students make decisions about their major and daily study habits from the perspective of self-regulated decision-making theory, as well as using institutional data to study curricular progress and pathways. She is particularly interested in the way these pathways vary by race, gender, socioeconomic status, and engineering discipline.

Matthew VoigtVoigt Group

Matthew Voigt

The Voigt research group's lab interests center around issues of equity, access, and power structures occurring in undergraduate STEM programs with a focus on introductory mathematics courses. This group examines ways to Achieve Critical Transformations in Undergraduate Programs (ACT UP). The group is currently examining the experiences of sexually minoritized (LGBTQIA+) undergraduate STEM students, department culture and systemic change and programs to support diversity, and the role of technology in broadening participation by infusing culturally relevant pedagogy.

collage of student research

What kind of research do students pursue?

  • Student Perceptions of Learning in Cooperative Education Experiences, An Embedded Mixed Methods Study
  • Women Engineering Faculty Well-Being: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
  • Cognitive Processes in Undergraduate Anatomy and Physiology Courses
  • Exploring Underrepresented Doctoral Students' Conceptualizations of the Student-Advisor Relationship in Chemistry
  • The Effects of Mathematics Placement on Successful Completion of an Engineering Degree and How One Student Beats the Odds
  • Argument as a Context to Understand Students' Biology Epistemology
Katherine profile

“The ESED department gave me the tools to take my curiosities and turn them into research ideas. They provided a strong research background and supported my disciplinary inquiry.”

Katherine Ehlert
ESED '20