Michigan State University ISEE Chapter

The Michigan State University (MSU) ISEE Chapter began in 2014, initially focused on astronomy and physics, but recently has expanded into the Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering department in 2017.  The chapter liaisons, Devin Silvia (Teaching Specialist in the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, CMSE) and Saul Beceiro Novo (Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy; Cyclotron; Physics Education & Outreach), are both previous participants and instructors of ISEE’s Professional Development Program (PDP).  In 2017, they hosted the MSU Design Institute for MSU, Boulder, and New York City teaching teams. 

Opportunities to participate in ISEE’s Professional Development Program

The Professional Development Program (PDP) aims to advance leaders in effective and inclusive STEM education through a suite of workshops organized into two intensives, a practical teaching experience, and reflection on what was learned.

Graduate students from Michigan State University in astronomy, physics, or CMSE fields can apply to participate in the PDP through this chapter.   Graduate students and postdocs at Michigan State University can apply for PDP fee waivers and travel support from ISEE (via PDP application), which is available through this chapter’s participation in the Advancing Inclusive Leaders in Astronomy project funded by the National Science Foundation (AST#17431117) and supports participants in astronomy and physics fields. Applicants are encouraged to secure some of their own institutional or grant funding, which will increase likelihood of acceptance and financial support from ISEE.

More information on applying to the PDP. Application for new and returning participants is now open! See link for upcoming deadlines.

Recent MSU ISEE PDP participants and teaching activities

PDP 2020 participants will likely teach in the physics lab for non-majors and the CMSE course from previous years, but there are possibilities to teach in REU PREP courses as well.


  • Philipp Grete (lead, MSU Postdoc, Physics & Astronomy) led a team with Rachel Frisbie (MSU, CMSE) and Forrest Glines (MSU, Physics & Astronomy) who designed and taught an activity in an MSU REU PREP course in which learners used a distributed version control system (git) and the features of that system (e.g., branches, forks, pull requests, issue tracking) to create and design a sustainable collaborative software development environment. Students gained experience with the practice of designing solutions within requirements.


  • Adam Jacobs (lead, MSU, physics) led a team with Mallory Smith (MSU, NSCL), Justin Grace (MSU, astrophysics and CMSE), and Philipp Grete (MSU, astrophysics and CMSE) who designed and taught an activity in an introductory CMSE course in which students computationally solved for and described the evolution of a system with an ODE model, and implemented algorithms.
  • Kristen Dage (MSU, astrophysics) was a team member on a team that taught at the University of South Carolina led by Austin Barnes (ISEE) in which students developed a detailed conceptual model of an exoplanetary system using lightcurves of stars, and developed and used models to infer properties of a physical system.


  • Saul Beceiro Novo (MSU, physics & National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory - NSCL) led a team with Adam Jacobs (MSU, physics) and MacKenzie Warren (MSU, astrophysics) who designed a taught an activity in an MSU physics lab for non-majors for students to understand and quantify measurement uncertainties while gaining experience designing and refining experiments.  This builds from a similar activity in 2016, also led by Saul Beceiro Novo, with Kelsey Funkhouser (MSU, Physics Education Research Lab), Juan Manfredi (MSU, physics & NSCL), and David Perez Loureiro (MSU, NSCL).
  • Devin Silvia, MSU, CMSE) led a team with Austin Edmister (MSU, astronomy) and Nate Watwood (MSU, physics) to design and teach an activity for an introduction to computational science course about forecasting the evolution of time-dependent, continuous systems using the computational numerical discretization and getting experience building algorithms

MSU PDP alumni from 2014-2016 include Juan Manfredi (2016), Kelsey Funkhouser (2016), David Perez Loureiro (2016, 2015), Michael Bennett (2015), Alana Pawlak (2015, 2014), and Tom Finzell (2015, 2014).

Graduate students and postdocs affiliated with MSU who are interested in applying to the PDP should contact the MSU ISEE Chapter Leads:

Devin Silvia (dsilvia@msu.edu)

Saul Beceiro Novo (beceiro@msu.edu).

Others in the region interested in applying to the PDP (including junior faculty at any of the institutions above), or seeking general information about ISEE, should contact the ISEE program manager in charge of this chapter, Cynthia Nelly Carrión: ccarrion@ucsc.edu