The purpose of this project is to design, study, and evaluate a model afterschool program in which fourth and fifth grade boys work with UH undergraduate STEM majors to learn about engineering. The research on the program has two broad purposes: First, to study the participants (i.e., elementary school students, undergraduate mentors, undergraduate pre-service teachers, and male relatives), and second to evaluate the implementation and impact of the program on the elementary students.

Award Number 1760311 (ITEST-Innovative Technology Experiences for Students)


Research Team

hendersonPI: Dr. Jerrod A Henderson, University of Houston (jahende6 [at] Central.UH.EDU)

Dr. Jerrod A. Henderson (”Dr. J”) is an Instructional Assistant Professor in the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston. He joined the University of Houston after six years as a chemical engineering faculty member at the University of Illinois. He has dedicated his career to increasing the number of students who are in the pipeline to pursue STEM careers. He believes that exposing students to STEM early will have a lasting impact upon their lives and academic pursuits. He is the co-founder of the St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy (SEBA). SEBA is an educational intervention aimed at exposing underrepresented fourth and fifth grade boys to hands-on, inquiry based STEM experiments and activities. Henderson is a part of the first year engineering experience team and he was recently appointed by the Dean of the College as the Director of the Program for Mastery in Engineering Studies (PROMES), a program aimed at increasing engineering student achievement, engagement, and graduation rates. His research interests are in engineering identity formation and persistence among underrepresented students, especially African American males. He was most recently recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine as an Inspiring STEM Leader Award recipient.


manuelCo-PI: Prof. Mariam Manuel, University of Houston (mamanuel [at] Central.UH.EDU)

Mariam Manuel is a graduate of the University of Houston’s TeachHouston program and the UTeach Engineering Master’s program at the University of Texas at Austin. In Spring 2016, Mariam returned to the University of Houston to serve as an Instructional Assistant Professor / Master Teacher for teach-HOUSTON. In this role, Mariam is charged with teaching and inspiring the next generation of high-quality math and science teachers through inquiry-based instruction and ongoing field experiences. Mariam also teaches Physics 4345 (Physics for Pre-Service Teachers), a course that connects middle school physics state standards with content knowledge and instructional strategies that are designed to enhance student learning. Mariam is also the one of the writers and instructors for the Preparing for AP Physics I Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), offered through the University of Houston. The MOOC has served over 10,000 students in more than 110 different countries.

Mariam previously served as the Instructional Specialist for the Robert Shaw Center for STEAM in the Katy Independent School District (KISD). She was responsible for implementing STEAM curriculum, instruction, and projects appropriate for K-12 students. Additionally, Mariam has taught both on-level and AP Physics I (formerly known as Pre-AP Physics) and played an integral role in writing the district physics curriculum consisting of rigorous labs, activities, and projects. Mariam fills the role of Alumni Representative on the UTeach STEM Educators Association (USEA) Board and was also elected Secretary-Treasurer. She is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. in STEM education at Texas Tech University.


rangelInternal Evaluator: Dr. Virginia Snodgrass Rangel, University of Houston (vrangel4 [at] Central.UH.EDU)

Virginia Snodgrass Rangel, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Houston, where she teaches courses on program evaluation, research design, and quantitative research methods. Her research interests include STEM education, reentry of justice-involved youth, policy implementation and evaluation, and program evaluation.


martinezGraduate Research Assistant: Chelsea Martinez, University of Houston

Chelsea Martinez is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Houston, where she studies college access, early college high school programs and non-traditional student resources. Her prior work experiences include college access counseling at the high school level and college recruitment and substitute teaching.


greerProgram Manager: Mr. Rick Greer, University of Houston (rpgreer [at]

Rick Greer graduated from Tuskegee University with a bachelor’s in History. He went on to work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a community outreach specialist & unit operations laboratory manager. Mr. Greer is also a co-founder of St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy (SEBA). Currently, Mr. Greer has enrolled in the Higher Education M. Ed program at the University of Houston. His research interests include STEM education, STEM identity development and disability services. Mr. Greer’s thesis research investigates STEM identity development in Black college males in engineering.