Purdue scientists awarded top government early career award

February 3, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Two Purdue University researchers will receive Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.

Jeff Karpicke

Jeff Karpicke 
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Jeffrey D. Karpicke, James V. Bradley Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences, and Tamara Moore, an associate professor of engineering education, are among the 102 recipients, announced by the White House last month, of the award, which also is known as PECASE. It is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Karpicke, who was nominated by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education, is a cognitive scientist whose research has shown that students who use retrieval practice, which is a form of self-testing, retain the information longer and learn better, compared to students who reread their notes.

"I am honored by this recognition and am appreciative that both the National Science Foundation and Department of Education find value in this research," Karpicke said. "Our goal is to use what we know from the cognitive science of learning to identify best practices for improving student learning."

Last year, Karpicke received a 2012 Faculty Early Career Development award from the NSF. He is using this grant to study how retrieval practice helps undergraduate students learn biology.

"The College of Health and Human Sciences is very proud of the work that Jeff is doing and we are pleased to see him honored once again," said Christine Ladisch, dean of Health and Human Sciences.

Tamara Moore

Tamara Moore 
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Moore was nominated by the NSF for work done at the University of Minnesota. She joined the Purdue faculty last fall. She had been at Minnesota since earning the first doctorate degree from the Purdue School of Engineering Education in 2006. She also has bachelor's degrees in mathematics education and interdisciplinary engineering and a master's in mathematics education from Purdue.

Her research and teaching interests are centered on integrating the STEM fields - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - in K-12 classrooms and earned her a Faculty Early Career Development award. One part looked at different mechanisms of bringing engineering content and standards into the classrooms and led to a framework for quality K-12 engineering education. The second, PictureSTEM, is developing an instructional module at each level from kindergarten through fifth grade that employs engineering and literacy contexts to integrate STEM content in meaningful and significant ways. The modules use picture books and an engineering design challenge to engage students.

"I am humbled and grateful for this honor," Moore said. "My hope is that my research on integrated STEM education will contribute to the development of rich and engaging learning environments that foster deep STEM content understanding for K-12 students."

Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering, said, "We are delighted to have Tamara back at as a member of the engineering education faculty. Her research on integrating STEM education into K-12 classrooms is a perfect fit for Purdue."

Karpicke and Moore will be honored at the White House sometime this year. 

Writers: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu 

Sources: Jeffrey D. Karpicke, 494-0273, karpicke@purdue.edu

Tamara Moore, 765-496-9030, tamara@purdue.edu

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