Alum earns national award for advancing equity in STEM education

March 14, 2024

Angela Calabrese Barton, a distinguished scholar and alum of the college’s Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education (CITE) Ph.D. program, is a recipient of the 2024 NARST Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research Award.

Angela Calabrese Barton, a 1995 graduate of the college’s Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education (CITE) Ph.D program.

The prestigious award recognizes an individual who, through research over an extended period, has made outstanding and continuing contributions, provided notable leadership and made a substantial impact in science education.

“The college proudly congratulates Dr. Angela Calabrese Barton on receiving this award,” said Dean and MSU Research Foundation Professor Jerlando F. L. Jackson. “Dr. Calabrese Barton’s pioneering work in integrating social justice into science, technology, engineering and mathematics education exemplifies the transformative impact of our alumni in shaping equitable and inclusive learning environments for all.”

Calabrese Barton, who serves as chair and professor of Educational Studies at the Marsal Family School of Education (University of Michigan), is known for her work on the integration of social justice in STEM education. She has authored eight books and spent over 30 years working alongside families, school districts and communities to collaboratively address issues related to systemic injustices in the classroom.

“Much of the research in STEM education that explores issues of equity examines access and opportunity. However, we know through more critically oriented studies, that it is much more complex than that,” said Calabrese Barton, when reflecting on what fuels her passion for research. “Systemic racism and other forms of oppression have shaped schooling in ways that marginalize young people of color and have limited opportunities for their cultural knowledge, practice and wisdom to be leveraged as powerful resources in teaching and learning.”

Calabrese Barton’s Spartan journey

Calabrese Barton was attracted to the Michigan State University College of Education in 1991 due to the innovative community-engaged approach that defines her academic philosophy.

“There were so many faculty who were engaged in school-based, on-the-ground research that deeply explored issues of practice in classrooms and in schools,” she said. “I am very interested in that intersection of teaching and learning, so working side by side with teachers and young people in schools was a profound way to think about the bigger issues in education.”

Formal recognition

Renowned scholar Okhee Lee, a Ph.D. graduate of the college’s Educational Psychology program, and 2023 recipient of the NARST DCRA nominated Calabrese Barton.

Calabrese Barton will be recognized at the annual NARST conference in Denver, Colorado in March 2024.