Dr. Queshonda Kudaisi receives VPRI SEED Grant

Dr. Queshonda Kudaisi, an assistant professor in the College of education, is a recent recipient of the VPRI SEED grant. Her work is directed toward positively impacting Black and Brown students in the STEM field. Kudaisi’s technique re-routes mathematical problems back to social injustices and issues within our culture. The grant is given by the Division of Research and Innovation to help faculty members jumpstart their research.

“I've just been working so hard to get the proposal together and to get it submitted. When I found out I got it, I was super excited,” Kudaisi said. 

Kudaisi’s ENGINE project stands for environmental science and geometry in natural environments. The goal of the project is to investigate how this innovative approach to STEM education within a summer camp can empower underrepresented students to develop positive self identities, participate in the STEM pipeline, and advance STEM literacy.

Growing up, Kudaisi felt an innate tug to go into the STEM world. She was encouraged to pursue it, but at the same time, she didn’t have many examples of people in STEM that looked like her.

“My career as an assistant professor has been amazing. When I first started going into my graduate study, I was trying to decide if I wanted to be a professor or a principal, because I knew I was going to be an educator. I absolutely love education,” Kudaisi said. “But I didn't know what the next level would look like to me. I don't regret it at all. I am so happy I chose it.

Dr. Kudaisi expressed how fortunate she is to be able to work with students within informal STEM learning environments. She says she is grateful for her partnership with the school district and SEED funding from the university because it has empowered her to be able to further her mission to increase underrepresented students' participation in the STEM pipeline.