Audio Podcasts

STEM Lab is GSSM's audio podcast aimed at providing STEM teachers, administrators, and policy makers the information they need to help them better prepare tomorrow’s STEM leaders.   As one of the premier STEM Education schools in the country, GSSM is a great place to discuss current research, trends, and techniques in STEM Education. 

Host Michael A. Newsome and co-hosts Crystal McGee and Nicole Kroeger invite STEM education and policy experts from around the United States and the world to talk about what we should be teaching and how we can best teach it. 

Below you can find links to:

-The audio version of STEM Lab (also available on all major streaming services)
-The video version of STEM Lab (from GSSM's YouTube channel)
-The STEM Lab Notebook Newsletter for the Podcast


2023 Episodes

S1E11: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center Deputy Director Talks STEM Ed (Joseph Pelfrey)

Joseph Pelfrey, Deputy Director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, discusses his experiences in the thrilling world of space exploration and its impact on STEM education.  Joseph delves into the Artemis Generation that aims to return humans to the moon and pave the way for Mars exploration. He reflects on the lessons learned from historic space missions and emphasizes the importance of melding theoretical knowledge with practical application in STEM education. He says that leadership of a complex organization requires focus on mission, building up people, and learning from history.  Joseph also discusses the crucial skills needed for future space missions, including multidisciplinary engineering and advancements in AI. He shares personal insights from his journey, highlighting the profound impact of educators and the power of dreaming big. This episode is a must-listen for anyone fascinated by space exploration and its role in shaping future STEM education.

S1E10: The Entrepreneurial Mindset for Engineering Students (Dr. Joshua Gargac, Ohio Northern University)

Dr. Joshua Gargac, a mechanical engineering professor at Ohio Northern University, shares his approach to fostering an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering education, emphasizing the importance of curiosity, connections, and creating value.  He delves into his innovative teaching strategies, including mastery-based learning, competency-based assessment, and the flipped classroom model, to enhance student engagement and resilience. Dr. Gargac says that it is essential to teach students how to handle ambiguity and develop problem-solving skills.  The episode highlights innovative teaching approaches that foster an entrepreneurial mindset, resilience, and practical problem-solving skills in students.

S1E9: Integrative STEM Education: Leading Experiential Learning (Dr. Mary Annette Rose, Ball State)

Dr. Mary Annette Rose, Associate Professor of Educational Studies at Ball State University, delves into the critical need for integrating STEM education across various disciplines. Dr. Rose shares her insights on the challenges facing STEM education in the U.S., emphasizing the importance of breaking down subject silos and fostering a culture of collaboration and problem-solving in schools. She discusses the importance of enlisting all school personnel to help develop the appropriate experiential learning culture.  She offers practical strategies for educators and school leaders, highlighting successful examples of integrative STEM education in action. She has a passion for preparing students for a future where interdisciplinary knowledge and evidence-based decision making are key.

S1E8: Student Success in the Virtual STEM Classroom: Individuals Matter (Kristal Martinez, GSSM)

How do we help students succeed in the virtual STEM classroom?  Kristal Martinez says that it takes individual attention and knowing who the students are.  Kristal has years of experience working with high school students enrolled in the virtual-synchronous advanced engineering certificate program at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics.  She discusses how students studying virtually are really living in two worlds.  It is important to keep the classroom student-centered.  We need to work harder to make sure the students know the personalities of the teachers.  Teachers must be candid with students about difficulties.  Communication is key.  Teachers must be aware of the circumstances and cultures of students who come from underserved communities.  There are different learning strategies for different students and the strategies may shift over time for the same student.  Good teaching in the virtual synchronous environment requires constant awareness and attention. 

S1E7: Rural STEM Education and Workforce Development (Dr. Matt Irvin, University of South Carolina)

Dr. Matt Irvin, Professor of Educational Psychology and Research at the University of South Carolina, discusses rural STEM education and its alignment with burgeoning industry sectors like AI and advanced manufacturing. Dr. Irvin underscores the need for meaningful experiences that tether rural students to local job markets, and he describes how virtual education can offset teacher shortages. The dialogue covers the unique hurdles in rural teaching, the potential of public-private partnerships, and the shift towards more practical educational paths over traditional degrees. Insights from the IMMERSE Project funded by the NSF and the efficacy of STEM camps in sparking student interest round out a conversation rich with strategies for educators aiming to future-proof rural education.

S1E6: Pickels, Puzzles, and Board Games in Elementary School Math (Dr. Gordon Hamilton,

Dr. Gordon Hamilton, Director of, wants to revolutionize elementary school math education. This episode spotlights the Canadian mathematician’s unique puzzle-based teaching method. Discover how board games and scalable 'infinite pickle' puzzles entice young minds into complex problem-solving, fostering an inquiry-driven classroom where teachers and students unravel mathematical mysteries together. Emphasizing curiosity over rote answers, Dr. Hamilton's approach demystifies math, instilling confidence and joy in learners. He describes how teachers can help students forget ego and learn without fear.  Gordon is an inspiration to STEM educators seeking to invigorate their teaching with creativity and engagement.

S1E5: The Secret Sauce: Physics, AI, STEM Ed, and Swing Dancing (Dr. Kemper Talley, Raytheon BBN)

Dr. Kemper Talley, Senior Scientist at Raytheon BBN with a Ph.D. in energy science engineering and expertise in synthetic biology, biodefense, and bioethics, shares his passion for physics-based education, emphasizing the importance of strong mathematics and critical thinking. He calls for a shift towards experiential learning in physics, incorporating real-world applications and experiments. Furthermore, he highlights the value of interdisciplinary collaboration, soft skills, and embracing AI as a transformative tool in education. Kemper's unique perspective, from his journey in STEM to his love for swing dancing, provides valuable insights for STEM teachers and administrators on fostering creativity, teamwork, and effective communication in the ever-evolving landscape of STEM education.

S1E4: Integrity, Trust, Caring and Real-World Research in STEM Ed (Dean Matt Martin, GSSM)

What are the keys to excellence in STEM Education?  Dr. Matt Martin, the academic dean at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, says that the most important factors in education success are integrity, trust, and caring.  Drawing on his experience as a Rhodes Scholar and his time as a Full Professor and Dean of Faculty at Wesleyan College, Matt discusses how to successfully guide STEM students through the transition from high school to college, why academic integrity issues are getting more difficult, how AI is full of challenges and opportunities, and why it is becoming even more important to build student creativity through real-world research.

S1E3: Game-Based Programs and Virtual Learning Platforms in STEM Ed (Dr. Eric Wiebe, NC State) 

Technology is rapidly affecting the way students learn and transforming the classroom for educators.  How is this impacting student learning outcomes?  Dr. Eric Wiebe, Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University and Senior Research Fellow at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, discusses the current use of technology, its effectiveness, and how it will expand in future STEM classrooms.  Dr. Wiebe studies how students interact with technology.  He offers information about how educators can use technology to improve cognitive and computational skills.  He also discusses how some teachers are now being trained to create their own virtual STEM classrooms.

S1E2: Integrating Art into the STEM Curriculum: Art is Science (Joyce Symoniak, IMSA)

How does art inform science? What role does science have in art? What is the importance of art in science education? Joyce Symoniak, visual arts teacher at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, answers these questions and talks about the fact that science students need art skills. She provides specific classroom examples of how she has enhanced student creativity by integrating art, science, and engineering in her instruction. 

S1E1: AI Teaching Assistants and Virtual Labs: Using Discovery in STEM Ed (Dr. Alex Feltus, Clemson University)

What does the future STEM classroom look like?  What will be the role of the human instructor?  Dr. Alex Feltus, Professor of Genetics and Biochemistry at Clemson University, addresses these questions and discusses his passion for integrating discovery and real research into his own courses.  As a specialist in biomedical data science and informatics, Alex is well-placed to predict where education technology is headed.