Research Forum Discusses Injection Training, Math Belonging and Cooking with STEM

Research and Innovation Forum highlights on-campus research in new ways of teaching in nursing, math and STEM.

Three researchers from Kent State’s Science of Learning Education (SOLE) Center presented their current projects today at the Research and Sponsored Programs (RASP) Research and Innovation Forum.

‘Nursing education study with emerging technologies, haptics and mixed reality’

Kwangtaek Kim, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in Kent State’s Department of Computer Science. His research involves using emerging technologies like haptics and mixed reality, to help teach nursing students important skills like inserting needles and IVs in a virtual environment. He works with other researchers across campus on this project, including Jeremy M. Jarzembak, M.A., BSN, B.S., RN. Kim was unable to attend the forum, and Jarzembak presented the research.

Jeremy Jarzembak presented at the R & I Forum


This project has created a mixed-reality simulator that uses an articulated glove to deliver haptic (touch) feedback along with a syringe stylus and a Microsoft HoloLens viewer to deliver a realistic simulation of administering an injection or inserting an IV into a patient. The glove delivers the feeling that the wearer is holding an invisible hand while the HoloLens headset allows them to view a virtual hand and find the appropriate injection site. 

This system could be used to train nursing students without them having to repeatedly inject a live patient or a plastic simulation model.

Jarzembak said, “IV skills are notoriously very challenging. Most students that are trained are going to get maybe two attempts and they’re then considered to be experts. So, it’s one of those skills that could really use some better training devices.”

Learn more and see this technology in action here.

‘Am I a Math Person? The importance of sense of belonging and identity to math for underrepresented students’

The goal of the research being conducted by Dana Miller-Cotto, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, is to determine why some students, particularly underrepresented students struggle more than others in mathematics. Her studies examine cognitive skills and environmental factors that could explain these outcomes. Miller-Cotto said, “The goal of my research is to improve instruction and learning environments for all students to learn and thrive, regardless of where they come from.”

Slide from Dana Miller-Cotto's presentation on Math Belonging


“Are you a ‘math person?’” Miller-Cotto asked the forum attendees. She said that having a feeling of “math belonging” can be key to a student’s future success in mathematics and subsequent interest in STEM fields, particularly among underrepresented students.

“In psychology we talk about sense of belonging to a community, to math, to motherhood, etc.,” Miller-Cotto said. “We can change the way that we talk about math and the way we teach back to children. We can make some small, impactful changes through the instructional strategies that we can learn from math education and cognitive science to help feel like they belong in math.”

You can learn more about Miller-Cotto’s research here.

‘Food for Thought: Using cooking to ignite interest and engagement in STEM’

The presentation by Bradley Morris, Ph.D., explored his research in using the science of food and cooking to engage students in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) topics. Morris is an associate professor of educational psychology in the School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences and a co-director of the SOLE Center.

Bradley Morris presenting at the Forum.


His Food for Thought project involves engaging students in STEM topics at a very young age through something they see and can participate in every day: cooking. “If you ask kids about math, they will likely feel anxious about it,” Morris said. “They’re probably not going to feel that anxious about cooking. Cooking is usually something that’s usually a really fun, very social activity. It also has so many natural connections to science.”

Learn more about cooking with STEM here.

Today’s forum took place on the Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony and was sponsored by the SOLE Center and RASP. RASP sponsors two Research and Innovation forums each year.

Outgoing director of SOLE, professor John Dunlosky, Ph. D., introduced incoming co-director, assistant professor Clarissa Thompson, Ph.D., who shared her excitement in stepping into the role. 

Kent State has earned the prestigious R1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. R1 status is the highest recognition that doctoral universities can receive, and Kent State is one of only five universities in Ohio to have earned it. This designation recognizes the high level of research activity on Kent State’s campuses.

POSTED: Sunday, February 19, 2023 12:40 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2023 03:06 PM
Phil B. Soencksen