S-STEM Logo Color | on Low-Income STEM Student Decision-Making and Pathways

Research Hub Team

Strategically located across the United States, the CCSN team includes Rutgers University’s Education and Employment Research Center (EERC), the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC), the University of South Florida (USF), the University of Washington (UW), and a team of expert consultants.

Meet the TEAM

Community College S-STEM Team

Principal Investigator

Michelle Van Noy, Ph.D.

Michelle is Director of the Education and Employment Research Center at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers. She has extensive experience conducting research on STEM education and workforce development and leading large-scale research projects. She is PI on Pathways to Technician Careers an ATE-targeted research project examining student decision-making about programs and careers in information technology, and co-PI on an NSF project, Pathways to Science and Engineering Professions: Persistence and Career Choice for Bachelor’s and Master’s Graduates, Who Goes on? Who Doesn’t? and Why? She has conducted research on higher education labor market responsiveness, community college workforce education programs in a range of sectors, community college student outcomes, and employer perceptions of associate degrees for IT technicians. She served on the National Academy of Science’s committee on Barriers and Opportunities for 2-year and 4-year STEM degrees.

Principal Investigator

David R. Brown, Ph.D.

David Brown is an emeritus faculty member from the Department of Chemistry at Southwestern College, one of the 116 California community colleges. Brown holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, earned a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and undertook postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego. He has made broadening participation in the STEM enterprise by groups traditionally underrepresented the focal point of his professional efforts. David has enjoyed significant engagement with the National Science Foundation (NSF), having served as a Principal Investigator on sixteen NSF grants and sub-awards that have supported a variety of projects in curriculum and program development, faculty professional development, science outreach to the public and undergraduate research. Furthermore, from August of 2012 through August of 2015, Brown served as a Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the NSF. His efforts to broaden participation in STEM were honored in 2007 with the Stanley C. Israel Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences from the American Chemical Society Western Region, and in 2012 Brown received the Award for Incorporating Sustainability into Chemistry Education from the American Chemical Society Committee on Environmental Improvement.

Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Elizabeth Meza, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Meza is a senior research scientist at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. Before becoming an education researcher she was a community college practitioner and served in administrative roles and as a Sociology faculty member at several community colleges in Washington state. Now, as an educational researcher & consultant she believes in the power of knowledge to create focused, organized, and persistent initiatives that can create equitable solutions to today’s education and workforce challenges. Through a range of methodological approaches her research agenda seeks to identify and address inequities that hinder American higher education from delivering on its promise of equity for all students, and centers community colleges as engines for opportunity and workforce development. Elizabeth is the NewAmerica Education Policy Program Fellow for Community Colleges.

Will Ty - Professional Photo

Co-Principal Investigator

Will Tyson, Ph.D.

Will Tyson is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of South Florida Tampa campus. His research uncovers the connections between educational experiences and career pathways and key life course transitions among students from various backgrounds. He specializes in research that challenges our understanding of interpersonal and structural influences on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and career pathways out of high schools, community colleges, and four-year universities. Dr. Tyson is the author of Teaching and Learning Employability Skills in Career and Technical Education: Industry, Educator, and Student Perspectives (2020).

Dr. Tyson has over 18 years of experience as a National Science Foundation (NSF) grantee serving on 12 different projects totaling over $16.5 million, including $3.2 million as Principal Investigator of three projects.


Maria L. Espino, Ph.D.

Maria Espino earned her PhD in the Higher Education Administration Program from Iowa State University. Her dissertation explored how Latin* first-generation, low-income early college high school graduates are transitioning to a four-year institution. She obtained her Master’s degree in Educational Policy and Leadership at Marquette University and her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a double major in Community and Nonprofit Leadership and Gender and Women studies. As a qualitative researcher, she explores (in)equities in higher education particularly focusing on the experiences of marginalized students. As a scholar and a student advocate, she believes that it is important to not only conduct research, it is crucial to humanize, empower, and support the community.

Community College S-STEM Research Advisory Board


Debra D. Bragg, Ph.D.

Debra Bragg is the founder of Bragg and Associates, an equity-minded consulting group dedicated to advancing student success in education and employment. During her career, she founded two community college research centers, Community College Research Initiatives at the University of Washington in Seattle (2016-2020) and the Office of Community College Research and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1989-2015) where she is Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor emerita. Dr. Bragg’s research focuses on transitions to and through education to employment. She has led national studies on a wide range of P-20 education policies, including developmental education, career-technical education and career pathways, transfer (vertical and reverse credit), and community college baccalaureate.


John Krupczak, Ph.D.

is a professor of engineering at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. From 2013–2016 Dr. Krupczak served as a Program Director in the Education and Human Resources Directorate / Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation (NSF). He was a co–Lead of the NSF Scholarships in Science, Engineering, and Technology (S–STEM) Program. Krupczak’s NSF responsibilities also included: Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE); Advanced Technological Education (ATE); NSF Innovation Corps for Learning (I–Corps L); and the National Robotics Initiative (NRI). In addition to work as a National Science Foundation Program Officer, John has been a Principal Investigator on fourteen NSF grants supporting STEM education research and faculty development. Since 2016 he has led or facilitated 7 faculty development proposal writing workshops. Krupczak was a Senior Fellow of the Center for the Advancement of the Scholarship of Engineering Education (CASEE) of the National Academy of Engineering from 2008–2010. Krupczak is active in the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He has served as chair of the ASEE Liberal Education Division and was founding chair of the Technological and Engineering Literacy Division. Krupczak served on the advisory committee of the ASEE Transforming Undergraduate Engineering Education (TUEE) project. In addition to teaching at Hope College, Dr. Krupczak has taught at Meiji Gaukin University in Tokyo, Japan and has worked as an engineer for the U.S. Department of Energy. He received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and a B.A. in Physics from Williams College.


Sam Scovill, Ph.D.

Sam Scovill is a researcher at Rutgers University, Education & Employment Research Center (EERC). At EERC, they’ve worked on several different projects around education and workforce development including projects on student decision-making, non-degree credential quality, non-credit education and employment outcomes, economic development, and more. They earned a Ph.D. from the School of Sociology at University of Arizona.