Gather Here. Go Far

NSU is where success begins. Here professors know their subjects and how to get you ready for a career after you graduate. We empower individuals to become socially responsible global citizens by creating and sustaining a culture of learning and discovery.

Gather Here. Go Far

NSU is where success begins. Here professors know their subjects and how to get you ready for a career after you graduate. We empower individuals to become socially responsible global citizens by creating and sustaining a culture of learning and discovery.

Gather Here. Go Far

NSU is where success begins. Here professors know their subjects and how to get you ready for a career after you graduate. We empower individuals to become socially responsible global citizens by creating and sustaining a culture of learning and discovery.

Gather Here. Go Far

NSU is where success begins. Here professors know their subjects and how to get you ready for a career after you graduate. We empower individuals to become socially responsible global citizens by creating and sustaining a culture of learning and discovery.

Gather Here. Go Far

NSU is where success begins. Here professors know their subjects and how to get you ready for a career after you graduate. We empower individuals to become socially responsible global citizens by creating and sustaining a culture of learning and discovery.

DaVinci Institute Awardees at NSU

The DaVinci Institute is organized exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes, more specifically to serve as an Oklahoma think tank whose mission is to promote a statewide creative renaissance through lectures, workshops, professional development, research and advocacy. The DaVinci Institute funds creative projects among Oklahoma's higher education faculty. A $1,000 grant is awarded to each DaVinci fellow to assist in completing their DaVinci proposal. (Learn more about the DaVinci Institute)

We are pleased to share about our 2023 DaVinci Institute Awardees at NSU!

Dr. Sophia Burch​, DaVinci Institute Creativity in Education Fellow
Alessandra Criscione​, DaVinci Institute Scholar
Jennifer Terry​, DaVinci Institute Scholar

Read about their project information below!

Dr. Sophia Burch

Dr. Sophia Burch | 2023 DaVinci Institute Creativity in Education Fellow

DaVinci Fellow Proposal: Teaching for Creativity by Teaching Creatively

What is the purpose of the project?
The purpose of this project is to investigate the impact of my creative teaching on K-12 teachers' perceptions of their own ability to teach creatively. “Teaching for creativity is more likely to emerge from contexts in which teachers are teaching creatively…. Learners model themselves on their teachers' approach, find themselves in situations where they are able to take ownership and control and are more likely to be innovative, even if the teacher was not overtly planning to teach for creativity” (Jeffrey & Craft, 2004, p. 84, emphasis mine). The authors of a report by the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE, 1999) distinguished between teaching creatively and teaching for creativity, yet articulated the inextricable nature of the two, stating “teaching for creativity involves teaching creatively” (NACCCE, 1999, p. 90). The quote that opens this paper captures Jeffrey and Crafts assertion that the two are integral, and that teachers who teach creativity are likely to foster creativity in their students, even if inadvertently.

A rich body of literature demonstrates the importance of the instructor modeling best practices in teacher preparation courses, particularly when the instructor explicitly calls the students (future teachers) attention to the best practices used (see Moore & Bell, 2019 for an extensive literature review). Several evidence-based teaching and assessment practices demonstrated to significantly and positively impact the learning outcomes of diverse students include providing feedback, using cues, questions, and advance organizers, cooperative learning, assigning homework and providing practice, and the use of non-linguistic representations, among others (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, 2012). The use of innovative teaching methods positively impacts student achievement, motivation, and problem-solving ability (Huang, Ko, & Chen, 2020; Rinkevich, 2011). Teachers who have creative self-efficacy are more likely to employ creative teaching methods and support creativity in their own students (Nemeržitski & Heinla, 2020).  

The proposed project involves bringing the variety of creative and evidence-based pedagogical practices and assessment methods I model throughout an asynchronous online graduate course in measurement and assessment to the teachers attention through brief “call-outs” adjacent to the teaching strategy. Participants will complete the Teaching for Creativity Scales at the beginning and end of the class, a questionnaire designed to capture teachers perceptions of the factors that influence their ability to teach creatively (Rubenstein, Coach, & Siegle, 2013). Participants will also complete open response items, written by me, which are designed to capture the teachers perceptions of how creative the teaching practices were, the impact of the teaching method call-outs on the likelihood that they will use the methods in their own teaching, and their self-efficacy regarding their ability to teach creatively.

References available upon request.

What does this award mean to you?
I have had the privilege of attending past DaVinci Award Celebrations and hearing about the impactful projects my colleagues across the state have proposed and implemented. It is humbling to be among this group of creative problem solvers. I am excited to have this opportunity to infuse even more creativity into my own teaching, and to explore the impact on classroom teachers. Many heartfelt thanks to the DaVinci Institute and Northeastern State University for supporting my project, and for my Department Chair, Dr. Jim Ferrell for believing in it enough to recommend me for the award.

Alessandra Criscione | 2023 DaVinci Institute Scholar

Proposal Title: "Inspiring Girls to Choose STEM"

What is the purpose of the project?

My project is titled "Inspiring Girls to Choose STEM" and it is centered around an all girls secondary math class that partners with local Girl Scouts within the community to give my students an opportunity to lead STEM related activities to these younger scouts. This will inspire both groups to go into STEM related career fields, where female representation is lacking.

What does this award mean to you?

This award is meaningful to me because growing up as a Girl Scout, I was taught to dream big, break gender roles, and to be a leader. This award allows me to implement my project into my future classroom and hopefully inspire young girls and Girl Scouts the way that Girl Scouts inspired me as a kid.

Jennifer Terry | 2023 DaVinci Institute Scholar

Proposal Title: "I Spy Math in the Library."

What is the purpose of the project?
The purpose of the project is using the engagement provided by games to deepen students' understanding of mathematics operations and concepts. 

The project is planned around my future middle school classroom. By the time students get to middle school, the mathematics concepts they are encountering are becoming more and more complex and class times are limited. There may be less time for middle school students to engage in games. This can make approaching mathematics more intimidating. In this project, my middle school students would select a trade book and then develop a mathematics activity or game based on that book to share with children in a local public library. In addition to developing the game, students would also develop a parent information flier with a QR code, giving parents access to online resources to help them continue exploring the concept with their children at home. The original design of the project would take an entire semester to implement. During the course of the semester, students would reflect on the project through individual journals and also collectively through reflective videos on a Flipgrid board. At the conclusion of the project, a celebration would be held. Representatives from the school and the public library system would be invited to celebrate with my students.

My students would benefit from deepening their understanding of the mathematics concept. Young children in the community would benefit from working with older children (who could be seen as role-models). Parents in the community would benefit from having quality mathematics resources to share with their children at home.

What does this award mean to you?
This award means so much to me. As a student at NSU, I have the privilege to observe many outstanding educators. They inspire me to think bigger and try harder. When I was nominated by Dr. Massey and Dr. Parrott to submit a proposal for this award, I was unsure whether I would be able to write a winning proposal. Through their encouragement and with the encouragement of other members of the faculty here at NSU BA, I took this chance and wrote a proposal that spoke to my passion for teaching.

Considering entering the teaching profession can be very intimidating right now. Being selected for this award helps me have some confidence in my calling as well as my abilities. 

Past NSU Recipients of the DaVinci Institute Award

We are pleased to share about our 2022 DaVinci Institute Awardees at NSU!

Click Image below to enlarge.
Ashley Titsworth at 2022 DaVinci Awards Banquet - photo taken by Ken Crowder- Ashley Titsworth with award at 2022 DaVinci Awards Banquet - photo taken by Ken Crowder- Kaylee Potter at 2022 DaVinci Awards Banquet - photo taken by Ken Crowder- Kaylee Potter with award at 2022 DaVinci Awards Banquet - photo taken by Ken Crowder- Three DaVinci Scholars with awards at 2022 DaVinci Awards Banquet - photo taken by Ken Crowder- Dr. MooSong Kim at 2022 DaVinci Awards Banquet - photo taken by Ken Crowder- Dr. MooSong Kim with award at 2022 DaVinci Awards Banquet - photo taken by Ken Crowder-  Dr. MooSong Kim with others at 2022 DaVinci Awards Banquet - photo taken by Ken Crowder-

Read their project information below!

Dr. MooSong Kim | 2022 DaVinci Institute Creativity in Education Fellow

Project Information

What is the title of the proposal?

School Principals and PE Teachers Facilitators and Barriers to Adopting and Implementing an After-School Physical Activity Policy for Children with Disabilities

What is the purpose of the project?

The purpose of this study is to examine factors affecting school principals and PE teachers adoption and implementation of a policy regarding after-school physical activity participation to promote children with disabilities physical activity. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that schools did not offer students with disabilities an equal opportunity to be involved in school-based extracurricular sport and physical activity. Furthermore, recent studies found that there is still discrepancy in school-based extracurricular sport and physical activity participation between children with and without disabilities after releasing a policy (i.e., a Dear Colleague Letter) to minimize the gap of participation in after-school physical activity between children with and without disabilities in 2013. Therefore, the study aims to explore school principals and PE teachers facilitators and barriers to adopting and implementing the DCL.

What does this award mean to you?

It is a great honor to receive the 2022 DaVinci Creativity in Education Fellow. I am grateful to the DaVinci Institute and NSU for supporting my research project aiming to promote children with disabilities physical activity. This fellowship award recognizes my passion for promoting physical activity for all. I strongly believe that this fellowship award will enable me to take a small step toward achieving the goal. Again, thank you the DaVinci Institute and NSU for supporting this research project.

Kaylee Potter | 2022 DaVinci Institute Scholar

Project Information

What is your proposal title?

Healthy Living Project

What is the purpose of the project?

I will implement all middle school and high school age students to stay healthy by exercising daily and eating healthy. I am completing my full internship in Pryor, and I found a place here called Pryor Creek Recreation Center where they have fitness trainers, nutrition coaches, and fitness workout classes. I will have them come into my classroom or by a Zoom meeting to talk with my students on the importance of exercise and good eating habits (with the idea of me maybe teaching in this area my first year). My students would be required to keep a log of their exercise routine and eating habits throughout the semester and have them set SMART goals to try to achieve by the end of the unit. This is an important issue for students to see now more than ever due to the rise in obesity rates. They are very high in our society currently and we need to start educating on this issue more to try to achieve and grow the positive mind-set of healthy living.

What does this award mean to you?

This award means that I will be able to have funding for implementing this project into my future classroom. I am not sure what school I will be teaching at in the near future but I know this will mean a lot for my future students. They will be able to stay active by learning from professionals in this field on how to stay healthy and receive the proper education along with tools to use for their current age and to follow them for a lifetime of being healthy. I am very thankful to the DaVinci Scholar Award Committee for selecting me to be an award representative this year!

Ashley Titsworth | 2022 DaVinci Institute Scholar

Project Information

What is your proposal title?

Algebra II Students Serve through ACT and GED Resource Development

What is the purpose of the project?

The purpose of my project is to have my Algebra II students work in groups to create study materials for the mathematics portion of the ACT. These resources when completed will be shared with the Tulsa City-County Library to be distributed to anyone seeking free study materials for the mathematics portion of the GED.

What does this award mean to you?

When I was in high school I had no clue what to expect when I went to take the ACT. I would like to help future students by at least making studying for the mathematics portion of the ACT part of their curriculum. Working together weekly they will have the chance to look back at all the material they have learned up to and including Algebra II to be better prepared when the time comes. These resources will also aid people in our community that are preparing to take the mathematics portion of the GED. Many resources are available to these people, but the ones made by my class will be completely free. This award means I will be able to implement this idea when I start teaching, and my students won't feel like they are going in blind when they take the ACT.

Dr. Sarah Ramsey, Dr. Meagan Moreland, Dr. Jericho Hobson, NSU President Steve Turner, Anne Heine & Amber Quammen.
Dr. Sarah Ramsey, Dr. Meagan Moreland, Dr. Jericho Hobson, NSU President Steve Turner, Anne Heine & Amber Quammen.

We are pleased to share about our 2021 DaVinci Institute Awardees at NSU!

Dr. Jericho Hobson, DaVinci Institute Fellow

Dr. Meagan Moreland, DaVinci Institute Fellow

Dr. Sarah Ramsey, DaVinci Institute Creativity in Education Fellow

Anne Heine, DaVinci Scholar

Amber Quammen, DaVinci Scholar

Read their project information below!

Dr. Jericho Hobson

Dr. Jericho Hobson | Assistant Professor Curriculum Instruction BA

Proposal Title - Urban Engagement: Increasing Exposure and Support to Increase Interest in STEM

hobsonjl@nsuok.edu | 918-449-6583


What is the purpose of the project?

The proposal for this fellowship funding is threefold.  First, it provides experiences for Northeastern State University's Teacher Candidates to gain additional experience and more comfort in supporting STEM learning activities.  This has the potential to influence their own future classrooms and impact the STEM curriculum incorporated for their future students and entice their students to seek more STEM opportunities.  It will also provide opportunities for the current public school teachers to observe the workshops and see how their students are engaged in STEM activities.  These teachers will witness how the NSU Teacher Candidates facilitate student critical thinking and problem solving through questioning and prompting.  They will also see how the STEM curriculum can be integrated into various required daily curriculum content.  These observations and participation may provide more comfort in executing the STEM curriculum in their own classrooms.  Cohen (2018) discusses there is a direct correlation between teacher comfort and student achievement related to STEM curriculum.  Through his research, he found that when teachers exhibit low efficacy related to STEM education students achievement decreases and further interest also declines.

Secondly, this proposal provides workshops with fun and engaging STEM learning opportunities for area urban public school students.  This has the potential to influence their interest and motivation toward STEM as they progress through the next phases of their academic learning.  Robnett and Leaper (2012) explain that individuals become interested in STEM activities and potential careers through motivation and social norms.  Providing opportunities for students to engage and experience STEM alongside their peers has the potential to increase their interest in these activities and potential careers.  “If a students friendship group values STEM, it may strengthen his or her interest and commitment to a STEM career path” (p. 653). 

Lastly, students will hold a STEM Fair at Tulsa Legacy Charter School for their fellow students and family to attend.  At this STEM Fair, they will demonstrate their learning and educate others on the information they have learned during their STEM workshops.  This has the potential to create more interest in STEM for their friends and family members and cultivate support for their own interest in STEM activities and experiences.  Simpkins et al. (2018) suggest that parents support can strengthen students motivational beliefs, especially as it relates to academic efforts and achievements.  Their research goes on to explain that when parents “believe their child possesses high abilities are more likely to have children with high motivational beliefs in both science and math” (p. 1205).  This reinforces the idea that parent support of STEM interests and activities is influential on students' interest and motivation for related experiences.

What does this award mean to you?

Receiving this award is an honor and accomplishment I did not anticipate, though I hoped for it.  I am humbled and excited to be able to represent NSU and join the other amazing educators that have previously received this award or nomination. I am also thrilled that the NSU Teacher Candidates and I will be able to have a direct impact on the students at our partnership school, Tulsa Legacy Charter School, as we conduct stem workshops for students and teachers and support the students as they then demonstrate what they have learned to their friends and family.  This award is a big win, not just for me, but also for our NSU Teacher Candidates, the public school students and teachers, and the students' friends and family.

Dr. Meagan MorelandDr. Meagan Moreland | Associate Professor Curriculum Instruction BA

Proposal Title - Developing a Robust Pipeline from High School Student to Future Oklahoma Educator

morela02@nsuok.edu | 918-449-6441


What is the purpose of the project?

The purpose of my proposal has many facets. First, I have an already created course for the pre-phase of my DaVinci project. This course focuses on high school seniors who think they may want to become educators. I feel this course is an amazing platform and start to the innovation I want to continue for this project. In my first phase, I have two approaches to employ. I want to create new partnerships with additional school districts to increase my class size, thus potentially having a bigger impact on encouraging students to become future Oklahoma educators. I have targeted two districts that are near to begin. Another large district has agreed to partner in 2022. Essentially, I want to create district integration purporting collaboration to break down the “walls” of districts to focus on serving as many high school students as possible. While working on expanding, I will work on implementing innovative components into the current course. This includes teaching the students about different school settings such as virtual and face-to-face. We will engage in both so they will be prepared to teach in many formats. The second approach is to have at least one point of contact per semester with my former students (from the course I am now teaching). I would use the funding from this project to purchase something to encourage their potential of wanting to become a teacher. For instance, a book, teaching supplies, etc. I feel this gift and point of contact will help continue to build this mentoring relationship.  

What does this award mean to you?

Receiving the DaVinci award is an esteemed honor.  This award recognizes my passion for helping educator attrition rates and encouraging people to join in the ranks as Oklahoma educators. Being able to expand a project I am so passionate about is rewarding, as my hope is to inspire a new generation of educators and highlight the benefits of this amazing career. Previous DaVinci winners are people who have mentored and inspired me over the years. Winning this award beside them is not something I ever anticipated, yet I am forever grateful for their support and encouragement.

Dr. Sarah Ramsey | Associate Professor Curriculum and Instruction

Proposal Title - Project Nurture Nonfiction: Equipping Community Educators to Support Young Readers Through Creative Nonfiction Read-Alouds

ramseyse@nsuok.edu | 918-444-3716


What is the purpose of the project?

Research confirms that the purposeful and prominent inclusion of nonfiction texts in the curriculum provides invaluable engagement opportunities for young children (Stead, 2014). However, to be most effective, nonfiction texts “...should be accompanied by rich discussions, opportunities for retellings, and re-readings” (Stead, 2014). Therefore, the goal of this project is not only to communicate the value of nonfiction read-alouds to early childhood educators - and eventually to librarians and parents in the community - but also to share engaging nonfiction book selections and accompanying hands-on interactions that will stimulate and strengthen early literacy development and skills in young children. Furthermore, this project is intended to provide insight on how to best support teachers in creating classroom interactions that engage young children in rich discussions, retellings, and rereadings with nonfiction read-aloud texts. To that end, I plan to employ the following creative approaches, including: designing an interactive professional development presentation that brings about a paradigm shift in how early childhood educators use nonfiction - specifically during read-aloud interactions, introducing early childhood educators to the tactile and interactive Book Box instructional strategy and supporting them in creating their own book boxes, as well as conducting this professional development via Thinkific, a virtual and self-paced learning platform.

What does this award mean to you?

It is an honor to be named the 2021 DaVinci Creativity in Education Fellow and to share this distinction with so many peers whose work I admire. I am grateful to the DaVinci Institute and Northeastern State University for their support in furthering the work of nurturing creative nonfiction read alouds. This fellowship award will enable me to equip educators and parents to open up the magic and mystery of the world of nonfiction and impact the newest generation of historians, mathematicians, scientists, and writers.

Anne Heine | 2021 DaVinci Scholar

Proposal Title - Mathematics Citizens

What is the purpose of the project?

Playing mathematics games makes math meaningful to students. It deepens their understanding and reasoning of number sense and operations by encouraging strategic thinking and allowing a repeated practice that supports computational fluency.  Project Mathematics Citizens will not only provide an opportunity for my 5th grade Bixby students to formulate and create math games using manipulatives, digital resources and various other resources in their own classroom, but also create duplicate games to share with other 5th graders at The Learning Center After-School Program in The Common Good Northwest Tulsa Hub. The Learning Center After-School Program offers homework help to K-5th grade students and is looking for ways to strengthen their students math abilities, especially their 5th grade students. My students will have a scheduled meeting with the State Representative from their district, Sheila Dills. Representative Dills will discuss the importance of citizens engaging in their community. Upon completion of my student's math unit project, they will deliver the games they created for The Learning Center After-School Program and have a celebration that includes playing math games with the 5th graders in the After-School Program.

What does this award mean to you?

I want my students to love mathematics and plan to teach math by making real-life and creative connections to their instruction so they discover math is everywhere. This award provides an opportunity to show my students sharing mathematics provides positive peer interactions within their community.

Amber Quammen | 2021 DaVinci Scholar

Proposal Title - “Project Community Garden and Compost Site”

What is the purpose of the project? 

The purpose of this project is for students to create a garden and compost site.  Students will have the opportunity to use skills they are learning in Math and Science classes to create a blueprint layout for a garden bed, learn to abstract soil samples and read them to discover what minerals need to be added or depleted for growing, as well as discovering recipes for the perfect compost. They will partner with the community and develop a recycling zone to create the compost and reduce waste for landfills. Once the garden is complete a community harvest celebration will be planned so that everyone can share and enjoy the produce.

What does this award mean to you?  

This award is providing me the opportunity to allow my future students the chance to apply what they are learning in the classroom in a meaningful way. It also allows the community to partner with students to create a recycling and compost site. This will provide students with a sustainable source of nutrients for their plants and reduce waste within the community. At the end of the growing season, we will get to experience together the learning that took place and celebrate with the vegetables and fruit students grew. Winning this award is providing me with the chance to make a difference in my community in ways I had not thought about before.

2020 DaVinci Awards
From Left: Dr. Spence Pilcher, NSU President Steve Turner, Dr. Sapna Das Bradoo

We are pleased to share about our 2020 DaVinci Institute Awardees at NSU!

Dr. Richard Hasenauer, 2020 DaVinci Fellow

Dr. Sapna Das Bradoo, 2020 DaVinci Fellow

Dr. Spence Pilcher, 2020 Creativity in Education Fellow

Ms. Jessica Abuelaileh, 2020 DaVinci Scholar

Read their project information below!

Learn more about our 2020 DaVinci Fellows, their proposals and how their grants will be used by clicking on the link below.

View the 2020 DaVinci Fellow Brochure (PDF)

We are pleased to share about our 2019 DaVinci Institute Awardee at NSU!

Chris Miller, DaVinci Fellow

Read their project information below!

Learn more about our 2019 DaVinci Fellow, proposal and how the grant will be used by clicking on the link below.

View The 2019 DaVinci Fellow Brochure (PDF) 

We are pleased to share about our 2018 DaVinci Institute Awardees at NSU!

Dr. Tobi Thompson, DaVinci Fellow

Dr. Ratnakar Deole, DaVinci Fellow

Jeannie Morrow, DaVinci Scholar

Read their project information below!

Learn more about our 2018 DaVinci Fellows, their proposals and how their grants will be used by clicking on the link below.

Click here to view the 2018 DaVinci Fellow Brochure(PDF) 

2017

2016

2015

2014

  • Mary Swanson, DaVinci Fellow
  • Amanda Jesperson, DaVinci Scholar

2013

  • Rebecca Maness, DaVinci Scholar

2012

  • Taylor Sawyer, DaVinci Scholar

2011

  • Avery Chambers, DaVinci Scholar

2010

  • Linda Wilson, DaVinci Fellow

2009

  • Amy Aldridge-Sanford, DaVinci Fellow

2007

2006

  • Kippi Wyatt, DaVinci Fellow