About Us

The Novel Engineering (NE) Project, housed at the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO), includes research and professional development that seek to improve STEM education at the elementary level as well as broaden the range of students engaged in engineering education activities. NE works with teachers to use classroom literature as the context for engineering problems.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DRL-1020243. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Our Team

Dr. Chris Rogers – Principal Investigator
Dr. David Hammer – Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Merredith Portsmore – Co-Principal Investigator
Elissa Milto – Project Manager
Dr. Jessica Watkins – Research Assistant Professor
Dr. Kristen Wendell – Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Morgan Hynes – Assistant Professor, School of Engineering Education at Purdue University
Dr. Ethan Danahy – Research Assistant Professor
Dr. Mary McCormick – Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr. Aaron Johnson – Postdoctoral Research Associate
Barbara Bratzel – Educator-in-Residence
Bridget McCaffrey – Curriculum Specialist
Brian O’Connell – PhD Student Research Assistant
Susan Bitetti – MS Student Research Assistant
Jenn Thomas – MS Student Research Assistant
Dan Luo – MS Student Research Assistant
Andy Braren – MS Student Research Assistant

Past Contributors:

Dr. Kathleen Spencer – Postdoctoral Research Associate
Lija Yang – Educator-in-Residence
Jessica Swenson – PhD Student Research Assistant
Sarah Coppola – MS Student Research Assistant
Lajja Mehta – MS Student Research Assistant
Leonardo Madariaga – MS Student Research Assistant
Rafi Yagudin – MS Student Research Assistant
Kerianne Marino – Undergraduate Student Research Assistant
AbdurRehman Rashid – Undergraduate Student Research Assistant
Josh Berl – Undergraduate Student Research Assistant
Matt Mueller – Undergraduate Student Research Assistant
Alex Pugnali – Undergraduate Student Research Assistant
Gardy Ligonde – Research Experience for Undergrads Participant


Ambrose Elementary, Winchester, MA
Chula Vista Elementary - HighTech School Network, Chula Vista, CA
Columbus Elementary School, Medford, MA
Galvin Middle School, Wakefield, MA
Harpeth Hall School, Nashville, TN
Linden STEAM Academy, Malden, MA
Millis Public Schools, Millis, MA
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Winchester Public Schools, Winchester, MA

The inspiration for Novel Engineering came from Bill Wolfson, a retired engineer with a passion for engineering and education.

Credit for the name, Novel Engineering, goes to Anne Hayden Stevens at the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University.


Below please find a list of some recent Novel Engineering publications and presentations.


  • Hynes, Morgan and Swenson, Jessica (2013). “The Humanistic Side of Engineering: Considering Social Science and Humanities Dimensions of Engineering in Education and Research”. Journal of Pre­College Engineering Education Research. 3(2).
  • Watkins, Jessica; Spencer, Kathleen; and Hammer, David (2014). “Examining Young Students’ Problem Scoping in Engineering Design”. Journal of Pre­College Engineering Education Research (J­PEER). 4 (1).
  • Wendell, K. B. (2014). Design Practices of Preservice Elementary Teachers in an Integrated Engineering and Literature Experience. Journal of Pre­College Engineering Education Research (JPEER). 4(2).

Conference Papers and Presentations

  • Coppola, S., Madariaga, L., & Schnedeker, M. (2015). Assessing Teachers' Experiences with STEM and Perceived Barriers to Teaching Engineering. 122nd American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference. Seattle, WA.
  • Hammer, David, “How do students frame what they’re doing?” , bibl. , (2012). Talk Published
  • Jessica Scolnic, Kathleen Spencer and Merredith Portsmore (2014). Viewing student engineering through the lens of “engineering moments”: An interpretive case study of 7th grade students with language­based learning disabilities. 121st ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition.. Indianapolis, IN.
  • McCormick, M. (2014). Engineering for Colonial Times. Proceedings from Annual American Society of Engineering Education Conference and Exhibition, Indianapolis, IN.
  • McCormick, M., Hammer, D., & Brizuela, B (2014). Engineering Design as imagining “what could be”. Jean Piaget Society. San Francisco, CA.
  • McCormick, M and Hammer, D. (2014). The Beginnings of Engineering Design in an Integrated Engineering and Literacy Task. International Conference of the Learning Sciences. Boulder, CO.
  • McCormick, Mary. Wendell, Kristen B. & O’Connell, Brian Patrick (2014). Student Videos as a Tool for Elementary Teacher Development in Teaching Engineering: What Do Teachers Notice?. 121st ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. Indianapolis, IN.
  • McCormick, M. & Hynes, M. (2012). Engineering in a Fictional World: Early Findings from Integrating Engineering and Literacy. Proceedings from Annual American Society of Engineering Education Conference and Exhibition, Texas.
  • McCormick, M., & Watkins, J. (2015). Pretending and Engineering: An examination of students' dynamic engagement in Novel Engineering design activities. American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference. Seattle, WA.
  • Yang, L. A., Johnson, A. W., & Portsmore, M. D. (2015). Eliciting Informed Designer Patterns from Elementary Students with Open­Ended Problems. American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference. Seattle, WA.


  • McCormick, M. (2015). Complex dynamics of student engagement in Novel Engineering design activities. (Doctoral dissertation). Tufts University.
  • Mehta, L. (2015). Understanding Novel Engineering Implementation Barriers for Teachers. (Master’s thesis). Tufts University.