About Us

STEM Center Logo. Letters in marroon being lifted in place by a cartoon crane arm.

In 2015, the concept of the Center for Excellence in STEM Education began and has continued to evolve over time.  Central Michigan University assisted the Center in moving from a conceptual entity by providing and renovating a physical location in the Education and Human Services building. In addition to university support, the generous financial support of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, enables the Center to serve families, students, and teachers by providing high-quality STEM Education programs within the Great Lakes Bay Region.  This programming takes the form of family events, summer day-camps, teacher professional development workshops, and school field trips to the CMU MakerSpace (EHS 134).

Additionally, the center encourages the next generation of educators to allow for inquiry amongst their future students.  This encouragement, along with first-hand experience working with children is embedded in the STEM Education Scholar Program.  By immersing future educators in an environment where intentional design and purposeful problem-solving activities are given to K-12 students, the undergraduates are gaining real-world experience and the opportunity to mitigate any potential problems associated with integrating STEM themselves someday.


CMU's Center for Excellence in STEM Education (CESE) will positively impact mathematics, science, and engineering educators at all levels in Michigan and beyond through innovative partnerships, programs, and professional development opportunities.


The CESE seeks to be a leader in STEM education by:

  • Offering teacher education candidates secondary and elementary mathematics and science teacher preparation through work with CMU's undergraduate programs, as well as supporting these students as they enter the teacher education program;
  • Offering continuing professional development opportunities including induction support and professional development for STEM educators;
  • Further developing and continuing a rigorous research agenda in STEM education through collaboration among faculty from various departments involved in STEM;
  • Offering pre-K through 12th grade STEM education enrichment programs with a focus on inquiry and/or problem solving;
  • Providing partnerships with local, state, and/or national organizations and initiatives for advancement and improvement of STEM education

STEM Stats infographic Sept 2018.jpg

Meet the Staff

To learn more about each member of the Center for Excellence in STEM Education (CESE) team, expand each of their profiles below. 
Julie Cunningham currently works as the Director of the Center for Excellence in STEM Education. She has worked in STEM education for the past 25 years. Prior to moving to Michigan seven years ago Julie spent 15 years as a high school chemistry and biology teacher. During this time Julie also earned her Master’s in Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

After moving to Mt Pleasant Michigan, Julie taught Intro to Biology at Mid-Michigan College and Intro to Teaching at Central Michigan University (CMU). Additionally, Julie spent a few years working as a Science Instructional Coach with teacher education grants through CMU. Four years ago, the College of Education and Human Services hired Julie as Program Coordinator for the Center for Excellence in STEM Education. In her current role she is responsible for the day to day operations of the Center and work with the STEM Education Scholar program which serves undergraduate teacher education candidates with an interest in math or science education.

Email: cunni2ja@cmich.edu

Amanda Cornwell is the Program Facilitator for the Center for Excellence in STEM Education at Central Michigan University (CMU). She spent 13 years teaching a combination of elementary and middle school English, and integrated technology into her classroom whenever possible. Amanda holds a bachelor's degree in English and speech communications from Albion College, a master's degree in education from Aquinas College, and is pursuing a terminal degree in educational technology from Central Michigan University.

Amanda's husband also works within education as a secondary principal for Baldwin Community Schools. After settling her family into their new home, schools, and routine after a move to the area, Amanda began working at CMU in February 2018 with the primary goal being to design and deliver STEM programs at schools, libraries, and community centers throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region. As someone appreciative of new experiences, she is always excited by potential opportunities to work with students and families!

Jessica Lewakowski is the Program Coordinator for the Center. She taught STEM Education for 3 years at both the elementary and middle school level. Jessica holds a Bachelor's Degree in elementary education with a specialization in integrated sciences. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in educational technology here at CMU.

Jessica has a passion for education and providing students with opportunities to learn through hands-on experiences.

Ashley O'Neil is the Community Engagement Coordinator. She nine years of classroom experience, teaching a combination of general and special education ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. Ashley is eager to support teachers and students in meaningful ways! In addition to collaborating with teachers and schools, Ashley also maintains partnerships with state and national networks such as Mi-STAR and Code.org.

Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in special education and a master's degree in educational technology from CMU. Both her classroom experience and coursework have proven invaluable as Ashley develops and leads design thinking challenges for students and professional development experience for teachers and staff.
Take a peek inside the makerspace by watching the video below!

Science Mathematics and Technology Center

Erin Guillen is a STEM teacher at Renaissance Public School Academy in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. She teaches grades third through fifth and is in charge of an elective class that allows for a new STEM activity to take place each week. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Central Michigan University. During her time at Renaissance, she has worked in the after school program, coached the fifth through eighth grade girls’ basketball teams and currently enjoys advising both the hypernet and newspaper club, as well as assisting with the Youth Astronomy Network Workshop. 

Her students understand that she cares for them and only wants the best for each and every one. Making meaningful connections and treating her students with the utmost respect could not be more important Erin

The Central Michigan Science, Mathematics, Technology Center (SMTC) serves the students, teachers, and administrators of the Gratiot-Isabella RESD and the Clare-Gladwin RESD. The SMTC provides outreach services to 14 school districts, 17 private schools, and three charter schools in this four-county rural area. The SMTC is housed at Central Michigan University (CMU) and since its establishment in 1985, the Center has also served the students and faculty of Central Michigan University's Colleges of Education and Human Services and Science and Technology.​