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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.

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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. 

Wendy Hoyle is a graduate of Central Michigan University and has been teaching for eight years in middle level education. Four of the eight years were spent teaching language arts to seventh graders in Northern Virginia. This experience has greatly impacted her approach to teaching sixth grade in Michigan. Currently, Wendy is teaching sixth grade in Mount Pleasant, Michigan and is working toward her master's in teaching through Augustana University. Integrating technology, science, and social studies into the language arts curriculum is an important focus in her classroom.

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.

Amanda Cornwell currently works as 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 whenver 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 family moved to the central Michigan area two years ago and her husband also works within the field of education as a secondary principal for Baldwin Community Schools.  After settling her family into their new home, schools, and routine, 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 excited by potential opportunities available within this role!

Jessica Lewakowski currently works as Program Coordinator for the Center for Excellence in STEM Education at Central Michigan University (CMU).  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 and is currently pursuing a master's degree in educational technology through Michigan State University. 
Jessica is looking forward to being part of the Center and has a passion for education and providing students with opportunities to learn through hands-on experiences.

Take a peek inside the makerspace by watching the video below!

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