Return to Overview

NSF INCLUDES Planning Grant: Inclusive Biologists Exploring Active Research with Students (iBEARS) 

The iBEARS network will be of interest to practitioners and researchers in the educational technology field because of its emphasis on 21st century skills -  skills that were always important but are now more urgent than ever as schools and workplaces become more immersed in communication technologies. In addition, the mentoring that occurs between university students and K-12 classrooms is conducted online, giving educational technology researchers an opportunity to explore interaction and mentoring relationships in online settings.


The vision of the Inclusive Biologist Exploring Active Research with Students (iBEARS) is to increase the professional skill sets of science students, particularly minoritized students, making them highly competitive job candidates. Undergraduates will acquire twenty-first-century skills through training in virtual mentoring of 4th-8th grade students in course-based research experiences. Our mission is to build a network of people who are researchers, educators, and change-makers from a variety of perspectives to broaden participation in high-qualitiy STEM education.


The main goal of iBEARS is to create a shared vision by connecting current and future iBEARS collaborators (faculty from biology and education departments, middle-level science department administrators, and middle-level science teachers) to expand and scale-up the use of course-based research experiences and virtual mentoring to infuse twenty-first century skills into STEM education. A secondary goal of iBEARS is the expansion of high-quality research experiences for students in 4th-8th grade public school classrooms. 

The objectives that will help us achieve these goals focus on creating a website for recuitment and sustainability, producing resources that ensure the sustainability of iBEARS, hosting a workshop to highlight iBEARS impact on current members, and growing a network of interested individuals who will work towards broadening participation in high-quality STEM education as well as STEM education research. 



Broaden network for STEM education research

Recruit future iBEARS participants 

Pursue funding sources for supporting STEM education research

Create iBEARS website

Build platform for sharing materials and advice in QUBEShub

Produce educational and community resources

Create materials that enhance sustainabilty of iBEARS

Host forums for discussing strengths and barriers of current and future programs


Mechanism of Change


Conferences and Workshops

  • iBEARS Conference At Baylor University in Waco, TX (December 2021)
  • Organization of sessions/events/meet-ups at discipline-based conferences (2017-Current) 
    • Association for Science Teacher Education  (ASTE: January, 2021)
    • American Education Research Association (AERA)
    • School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA: October, 2021)
    • National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT: November, 2021)
    • 2021 NSF STEM for All Video Showcase (May, 2021)



QUBES Project


iBEARS / QUBES Collaboration