Our team at the Center for Equitable Family STEM Learning brings a diversity of experiences and expertise to our collaborations with families and community partners. We are grateful to our many partners, collaborators, and funders that are helping us move this work forward.

Scott Pattison, Co-Director

scott pattison

Scott Pattison, PhD, is a social scientist who has been studying and supporting STEM education and learning since 2003, as an educator, program and exhibit developer, evaluator, and researcher. His current work focuses on engagement, learning, and interest and identity development in free-choice and out-of-school environments, including museums, community-based organizations, and everyday settings. Dr. Pattison specializes in using qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the processes and mechanisms of learning in naturalistic settings. He has partnered with numerous educational and community organizations across the country to support learning for diverse communities.

Smirla Ramos Montañez, Co-Director

Smirla Ramos Montañez

Smirla Ramos Montañez, PhD, is a bilingual (Spanish/English) and bicultural (Puerto Rican/American) researcher and evaluator focusing on culturally responsive studies related to informal STEM learning. During the last decade, Dr. Ramos Montañez has led and supported a variety of projects, including program and exhibit evaluation as well as STEM education research to provide accessible, culturally relevant, and engaging experiences for diverse audiences. Currently, she is working with Dr. Scott Pattison to better understand family interest pathways and how to foster long-term interest in the engineering design process. 

Viviana López Burgos, Bilingual Research Assistant


Viviana López Burgos, MS, is a bilingual (Spanish/English) and bicultural (Puerto Rican/American) researcher who has been working with Dr. Pattison and Dr. Ramos Montañez on research and program activities with families across a variety of projects. In the past she has worked in the fields of environmental science, geography, hydrology and water resources, bilingual education, childcare, and medical interpreting. Viviana has an intuitive ability to connect with participants, bringing her lived experience as a parent and Latinx scholar to her role as researcher and family advocate.



The work of the Center for Equitable Family STEM Learning is made possible through the generous support of the National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, Collins Foundation, Boeing Corporation, University of Notre Dame, Juan Young Trust, and TERC.