Science & Wellness

UF education technology faculty researcher lands record number of NSF grants

A UF College of Education faculty member has scored four National Science Foundation research grants – with a fifth award pending official announcement – all in the same funding cycle, setting a new record for a COE researcher.

The $4.5 million in total funding awarded Pasha Antonenko, an associate professor of educational technology, will be applied to research projects using a wide range of technologies in learning applications including 3-D scanners and printers to study prehistoric bones, drones to study construction projects, and computerized simulations to study the human body’s reaction to a wide range of stimuli.

Five National Science Foundation awards will set a single season record for grants awarded by a College of Education faculty researcher, according to associate dean of educational research Thomasenia Adams.

“Dr. Antonenko has blazed a trail we have not seen before,” Adams said.

The Ukrainian-born scholar, who specializes in exploring the promise and problems of educational technology including human-computer interaction and the design of learning environments, will work with dozens of collaborators at institutions from Massachusetts to Arizona – as well as the University of Florida – in fields as varied as construction engineering and paleontology.

Here are the projects for which Antonenko has been funded:

  • An exploration of the evolution of flagellate plants, the oldest known land-based fauna 
  • An investigation of how 3-D scanners and printers can impact science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education that will allow middle and high school students to scan bones in three dimensions and upload them to virtual collections that scientists can access worldwide and reproduce using 3-D printers 
  • A study of how multimedia resources in STEM education have benefited community college students 
  • Creation of an application that will allow human physiology students to use a computer-based tool to determine how variables such as exposure to carbon monoxide affect health 
  • Use of drones to study construction and engineering projects that will allow students to use drones equipped with video cameras to view structures under construction to tackle real-world construction issues

Antonenko is principal investigator on three of the NSF grants and co-principal investigator on two, one of which is led by UF’s David Julian, associate professor of biology, and the other by Emily Sessa, UF assistant professor of biology.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency, created by Congress in 1950, that funds nearly one-fourth of all basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. It is the only federal agency that supports all fields of fundamental science and engineering with the exception of the medical sciences.


Charles Boisseau Author
November 10, 2015