Midwest Hub photo collage

Meet the Midwest Hub

Dr. Jeff Traiger is a Senior Research Associate for the newly created UMKC Office of Research Development responsible for organizing the UMKC’s campus and Midwest Hub activities for the NSF TAPDINTO-STEM Alliance. Jeff’s career at UMKC includes serving a decade in the career services office and for the Missouri State Career Options Project and later as Assistant Dean of Students before becoming an Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management responsible for student conduct, counseling, health, testing, career services, and disability services and later serving as the campus chief student affairs personnel officer.  Jeff has created and taught a variety of for-credit classes and workshops conducted research on bullying behavior in higher education, employee engagement, and career development. He held a national board mental health counselor certification and currently Kansas teaching license in secondary social studies.

Jeff Traiger
UMKC logo

University of Missouri – Kansas City

  • Dr. Jeff Traiger, Senior Research Associate, Office of Research Development, serves as Midwest Hub Lead and lead of the hub research study.
  • Dr. Fengpeng Sun, Assistant Professor of Earth System Science, serves as Campus Lead and STEM faculty mentor.
  • Dr. Jacob Marszalek, Professor and Interim Associate Dean of Education, assists with hub research studies.
Little Priest Tribal College

Little Priest Tribal College

  • Mark Keck, Assistant Professor of Diversified Agriculture, serves as Campus Lead and STEM faculty mentor.
  • Brenda Conway, Director of Grants and Institutional Contracts, assists as STEM faculty member.
university of wisconsin milwaukee

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

  • Dr. John A. Berges, Professor of Biological Sciences, serves as Campus Lead and STEM faculty mentor.
  • Dr. Erica Young, Professor of Biological Sciences, serves as STEM faculty mentor.
  • Shannon Aylesworth, Director of Accessibility Resources, assists as STEM team member.
Wichita State University

Wichita State University

  • Dr. Nils Hakansson, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, serves as Campus Lead and STEM faculty mentor.
Milwaukee Area Technical College

Milwaukee Area Technical College

  • Dr. Christine Ryan, Co-Chair, Biological Sciences at Mequon Campus, serves as Co-Campus Lead
  • Dr. Edward J. (Jim) Kerschen, Co-Department Chair and Instructor of Microbiology/Biology, serves as Co-Campus Lead

The Midwest Hub will focus on the unique issues faced by midwestern and Indigenous students with disabilities.  In particular, the research will examine how the student success supports each institution implements either aids or does not aid in reaching each critical juncture for students with disabilities: access, entry, progress, completion, and transition. While Completion by Design’s Loss/Momentum Framework initially focused on community college systems, it is now used to support educators in designing each step of students’ pathways to completion by examining loss points and momentum strategies. Knowledge gleaned from the study will be available for TAPDINTO-STEM Alliance partners for mid-course adjustments and ultimately to discover how well-known interventions like mentoring, applied in combination with other success programs, lead to innovations that improve degree completions for SWD STEM majors.

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