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Tennessee STEM Education Center

Isaac Test

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In my second year as an Assistant Professor, I faced a stark reality: I had ambition but lacked expertise for a major funding opportunity. A campus colleague introduced me to TSEC, marking a pivotal career turn. At TSEC, my grant writing skills were quickly challenged, revealing my gaps and leading to an unexpected opportunity: becoming an Associate Director at TSEC, promising professional and personal growth. Within three years, TSEC’s mentorship helped me successfully submit two federal grant proposals as PI and assist in others as Co-PI for MTSU awards and subawards, collectively securing over $30 million. Beyond numbers, TSEC was where I enhanced project management and leadership skills, sharing ideas and building a community that drove change. TSEC became more than a team; it was a community of like-minded individuals, essential for navigating academia’s complexities. With the experiences, lessons, and connections made, I’m better equipped for future challenges. I don’t know where else I could have found that community across MTSU. (Assistant Professor, CBAS)

Before Greg knocked on my office door, I was a methodologist, primarily working on simulations on my computer with limited interaction with people. I saw myself as an introvert and an independent researcher. When I opened the door for Greg, things changed drastically, far beyond my expectations.

I started with TSEC aiming to contribute my expertise in educational measurement, study design, and data analysis. I collaborated with researchers from various disciplines in TSEC, offering consulting services based on my knowledge. Soon after, Greg and other TSEC colleagues encouraged me to start writing proposals. With their incredible support, I landed two USDA NIFA grants with other TSEC assistant/associate directors, totaling $1.2 million, to conduct research that would benefit agriculture education throughout Tennessee and surrounding states.

Becoming a member of TSEC proved to be a game-changer for my career. It’s not just an office, it’s a buzzing hub of collaboration and creativity. I enjoyed the friendly faces and lively conversations about our shared goals, research interests, exciting ideas that would make real-world impacts.

Greg is a great mentor. TSEC, with Greg’s leadership and vision, brought my career to another level, transforming me from an introvert and independent researcher into someone who embraces collaboration, though not always an extrovert! My valuable experience at TSEC is vital in securing my current position at James Madison University.

Joining TSEC has undoubtedly shaped my growth as a researcher. Although I’ve moved on, our collaborative efforts continue. I hold onto my TSEC experience with deep appreciation, recognizing the immense contribution it made to my professional development.

(Associate Professor, CBHS)

Contact Us


Tennessee STEM Education Center
820 Fairview Avenue
Fairview Building, Suite 102
MTSU Box #82
Murfreesboro, TN 37132