Newly Elected Representatives to CUR’s 2022-2023 Executive Board

Beth A. Cunningham, PhD (American Association of Physics Teachers), Maria Iacullo-Bird, PhD (Pace University), and Charlotte K. Simmons, PhD (University of Central Oklahoma), have been re-elected to serve as council representatives on CUR’s executive board. Kelly Mack, PhD (American Association of Colleges and Universities) has been elected as a general representative on CUR’s executive board. These positions assist in providing guidance to CUR and its members while supporting CUR’s mission and strategic goals.  

Cunningham is the CEO of the American Association of Physics Teachers in College Park, Maryland. She was also named a Fellow for the American Physical Society in 2021 as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2019. Cunningham has authored over 30 articles and publications including the article entitled, “Distributed Peer Mentoring Networking to Support Isolate Faculty” published in The Journal of Faculty Development which was co-authored in 2021. Cunningham has been a member of CUR since the mid-1990s, served on the CUR Physics and Astronomy division as a councilor since 2000, and has been on the executive board as a general representative since 2019. Cunningham will be serving a three-year term as a council representative on the executive board. 

Cunningham stated, “I am thrilled to be able to continue my service on the CUR E-Board as one of the Council Representatives. CUR has been a part of my professional development since I was an early career faculty member.  It is the organization where I have been able to network with like-minded individuals who understand the importance of undergraduate research in the development of students and share experiences in our growth as mentors.  I hope to contribute to the continued evolution of CUR to better support faculty, students, and administrators and in becoming a more inclusive and diverse professional society.  My role as the CEO of the American Association of Physics Teachers provides me with the opportunity to support physics educators and their growth and development as mentors for student researchers which is in alignment with CUR’s goals.”

Iacullo-Bird is the Assistant Provost for Research and Clinical Associate Professor of History at Pace University in New York, New York. Iacullo-Bird has authored several publications including her upcoming article to be published in May 2022 in the Cambridge Handbook of Undergraduate Research by the Cambridge University Press entitled, “Undergraduate Research in the United States of America.” She is an active member of many associations including the American Historical Association, Association of American Colleges and Universities, and National Council on Public History. Iacullo-Bird is a councilor for the CUR Arts and Humanities division, and her re-election as a council representative on the CUR executive board will allow her to serve an additional three years.

“I am honored for the opportunity to serve a second term on CUR’s Executive Board.” Said Maria Iacullo-Bird. “It is a privilege to continue this leadership role and contribute to strategic decision-making to advance CUR’s mission and vision as the national voice for undergraduate research. My re-election to the executive board will support my advocacy work with congressional offices, federal endowments, foundations, and professional disciplinary associations on behalf of undergraduate research.”

Simmons is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma. Simmons has served on the Oklahoma Established Program Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Broader Impact Committee and the Oklahoma IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Deans’ Council. Simmons has been an advocate for grants and is currently a co-PI on the REU Site: Pollinators, Climate Change and the Aegean Archipelago, funded by the National Science Foundation (2021-2024) for over $350K. She has served as a CUR Councilor for the Mathematics and Computer Sciences Division since 2015. Simmons has been an active participant on the CUR executive board since 2016 and with her re-election as a council representative, will extend her term another three years.

“I am so excited to have the opportunity to continue to support an organization that had such an integral role in my professional development since early in my academic career,” said Simmons. “I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow Board members who are committed to advancing the organization’s mission and goals.”

Mack is the Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education and Executive Director for Project Kaleidoscope at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Mack has authored numerous publications and received several grants for her STEM research. She is an active member in multiple professional societies including the Society of STEM Women of Color in which she co-founded. Mack has been advocating for undergraduate research since her early career stages including at HBCU where she encouraged and increased the representation of Howard undergraduate students to attend CUR Conferences. This will be Mack’s first position on the CUR executive board as a general council representative.

Mack stated, “I feel honored to have been elected to serve as a member of the CUR board. This extraordinary organization was so instrumental in shaping my early career success as a faculty member. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to not only pay forward to the CUR community all that I’ve learned from it, but to also apply my learnings, leadership, and lived experience to ensuring that meaningful undergraduate research is desired for, and designed in ways that serve, racially minoritized students and those of other marginalized groups within American higher education.”

Lindsay Currie, CUR executive officer, stated: “It is exciting to see the executive board continue to add such impressive individuals with diverse backgrounds. During these turbulent times, it is critical for the association leadership to be respected, thoughtful, nimble, and steadfast. These leaders have all of that and more. These individuals all hold a passion for CUR that will act as a NorthStar in direction setting as we continue to achieve CUR’s mission to advance undergraduate research.”

Founded in 1978, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity. Among the many activities and networking opportunities that CUR provides, the organization also offers support for the professional growth of faculty and administrators through expert-designed institutes, conferences, and a wide-range of volunteer positions. The CUR community, made up of nearly 700 institutions and 13,000 individuals, continues to provide a platform for discussion and other resources related to mentoring, connecting, and creating relationships centered around undergraduate research. CUR’s advocacy efforts are also a large portion of its work as they strive to strengthen support for undergraduate research. Its continued growth in connections with representatives, private foundations, government agencies, and campuses world-wide provides value to its members and gives voice to undergraduate research. CUR is committed to inclusivity and diversity in all of its activities and our community.

CUR focuses on giving a voice to undergraduate research with learning through doing. It provides connections to a multitude of campuses and government agencies, all while promoting networking and professional growth to its community.