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Welcome to NEFSTEM

NEFSTEM is a hub for Science and Technology Innovation by providing support for the improvement of teaching and learning in STEM through research, pedagogical activities, and partnerships.

Mission, Vision and Values

The Northeast Florida Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Center for Education provides educational support to elementary, secondary, and higher education level educators in the Northeast Florida region, and is committed to enhancing community involvement in education programs in the areas of science, educational technology, and mathematics.

NEFSTEM was established with four goals in mind: 

  1. Positioning the Center specifically, and UNF more broadly, as a nexus for STEM teaching and learning that improves STEM educational outcomes in Northeast Florida.
  2. Partnering with other region resources, including scholars, educators, and community members, to build high impact STEM learning opportunities.
  3. Adding to the scientific literature base by engaging in basic and applied research into individuals’ learning and development of expertise in STEM fields.
  4. Using evidence developed from basic and applied research with the broader scientific literature to develop evidenced-based practices to improve teaching and learning across Northeast Florida within formal and informal learning contexts. 

Meet the Team

Headshot of Brian Zoellner

Brian Zoellner

Brian Zoellner serves as the NEFSTEM Executive Director. He is an Associate Professor of Secondary Science Education in the UNF College of Education and Human Services and holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus on secondary science education and educational policy, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In his current role he teaches secondary science methods and foundations courses, supervises student teaching interns, and oversees the science education curriculum. His research interests include the use of technology to enhance educator professional development, STEM curriculum development and implementation, and state and federal education policy related to teachers and their practice. Prior to his graduate studies, he was a high school science teacher and football coach.

Headshot of Meghan Parkinson

Meghan Parkinson

Meghan Parkinson is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in the University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services. Dr. Parkinson earned her PhD in Human Development with an Educational Psychology specialization from the University of Maryland, College Park. She was an ESOL teacher for a federally-funded refugee resettlement program, an Early Childhood Specialist for the Jacksonville Public Library System, and the College of Education and Human Services Assessment and Accreditation Director prior to becoming faculty. Now she teaches foundations and early childhood courses. Dr. Parkinson develops elementary afterschool coding curriculum and supporting teacher professional development in collaboration with 5C Academy.

Headshot of Xavier Rozas

Xavier Rozas

Xavier Rozas joins the NEFSTEM Team following an 18-year career in the Boston Public Schools where he served as a high school digital media instructor, Teacher Leader, Career & Technical Education (CTE) Director, STEM Coordinator and Instructional Coach. Mr. Rozas is a proud member of the COEHS' 30 Strong Ed.D. cohort where he is exploring topics in instructional coaching models, STEM and vocational education. He earned his MA degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Technology, Innovation and Education and The New School of Social Research (NYC) in Media Management.

Partners and Sponsors

A special thanks to our donors and corporate sponsors including: 

  • LEGO
  • Amazon
  • IKEA

Support NEFSTEM and make a gift

If you are interested in being a sponsor, please contact Chaz Runfola. As Interim Director of Development, Chaz works with College alumni and other key stakeholders to garner philanthropic investments to fund the work of COEHS students and faculty. To discuss a gift to the College, please email Chaz at