About Us

The STEM Family Travel Initiative was conceived by Maria Santore, Rebecca Spencer, and Barbara Pearson at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  The program was made a reality through the support of Elsevier and several UMass Centers.


Maria Santore

Maria Santore, Director of the STEM Family Travel Initiatve and Principal Investigator for the Elsevier grant funding SFTI. Professor of Polymer Science at the University of Massachusetts, leads a research program at the interdisciplinary crossroads of colloids and polymer materials, with broad utility for complex fluids and adhesives, especially biomaterial and pharmaceutical applications.  Santore is active in several professional societies and is a Senior Editor of Langmuir, the ACS Journal of Surfaces Colloids.


Rebecca Spencer

Rebecca Spencer, Co-Director of the STEM Family Travel Initiative. Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, conducts research on the intersection between cognition and action.  Part of her work addresses the benefits of sleep on learning and how this relationship changes with age in adults.

hBarbara Pearson

Barbara Pearson, Ph.D., is STEM FTI’s program administrator from the office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.  Under the VCRE, Pearson assists faculty with broader impacts of their proposal development, and has specialized in the development of peer-to-peer mentoring programs.  Prior to her administrative duties, she conducted research on linguistics and her book “Raising a Bilingual Child” was recently published by Random House.