CSSE doctoral student named CADRE Fellow for K-12 research

Published: Dec 14, 2017 3:00:00 PM
Media Contact: Chris Anthony, chris.anthony@auburn.edu, 334.844.3447

Rachelle Minor, a doctoral student in Auburn University’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, has been named a Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education, or CADRE, Fellow.

The CADRE Fellows program is a competitive fellowship designed to be a capacity-building experience for early career researchers and developers who are members of the National Science Foundation’s Discovery Research K-12 projects.

Rachelle Minor
Rachelle Minor

Minor is a full-time graduate research assistant working with Jakita Thomas, Philpott-WestPoint Stevens Associate Professor, on the project, “Supporting Computational Algorithmic Thinking (SCAT) in African-American Middle-School Aged Girls.” The NSF CAREER project explores the relationship between self-efficacy and the development of computational algorithmic thinking skills over time. Minor is also a co-facilitator for the free enrichment program, SCAT, designed to expose middle school girls to game design.

“I am more than excited to be a part of this fellowship program, especially since I am the only first-year Ph.D student selected this year,” Minor said. “I have been given the opportunity to network with other researchers at all levels, working in a diverse range of fields from academia, corporate and nonprofit organizations. I will be able to learn and receive feedback from the top experts in the learning sciences/STEM education fields.”

Minor said she has been working in the SCAT program for three years and is excited to have the support of CADRE and Auburn to continue cutting-edge research in a field that has yet to be defined or thoroughly researched.

“In the future, I aspire to not only increase diversity in computer science and STEM-related fields, but to also provide methods to decrease the learning curve as more producers of technology emerge and evolve even faster than before,” she said.

“I am incredibly excited about Rachelle receiving the CADRE Fellowship,” Thomas said. “She is extremely focused, engaged, passionate and dedicated to research, and she has expressed that her current pursuits of a Ph.D. in computer science are due, in large part, to her research experiences to-date with the SCAT program. In fact, Rachelle’s focus is sharper than any student I have had the pleasure of advising, mentoring or working with in my career.”

In addition to the learning sciences, Minor’s research interests include affective computing, human computer interaction and artificial intelligence. She is currently working on developing assessment tools and educational assistive technology to concurrently measure and improve levels of self-efficacy during the computational thinking development process. 

“The CSSE department is proud to count students like Rachelle amongst its graduate student body,” said N. Hari Narayanan, John H. and Gail Watson Professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering.

CADRE Fellows learn about K-12 research beyond their own projects and network with researchers and developers from across the country. In addition, they are given opportunities to gain insights into the NSF and to pursue opportunities through mentorship, collaboration with other fellows and engagement in webinars, conference calls and presentations.

Learn more about the fellowships at http://cadrek12.org/cadre-fellows.

- Written by Carol Nelson