The CADRE Fellows program provides professional growth opportunities for early career researchers in the field of STEM education. Through a series of capacity-building activities, the program offers Fellows the opportunity to gain insight into what it takes to be successful and effective in this field, become more familiar with NSF practices, and network with DRK-12 awardees and other early career researchers from across the country. As part of the program, CADRE Fellows:
- Attend an in-person orientation;
- Participate in a series of interactive webinars led by panels of DRK-12 awardees and other STEM education researchers;
- Take advantage of informal networking opportunities;
- Collaborate with other Fellows on activities designed to meet the needs of early career researchers; and
- Meet NSF program directors, learn about the NSF proposal review process, and participate in a mock proposal review led by an NSF program director.
Program activities focus on four strands: exploring career pathways, research design and dissemination, building a community of colleagues and collaborators, and research funding. See the 2019-20 Calendar of Activities to learn more.
CADRE Fellows are doctoral students or similar early career professionals at a similar stage of their career who are recommended for the program by PIs or co-PIs of active DRK-12 projects. Each year, CADRE accepts applications in August-September and the program runs from October-June.
As of spring 2019, 108 early career researchers have participated in the CADRE Fellows program. They have reported many benefits from participating in the program, such as:
- A better understanding of NSF funding mechanisms and the proposal review process;
- Professional contact with other STEM education researchers;
- Awareness of different career opportunities in STEM education, particularly opportunities at non-academic institutions;
- Increased confidence in participating in professional conversations;
- Increased knowledge related to writing and publishing; and,
- A better perspective of what it means to be a STEM education professional.
Fellows continually report that one of the primary benefits of the program (in addition to learning about research funding and the NSF context) is the opportunity to engage and build community with peers from other institutions. In our evaluation of the program, Fellows have reported that they collaborate or communicate with other Fellows after program completion. This suggests that the CADRE Fellows program is establishing a sustainable network of alumni in the field of STEM education research.
Fellows from previous years found the program to be a significant professional development experience. As noted by Fellows in the past,
“Being a CADRE Fellow has bolstered my confidence in general and in my ability to be a funded STEM Ed researcher. I met so many helpful PIs who pointed me toward colleagues of theirs at the university where I accepted a faculty position.”
“I think that I feel more confident to approach other researchers and faculty members who have similar interests across different domains (science, math, and technology) and engage in dialogue with them. I think this will help my confidence in the long run.”
“I think the networking and ‘inside look’ at grant writing for NSF provides me with great advantages for my future career.”
“The whole experience definitely has helped and will continue to help me in building my career as a researcher and educator. I am very impressed by the experiences we were given and the connections with professionals in the field that were made available to us.”
CADRE Fellows Network
CADRE Fellows have represented academic and non-academic institutions across the country.