Doctoral candidate chosen for national fellowship

Benjamin standing outside on WSU campus.
Courtney Benjamin will receive a one-year fellowship to work with the Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE)

By Brandon Chapman, College of Education

A doctoral candidate at Washington State University has been selected for one of 10 highly competitive annual CADRE fellowships.

Courtney Benjamin, who is in the College of Education’s cultural studies and social thought in education program, will receive a one‑year fellowship to work with the Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE), which is supported by the National Science Foundation.

The CADRE Fellows program is in its tenth year and provides capacity-building and networking opportunities for researchers who are in the early stages of their STEM education careers.

Paula Groves Price, who is Benjamin’s advisor, said Benjamin’s research uses critical frameworks such as critical race theory and intersectional theory.

“Courtney’s work pushes institutions and organizations to critically examine the meaning of ‘broadening participation in STEM,’ which is one of NSF’s priorities. The NSF seems to want researchers to use more culturally-responsive and critical frameworks in their research, which is refreshing.

“Because Courtney is coming from cultural studies, and not computer science or engineering or another traditional STEM discipline, I think they were interested in her perspective,” she said.

Pam Bettis, an associate professor of cultural studies, said Benjamin has the ability to not only do the complex research, but also appropriately apply it.

“Courtney has a very keen intellect and is theoretically sophisticated, but she can put those insights to work in a very pragmatic way,” Bettis said. “She is a critical and interdisciplinary thinker which is what is needed in understanding why STEM remains the property of whiteness and masculinity.”

The new Fellows include postdocs, graduate students, and research associates from diverse disciplines, areas of research, and perspectives.

“The CADRE Fellows program offers a unique opportunity for early career researchers to network with and learn from NSF-funded STEM education awardees from across the country,” said Education Development Center’s Catherine McCulloch who helps oversee the program. “It’s an honor to coordinate a program that, in part, is focused on broadening participation within the research community.”

As a fellow, Benjamin will get to attend an in‑person orientation on Nov. 1‑2 in Waltham, Mass. to learn about other fellows’ work, research interests and professional trajectories. She’ll additionally have the opportunity over the year to collaborate with other fellows on small-group assignments designed to meet the needs of early career researchers.

Learn more about the program.

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