Shondricka Burrell, who is pursuing a PhD in education with a concentration in science education, is one of the most recent recipients of the CADRE Fellowship through the National Science Foundation. CADRE, which stands for the Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education, is a fellowship that works to build the capacity of students and early career professionals as they begin to pursue careers in STEM education research. Motivated by her own experience, Shondricka discusses the importance of building access and equity in K-12 education. Shondricka has drawn on her academic studies in geology and education while working closely with Dr. Doug Lombardi, assistant professor of science education, in developing research on how to foster critical thinking and reasoning as it pertains to Earth and space science education.
When asked what inspired her to focus on science education, she explained how science serves as a lens for how we understand the world. “Science is everywhere.” Specifically, she is interested in the thinking processes that occur when students engage in learning science content. She noted that the ability to collect and interpret data is valuable in making informed decisions. Making such informed decisions is the hallmark of not only scientists, but also of insightful learners and citizens. Her research at Temple with Lombardi has examined this through the Model-Evidence Link (MEL) Diagram. As part of a larger team, their research has looked at using this model to build critical thinking and reasoning skills in middle school, high school, and college science classrooms. What’s more, they have found that the resulting student learning outcomes are robust across both resourced and under-resourced school settings. As part of this research, Shondricka has also pursued lines of inquiry around classroom teaching, specifically, how educators can positively influence this learning process through the use of epistemic discourse during instruction. For this work, Shondricka was awarded the 2017 Richard C. Anderson Graduate Student Research award at the annual meeting of the National Consortium for Instruction and Cognition (NCIC) [see photo]. Shondricka’s research has also been recognized by the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) with a recent acceptance as a Jhumki Basu Scholar, and the Geological Society of America (GSA) with award of a graduate student research grant.
Now, as Shondricka embarks on this new journey as a CADRE Fellow, she is able to start to examine the questions that interest her the most about how to leverage a student’s immediate community environment to support interest development, self-efficacy, and transformative learning in science. In considering her future as a CADRE fellow, Shondricka is most eager to be a part of a research community that collaborates and networks to build upon the growing landscape of the education research field. She is excited that she will have guidance to convert her abstract ideas into concrete, actionable steps--an essential function of the CADRE Fellowship. She is grateful for the support and mentorship that faculty have provided her as she moves forward in this process. She has also been thankful to have the flexibility and autonomy to pursue the areas of research that have interested her and looks forward to continuing to contribute to education research.
After graduating from Temple, she hopes to use science education as an avenue of engagement for historically marginalized communities. She wants students to understand that not only can they be scientists, but that science can be used for problem solving and advocacy. Shondricka hopes her work is a positive contribution to science education, students, teachers, and communities in the future.
Photo Caption: Shondricka Burrell and advisor Dr. Doug Lombardi as Shondricka receives the NCIC 2017 Richard C. Anderson Graduate Student Research Award in San Antonio, Texas.