Emma Goodwin awarded a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

Photo of Emma teaching her class

Emma Goodwin is just finishing up her first year as a postdoctoral scholar in Sara Brownell’s Biology Education Research Lab and landed a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the rest of her postdoctoral training. 

Originally from northern California, Dr. Goodwin completed her Bachelor degree in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at UCLA. As an undergraduate, she participated in a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) that explored bacteriophage diversity, which was published with her as a coauthor. After graduating, Goodwin stayed at UCLA to work as a CURE lab instructor, where she also got involved in projects to assess student outcomes from pedagogical interventions. It was through her experiences both as a student in the CURE and as a CURE instructor that she decided to pursue advanced study in education research, with a focus on CUREs. She went on to conduct biology education research as a PhD student at Portland State University, where she focused on the impact of CUREs. Goodwin identified experiencing failure as a key component of making CUREs feel authentic and documented inconsistencies in how graduate student teaching assistants engaged with students in a CURE. 

As a postdoctoral scholar working with Biology and Society core faculty Dr. Sara Brownell in the Research for Inclusive STEM Education (RISE) Center at Arizona State University, Goodwin has been conducting science education research at scale on CUREs with the NSF-funded LEAP Scholars program. The LEAP Scholars program awards scholarships to high achieving community college transfer students in the sciences at ASU who demonstrate financial need.  The program engages students in the scientific process in two main ways. Students participate in research in a faculty lab and attend a course-based science education undergraduate research experience. Goodwin has been the lead instructor of a CURE with these community college transfer students in the LEAP Scholars program. Their research team has been exploring the impacts of co-authorship on a publication that stems from a CURE. Additionally, Goodwin has been exploring how student identities can influence their experiences in undergraduate research, specifically focusing on students with disabilities. 

The combination of her interest in undergraduate research experiences and working with the LEAP Scholars led Goodwin to the idea for the winning postdoctoral fellowship proposal, “Toward more inclusive undergraduate research experiences for low socioeconomic students.”  Specifically, she aims to identify the aspects of participating in a research experience that undermine and support students of low socioeconomic status, assess how these aspects impact students’ sense of integration and belonging in science, and to create training resources to provide mentors with tools to support students of low socioeconomic status. 

Authors: Sara Brownell and/or Emma Goodwin