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NMSU graduate student named National Science Foundation CADRE fellow

Amanda LaTasha Armstrong, a doctoral candidate at New Mexico State University, has been selected as a fellow of the National Science Foundation Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) Fellowship program, which provides professional growth opportunities for early career researchers whose work centers on diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM education.


Woman standing at White Sands National Park
Amanda LaTasha Armstrong, a doctoral candidate at New Mexico State University, has been selected as a fellow of the National Science Foundation CADRE Fellowship program. Armstrong is a graduate student in the NMSU College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and is also a graduate assistant in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences’ Learning Games Lab. (Courtesy photo)

Armstrong is a graduate student in the NMSU College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and is also a graduate assistant in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences’ Learning Games Lab. Her research areas include early childhood education, learning design and technology, and multicultural education. She also has an interest in applying research and theory to the design of educational materials and teaching and learning practices.

“Being a CADRE fellow will expand my professional learning community to include more scholars within a variety of STEM fields to help me learn new perspectives, identify unintentional gaps in my work and refine my areas of research,” Armstrong said.

For the past five years, Armstrong has been a graduate assistant in the Department of Innovative Media Research & Extension, where she works as the games lab coordinator in the Learning Games Lab. In this role Armstrong leads user-testing sessions of products in development and teaches summer sessions with youth on elements of design.

“Amanda has always been able to see the bigger picture. She applies research from different fields to create tools which make learning better. She’s asking important questions about representation, and learning design and teaching approaches, so that all learners can be safe in what and how they learn,” said Barbara Chamberlin, director of the Learning Games Lab. “When we talk about STEM learning, we don’t often discuss early childhood education. I’m delighted that Amanda can bring her expertise in young learners as well as her knowledge in multicultural education and technology to work with other fellows at NSF.”

For her Ph.D. dissertation, Armstrong combines Black feminism and child-computer interaction as theoretical frameworks to examine racial and gender traits portrayed by main and secondary characters within preschool learning apps.

Armstrong wants to continue her research informing educators in bridging social justice and educational technology to enhance teaching and learning. In doing so, she hopes to create safe spaces for students to learn about the design of technology and media. Additionally, her work supports developers in designing products that are considerate and inclusive of children’s and families’ diverse identities.

“The fellowship will provide essential knowledge and insight for crafting proposals and projects that will support young students from diverse communities in learning about technology and media, educators in intentionally integrating technology in their settings, and developers in designing tools that are considerate of representation and diversity,” Armstrong said.

The NSF CADRE Fellows program is offered to doctoral students working on their dissertation. More information on the fellows program can be found at http://cadrek12.org/cadre-fellows.