Pioneering research in the Computing Education Research Engaging All Learners Lab investigates innovative strategies to enhance learning and engagement among middle and high-school-aged students underrepresented in computing. Through a multidisciplinary approach that combines pedagogical theory, curriculum development, and cutting-edge technology, Dr. Cateté’s CEREAL Lab delves into the effectiveness of interactive coding platforms, collaborative virtual environments, and gamified programming exercises in fostering deeper comprehension and sustained interest in computer science. Dr. Cateté’s research not only addresses the challenges of inclusivity and diversity in the field of computer science but also offers actionable insights for educators and administrators to create dynamic and accessible learning experiences, ultimately shaping the future of computer science education.

Research Areas

  • K-12 Computer Science Education
  • Curriculum Development, Scaffolding
  • Broadening Participation in Computing

Active Funding

AI Play Start Date: 05/01/2022; Amount: $1,166,886
Support for the project has been provided by the National Science Foundation through grant DRL 2148680Engaging Rural Students in Artificial Intelligence to Develop Pathways for Innovative Computing Careers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field of computer science that focuses on the design of computing systems that solve problems involving human-like capabilities including reasoning, learning, and natural language. Engaging middle-grade students, especially those from underserved populations, in artificial intelligence through the creation of lifelike AI for digital games offers a promising approach to encouraging students to pursue innovative computing careers. The AI Play project will engage students in a broad range of computing activities centered on creating AI for games. The project will see the development of a learning environment and curriculum that introduces artificial intelligence into middle school emphasizing connections to the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards. The AI Play project will host a series of five-day camps for underserved populations where students will engage in hands-on learning activities under the guidance of teachers and undergraduate computer scientists, who will serve as mentors and role models as the students engage in artificial intelligence, while designing and developing AI for games. The final year of the project will see an evaluation of the AI Play program and its impact on students’ learning and interest in artificial intelligence.

Computer Science Pathways Start Date: 01/25/2022; Amount: $59,917
Support for the project has been provided by the Center for Inclusive Computing at Northeastern University under grant Computer Science Pathways: A Diagnostic Grant to Support Retention and Persistence.

The NC State Computer Science Department had doubled undergraduate enrollments and the percentage of women in our program between 2010 and 2020. With this growth, we are challenged with understanding the persistence and retention of our students, particularly women. The goal of the diagnostic grant program is to collect and analyze demographic data to better understand where our students are coming from, and if they leave the program, where they go. The results of the data analysis will provide insights into how we can better support our students to increase persistence, retention, and success.

SRCA RET Start Date: 04/15/2021; Amount: $598,913.00
Support for the project has been provided by the National Science Foundation through grant CNS 2055528RET Site: Socially Relevant Computing and Analytics.

This Research Experience for Teachers (RET) site at North Carolina State University focuses on socially relevant computing and analytics. In-service teachers are recruited from school districts serving large populations of underrepresented students and are placed in teams along with pre-service teachers and computer science graduate students. This Affinity Research Group model immerses participants in a vibrant community to contribute to ongoing research in socially relevant computing and analytics. Research projects include serious games, interface design, critical infrastructures, novice programming environments, intelligent tutoring systems, machine learning, and data analytics. The RET Site also works with participants to develop curricular modules linked to their research experiences.

The Early Research Scholars Program (ERSP) is a group-based, dual-mentored research structure designed to provide a supportive and inclusive research experience using equity-based practices to grow the confidence and foundational skills of early-career students, particularly African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and women. For this NSF sub-award from UC San Diego, we plan to add ERSP to our course catalog and start implementing it in Fall 2021. As part of their full-year apprenticeship, teams of students will learn about graduate school, be matched to research mentors, observe the mentor’s lab, participate in the ERSP course, and propose an independent research project.

STARS Research Start Date: 10/01/2018; Active Funding: $430,098.00
Support for the project has been provided by the National Science Foundation through grants CNS 1840686EAGER: Collaborative Research: Enhancing Impact of Broadening Participation in Computing Efforts through the STARS Cohort Conference Attendance Program, CNS 2023400, Collaborative: The STARS Aligned: How the STARS Computing Corps Broadens Participation in Computing and CNS 2137317Collaborative Research: BPC-AE: STARS: Catalyzing Action-Oriented Academic Communities for Broadening Participation in Computing.

The STARS Computing Corps is a national alliance with a mission to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in computing within institutions of higher education and consists of several initiatives. In particular, STARS aims to increase computing persistence and promote career advancement for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, with a focus on addressing systemic and social barriers faced by those from underrepresented groups in computing. The STARS Aligned research project seeks to investigate the impact of participation in STARS activities through analysis of alumni interviews, multi-year surveys, and other sources of data. The STARS Ignite program helps faculty prepare to support diverse cohorts of students to attend diversity-oriented conferences, providing scholarships and activities that build community, and sense of belonging, and ignite efforts for diversity, equity, and inclusion within their own computing departments. Through workshops, webinars, and online resources, Ignite helps cohorts to follow up on what they’ve learned at the conference and through the Ignite program to design and implement projects that address their own local context and needs and to take action to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in computing in their home computing department.

CS Frontiers Start Date: 05/01/2020; Amount: $555,000
Support for the project has been provided by the National Science Foundation through grant DRL 1949492Collaborative Research: Beyond CS Principles: Engaging Female High School Students in New Frontiers of Computing.

Building on the foundations set by the AP Computer Science (CS) Principles course, this project seeks to dramatically expand access, especially for high school girls, to the most exciting and emerging frontiers of computing, such as distributed computation, the Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity, and machine learning, as well as other 21st century skills required to productively leverage computational methods and tools in virtually every profession. Creating pathways that stimulate high school learners’ interest in advanced topics with the goal of building a diverse, gender-balanced, future-ready workforce is a crucial and impactful imperative addressed in this work.

Prior Funding

Early Scholars Program Start Date: 09/11/2020; End Date: 8/31/2023; Amount: $20,000
Support for the project has been provided by University of California – San Diego via National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. CNS 1339335 and DUE 1821521Collaborative Research: Scaling the Early Research Scholars Program.

EcoCS Start Date: 12/01/2018; End Date: 11/30/2022; Amount: $497,176
Support for the project has been provided by the National Science Foundation through grant DRL 1837439Collaborative Research: Developing a Systemic, Scalable Model to Broaden Participation in Middle School Computer Science.

Together with Reedy Creek Magnet Middle School and the Friday Institute, we are partnering to develop a culture of computational thinking (CT) within Reedy Creek’s digital sciences magnet program. Starting in 2016, our research team has provided repeated and varied PD around Snap coding and CT. This relationship has developed into a Research Practice Partnership where teacher leaders from the school and other administrators work together to lead CT integration. We are also trying to replicate our model for integrating CT at new schools in the Charlotte Mecklenburg school district together encompassing the largest two school districts in NC.

Infusing Computing Start Date: 09/01/2017; End Date: 12/31/2022; Amount: $861,773
Support for the project has been provided by the National Science Foundation through grant DRL 1742351Collaborative Research: Integrating computing in STEM: Designing, developing, and investigating a team-based professional development model for middle- and high-school teachers.

Starting in 2017, we have partnered with faculty from the Citadel to improve computing learning across North Carolina and South Carolina by delivering computing-infused, STEM-focused professional development to middle and high school teachers. Each summer 120-160 teachers attended the Infusing Computing PD with support from returning teachers as facilitators and high school intern code helpers. The research team continues support throughout the academic year through webinars, class assistance, and code help.

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