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Gary Wright ’22PHD Receives Outstanding Doctoral Research Award from National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST)

Gary Wright in front of a poster

Gary Wright ’22PHD, who graduated from the NC State College of Education in December with a Ph.D. in the Learning and Teaching in STEM: Science Education concentration, has received an Outstanding Doctoral Research Award from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST).

NARST, a global organization dedicated to improving science education through research, presents one award each year for a doctoral dissertation judged to have had the greatest significance in the field of science education. 

“It is an honor to be selected as the recipient of the 2023 National Association for Research in Science Teaching Outstanding Doctoral Research Award,” Wright said. “The Outstanding Doctoral Research Award is a prestigious award for doctoral students within the science education community and being recognized for my dissertation research underscores the importance and necessity of centering LGBTQ identities within science teacher education and teacher education more broadly.” 

Wright’s dissertation explored pre-service science teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about gender and sexual diversity-inclusive science teaching and developed and implemented an intervention as part of a STEM teaching methods course to influence supportive attitudes and beliefs about gender and sexual diversity. 

His study used a mixed-methods approach to engage pre-service science teachers in surveys, reflection prompts and semi-structured interviews to understand their views of gender and sexual diversity as well as the relevance of gender and sexual diversity-science teaching in their future classrooms. 

“Through this work, I generated an illustration of how gender and sexual diversity topics can be integrated in science teacher preparation, including a proposal of steps that science teacher education programs can adopt to prepare science teachers to support and affirm gender and sexual diversity,” Wright said. “This contribution addresses a gap in research, theory and practice concerning gender and sexual diversity inclusivity in science teacher education.” 

Since earning his Ph.D., Wright has been working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of STEM Education in the College of Education, where he serves as a program coordinator for Associate Professor Cameron Denson’s “eSTEM: Enhancing STEM Identity Through eMentoring Experiences” mentoring program as well as an instructor for undergraduate and graduate courses. 

In the fall, he will begin a new position as an assistant professor of science education at the University of Missouri.