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Sarah Carrier

Associate Professor, Science Education

ELM Graduate Program Coordinator, Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor

317 F Poe Hall



As an elementary school teacher for 17 years, I earned both my Master’s degree in science education and my Ph.D. in science education with a research emphasis in environmental education from the University of Florida. In 2007, following two years as an Assistant Professor at Auburn University, I was privileged to come to North Carolina State University to help launch our new STEM-focused Department of Elementary Education (ELM), beginning with the undergraduate program and then building both the Master and the Elementary Education in Mathematics and Science (EEMS) doctoral programs. I appreciate my work with both undergraduate and graduate science education students, and I serve as the ELM Graduate Program Coordinator of Elementary Education in the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences. I recognize science as an important vehicle for global knowledge and unity, and I value my collaborations in our national and international science education communities.

Research Description

My work with undergraduate pre-service in-service teachers examines expanding their visions as science teachers and supporting their communication of science content and practices with children. My research has focused on environmental education, climate change, and science instruction using the outdoors as a setting for teaching and learning, including schoolyard science. This work continues to examine strategies that contribute to elementary students' environmental science knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. I am a co-Principal Investigator for NSF-funded Supporting Elementary Teacher Learning for Effective School-Based Citizen Science (TL4CS). This project is a collaboration with Horizon Research, Inc. and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. My work includes important collaborations on research that support interdisciplinary connections of literacy and science that build teacher and children's science communication. I served as a co-Principal Investigator for NSFfunded Accomplished Teachers of Mathematics and Science (ATOMS) grant project. This longitudinal study examined elementary teachers' development and practices as science teachers. Through this research, I explored teachers developing identities as teachers of science and examined their visions of effective science instruction. My work bridges formal and informal science education, building strong bases for life- long science learning.


Ph.D. in Science Education with Environmental Education focus from the University of Florida in 1999
M.Ed. in Science Education from the University of Florida in 1992
B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida in 1988

Curriculum Vitae


Selected Scholarly Publications

  • Carrier, S.J., Grifenhagen, J.F., & Scharen, D. (in press). The language of science: Touch, talk, text. Science and Children, (accepted June 11, 2020).
  • *Carrier, S.J., Jones, M.G., Ennes, M., Madden, L., Lee, T., Cayton, E., Chesnutt, K., Huff, P., Phillips, L., & Bellino, M. (2020). Stereotypes of scientists: Seeds of progress and recommendations for elementary teachers. Science Educator, 27(2), 1-7.
  • Carrier, S.J. & Grifenhagen, J.F. (2020). Academic vocabulary support for elementary science pre-service teachers. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 31(2), 115-133.
  • *Jones, M. G., Lee, T., Chesnutt, K., Carrier, S., Ennes, M., Cayton, E., Madden, L., & Huff, P. (2019). Enclothed cognition: Putting lab coats to the test. International Journal of Science Education, 41(14), 1962-1976. DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2019.1649504.
  • *Lawson, D., Stevenson, K.T., Peterson, M.N. Carrier, S.J., Strnad, R. Seekamp, E. (2019). Children can foster climate change concern among their parents. Nature Climate Change, 9(6), 458-462. DOI: 10.1038/s41558-019-463-3. Cited by: 25.
  • *Stevenson, K.T., Peterson, M.N., Carrier, S., Strnad, R.L., Olson, R. E., Szczytko, R. E. (2019). Making the case for a null effects framework in environmental education and K-12 academic outcomes: When ‘just as good’ is a great thing. Frontiers. DOI: 10.3389/fcomm.2018.00059. Cited by: 2. Impact factor 6.4.
  • *Lawson, D., Stevenson, K.T., Peterson, N., Carrier, S.J. (2018). Evaluating climate change behaviors and concern in the family context. Environmental Education Research, 25(5), 678-690. DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2018.1564248. Cited by: 4. Impact factor 2.255
  • Thomson, M.M., & DiFrancesca, D., Carrier, S., Lee, C. &, Walkowiak, T. (2018). Changes in teaching efficacy beliefs among elementary preservice teachers from a STEM-focused program: Case study analysis. Journal of Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership, 2(1), 29-43.
  • *Lawson, D., Stevenson, K.T., Peterson, M.N. Carrier, S.J., Strnad, R. Seekamp, E. (2018). Intergenerational Learning: Are children key in spurring climate action? Global Environmental Change, 53, 204-208. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.10.002. Cited by: 12. Impact factor 9.05.
  • *Carrier, S.J. Whitehead, A.N., Minogue, J., & Kimble, R.S. (2018). Novice elementary teachers’ developing visions of effective science teaching. Research in Science Education, 1-25. DOI: 10.1007/s11165-018-9742-7. Cited by: 18. Impact Factor 1.78
  • *Szczytko, R., Carrier, S., & Stevenson, K.T. (2018). Impacts of outdoor environmental education on attention, behavior, and learning outcomes for students with emotional, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities. Frontiers. DOI: 10.3389/feduc.2018.00046. Cited by: 3. Impact factor 6.4.
  • * Carrier, S.J., Hoyle, K.S., & Luginbuhl, S.C. (2017). Bringing informal science education to elementary preservice teacher preparation: Expanding the vision. Journal of Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership, 1(3), 32-37.
  • *Carrier, S.J., Whitehead, A.N., Walkowiak, T.A., Luginbuhl, S.C., & Thomson, M.M. (2017). The development of elementary teacher identities as teachers of science. International Journal of Science Education, 39(13), 1733-1754. DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2017.1351648. Cited by 19. Impact factor 1.85
  • Sondel, B., Koch, J., Walkowiak, T., & Carrier, S. (2017). Toward a theory of teacher education for justice-oriented STEM. Catalysts, 7(1), 38-52. Cited by: 5. Impact factor 2.0
  • *Adams, E. L., Carrier, S. J., Minogue, J., Porter, S. R, McEachin, A., Walkowiak, T. A., & Zulli, R.A. (2017). The development and validation of the Instructional Practices Log in Science (IPL-S). International Journal of Science Education, 39(3), 335-357. Cited by: 4.
  • *Thomson, M.M., & DiFrancesca, D., Carrier, S., Lee, C. &, Walkowiak, T. (2016). Teaching efficacy: Exploring relationships between mathematics and science self-efficacy beliefs, PCK, and domain knowledge among pre-service teachers in the United States, Teacher Development, 21(1), 1-20. DOI: 10.1080/13664530.2016.1204355. Cited by: 2.
  • Carrier, S.J., Faulkner, V.N., & Bottomley, L. (2016). Walking the walk: An integrated STEM project for elementary teachers. Journal of Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership, 1(1), 25-29. Cited by: 1.
  • *Tugurian, L.P., & Carrier, S.J. (2016). Children’s environmental identity and the elementary science classroom. Journal of Environmental Education, 48(3), 143-153. Cited by: 25. DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2016.1191415.
  • *Stevenson, K.T., Carrier, S.J., Peterson, M.N. (2014). Evaluating strategies for inclusion of environmental literacy in the elementary school classroom. Electronic Journal of Science Education. 18(8), 1-17. Cited by: 21.
  • *Stevenson, K. T., Peterson, M. N., Bondell, H. D., Moore, S. E., & Carrier, S. J. (2014). Overcoming skepticism with education: Interacting influences of worldview and climate change knowledge on perceived climate change risk among adolescents. Climatic Change. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-014-1228-7. Cited by: 119.
  • *Stevenson, K.T., Peterson, M.N., Carrier, S., Strnad, R., Bondell, H.D., Kirby-Hathaway, T., & Moore, S.E. (2014). Role of significant life experiences in building environmental knowledge and behavior among middle school students. Journal of Environmental Education, 43(3), 163-177. Cited by: 54.
  • *Carrier, S.J., Thomson, M.M., & Tugurian, L.P., Stevenson, K.T. (2014). Elementary science education in classrooms and outdoors: Stakeholder views, gender, ethnicity, and testing. International Journal of Science Education, 36(13), 2195-2220. Cited by: 27.
  • *Albert, J. L., Blanchard, M. R., Kier, M. W., Carrier, S. J., & Gardner, G. E. (2014). Supporting teachers’ technology integration: A descriptive analysis of social and teaching presence in technical support sessions. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 22(2), 137-165. Cited by: 6.
  • *McIntyre, E., Walkowiak, T., Thomson, M., Carrier, S., Lee, C., Grieve, E., Lowe, R., Maher, M., Difrancesca, D. (2013). A STEM-focused elementary teacher preparation program: Student and alumni perceptions. Teacher Education and Practice, 26(4), 670-687. Cited by: 5.
  • *Carrier, S.J. & Rex, E. (2013). Learning the ropes about electricity. Science and Children, 50(7), 36-39.
  • *Carrier, S.J., Tugurian, L.P. & Thomson, M.M. (2013). Elementary science indoors and out: Teachers, time, and testing. Research in Science Education, 43(5), 2059-2083. Cited by: 72.
  • Carrier, S. (2013). Elementary preservice teachers’ science vocabulary: Knowledge and application. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24(2), 405-425. Cited by: 24.
  • Carrier, S. (2012). Climate change education in elementary school. Journal for Activist Science & Technology Education, 4(1), 40-44.
  • *Carrier, S., Scott, C., & Hall, D. (2012). Soundsational science. Science Activities, 49(1), 1-6. Cited by: 2.
  • Carrier, S., Wiebe, E. N., Gray, P., & Teachout, D. (2011). BioMusic in the classroom: Interdisciplinary elementary science and music curriculum development. School Science and Mathematics, 111(8), 425-434. Cited by: 24.
  • Carrier, S. (2011). Effective strategies for teaching science vocabulary. LEARN North Carolina: UNC-Chapel Hill, NC. Cited by:16.
  • Carrier, S. (2011). Implementing and integrating effective teaching strategies including features of lesson study in an elementary science methods course. The Teacher Educator, 46(2), 145-160. Cited by: 45.
  • Class of 2012 - Identified by Routledge Education for a collection of the most downloaded articles from all Routledge Education journals.
  • Carrier, S. & Thomas, A. (2010). Potato problem solving. Science & Children, 47(7), 33-37. Cited by: 4.

Courses Taught

  • ECI 709 Informal Elementary Science and Mathematics Education
  • EMS 794 Informal Science
  • ELM 654 Inquiry Project
  • ELM 520 Methods of Teaching Elementary School Science
  • ELM 524 Issues in Elementary Science Education
  • ELM 529 Special Problems in Elementary Science Education
  • ELM 320 Teaching Science in the Primary Grades
  • ECI 296 Practicum in Teaching
  • ELM 250 Intro to Elementary Education in a Global Society

Honors and Awards

  • Reviewer of Excellence 2020, International Journal of Science Education
  • Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professorship Award 2020, NC State University
  • Bridging the Gap Nominated for: Distinguished Teaching Award in STEM Education 2019, NC State University
  • College of Education Nominee for Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professorships 2019, NC State University

Editorial Boards

  • Journal of Science Teacher Education
  • International Journal of Science Education

Services and Engagements

  • Faculty Senate
  • National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST)
  • NARST External Policy and Relations committee member 2018-2021
  • NARST External Policy and Relations committee member 2012-2014
  • NARST Co-coordinator for Policy Strand 15 2008 – 2012
  • Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE)
  • Equity Committee member and liaison to Conference committee 2018-2020
  • Equity Committee member and liaison to Awards committee 2014-2016, International Journal of Science Education (IJSE)
  • Editorial Review Board 2019-present
  • Journal of Science Teacher Education (JSTE), Editorial Review Board 2014-2017;2019-2021
  • Electronic Journal of Science Education (EJSE), Associate Editor EJSE 2011 – 2016
  • Manuscript reviewer: RISE, IJMSE; Conference proposal reviewer: NARST, AERA, ASTE.

Research Areas