CSC News

April 07, 2015

Boyer Receives NSF CAREER Award

Congratulations to Dr. Kristy Boyer, assistant professor of computer science at NC State, on receiving a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  This award, valued at $497,149, supports her proposal titled “Fostering Collaborative Dialogue for Rigorous Learning and Diverse Student Retention in Computer Science.
These prestigious CAREER awards are provided by the NSF in support of faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research with the context of the mission of their organizations.  Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education.
Boyer becomes the 25th NSF CAREER Award winner for the Department of Computer Science at NC State (24th currently on faculty), one of the highest concentrations of any department in the nation.
The award is effective March 1, 2015 through February 29, 2020.
Abstract: In order to maintain its position in a global society, the US must strengthen and diversify its computer science workforce. For training computer scientists, collaborative learning has become an increasingly important approach. Despite substantial evidence of the overall benefits of collaborative learning and pair programming in particular, it is not yet known how the fine-grained facets of natural language dialogue contribute to the effectiveness of collaboration. Additionally, there are many open questions regarding the ways in which collaborative dialogue can foster a sense of computing identity, motivation, and engagement for students from underrepresented groups while supporting rigorous computer science learning. The proposed project will study collaborative learning in the second computing course for majors in order to build fine-grained computational models of their collaboration. Predictive models will be built to explain the extent to which particular dialogue phenomena contribute to learning and motivational outcomes. Finally, pedagogical interventions will be proposed and investigated based upon those computational models. The results are expected to serve as the basis of a grounded theory of how collaborative dialogue for computer science education can support rigorous learning and diverse student retention.
Boyer holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Valdosta State University (1999), and M.S. in Applied Statistics from the Georgia Institute of Technology (2000), and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from NC State University (2010).  Her research focuses on how to support learning with natural language dialogue and intelligent systems.  She is particularly interested in computer science education research and in investigating how machine learning can help us understand social, cognitive, and affective phenomena in human interactions.  For more information on Dr. Boyer, click here.

Return To News Homepage