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STEM Education Postdoctoral Fellow

Nuestra Ciencia
California (US)
$62,400, with full benefits and travel allowance
Date posted
Mar 5, 2024

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Education, Other Education
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

The Bailey College of Science and Mathematics at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo is seeking a Frost Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the area of STEM Education. The Postdoctoral Research Fellow will work with Dr. Jasmine Nation and Dr. Alejandra Yep on the project “Nuestra Ciencia: A University-Community Partnership Focusing on Latinx Students in STEM.”

Nuestra Ciencia is a partnership between Cal Poly and local bilingual schools, where college students teach science concepts in Spanish to elementary students. The program was designed to simultaneously address microbiology misconceptions and elevate undergraduates as STEM role models for Latinx children. As an interdisciplinary team, we develop experiments and educational resources, and visit classrooms to lead activities in Spanish. The research explores the impact of co-designed activities and asset-based bilingual instruction in science for both elementary and undergraduate students. The main activities of this project are: (1) co-designing and implementing bilingual science curricula; and (2) studying how the program expands Latinx students’ opportunities to learn science.

In addition, the Frost Postdoctoral Research Fellow will help mentor undergraduate and potentially preservice education students in the credential program. They will also have the opportunity to teach classes by separate assignment as a part-time lecturer.

This position will begin Summer or Fall 2024 according to candidate’s availability. The term of employment is one-year, with a second-year possible based on performance and funding. The annual salary for this position is $62,400, with full benefits, plus a travel allowance. This position is supplemented by separate assignment pay as a part-time lecturer for the teaching assignments. Specific responsibilities will include:

  • Contribute to ongoing studies on the impact of Nuestra Ciencia activities on elementary and undergraduate students.
  • Propose and conduct research projects based on previous years’ data collection on STEM education and Latinx youth in STEM.
  • Organize, manage, and conduct data collection and analysis.
  • Facilitate partnership activities, such as maintaining communication with bilingual school teachers and principals, working collaboratively with school partners and our research team.
  • Co-design and co-facilitate bilingual science activities for K-6 students.
  • Mentor undergraduate researchers from various majors working on the project.
  • Actively participate in scholarly communities through publication of research articles and presentations at professional conferences.
  • Propose and write manuscripts based on the conducted research.
  • Work with mentors in developing research project goals, including writing manuscripts and grant applications.
  • Receive mentorship and training in effective teaching practices and teach at least 1 undergraduate course during the fellowship under the mentorship of experienced faculty (paid by additional assignment as a part-time lecturer).
    • Courses based on fellow’s area of expertise; possibilities include “Communicating Biology to Various Audiences”; “Science Integration in the K-8 Classroom”’; “Seminar for Learning Assistants”; “Learn by Doing Lab (Aprender Haciendo)”

At California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, we believe that cultivating an environment that embraces and promotes diversity is fundamental to the success of our students, our employees and our community. Bringing people together from different backgrounds, experiences and value systems fosters the innovative and creative thinking that exemplifies Cal Poly’s values of free inquiry, cultural and intellectual diversity, mutual respect, civic engagement, and social and environmental responsibility. Cal Poly's commitment to diversity informs our efforts in recruitment, hiring and retention. California Polytechnic State University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

Required Qualifications

  • Doctoral degree from an accredited institution in a science field, STEM education, or a closely related field by start date of position
  • Desire to learn new skills and work in teams including students, researchers, and faculty
  • Excellent computer skills including Microsoft Word/Google Docs, Excel/Sheets, PowerPoint/Slides/Canva and statistical software such as R or qualitative data analysis tools such as NVivo or maxQDA
  • Experience writing peer-reviewed scientific articles
  • Ability to prioritize, plan, organize, and meet timelines
  • Ability to lead others in managing tasks; train and evaluate the performance of assigned personnel
  • Ability to establish and maintain cooperative and effective working relationship with others
  • Excellent verbal and written skills and the ability to interface with all levels of staff, university community, including students, faculty and staff, and the public
  • Ability to maintain regular and reliable attendance

Preferred Qualifications

  • Teaching experience, either at the primary (K-6) or university level
  • Experience working in a research-practice partnership
  • Experience working with preservice elementary teachers
  • Record of publication in science education or bilingual education
  • Expertise in either qualitative or quantitative research methods
  • Expertise in culturally relevant pedagogy or issues of race, identity, and languages
  • Conversational speaking and listening proficiency in Spanish

About the Frost Postdoctoral Research Fellow Program

The Frost Postdoctoral Research Fellowship program is designed to allow recent Ph.D. graduates gain valuable experience in both research and teaching. Frost Postdoctoral Research Fellows will have the time, space, and support to build an impactful line of research and gain experience in mentoring undergraduate students within research and teaching contexts. Frost Postdoctoral Research Fellows will be mentored by experienced faculty and have opportunities to engage in research and teaching in a vibrant, supportive scholarly community. Research Fellows will develop critical research skills as well as learn to mentor undergraduates and integrate research in undergraduate teaching. These experiences will be invaluable to postdoctoral candidates seeking to make progress toward research and teaching careers in academia. The program is part of a larger vision spurred by William and Linda Frost, whose $110 million commitment to the College of Science and Mathematics is supporting undergraduate research so that many more students will engage in meaningful research and have the same transformational experience of discovery Mr. Frost had as a student at Cal Poly.

The Frost Postdoctoral Research Fellowship is a key component of a strategy to elevate our already highly-regarded undergraduate science teaching and research programs to further renown. The Frost Fund also supports equipment, facilities, scholarships, and student and faculty support for research.

About the University

Founded in 1901, Cal Poly is one of only five comprehensive polytechnic universities in the nation, with approximately 22,000 undergraduates, 120 postbaccalaureate, and 900 graduate students. In 2023, Cal Poly not only marked its 29th year in a row as the #1 public non-doctoral institution in the West but was designated for the first time as the #1 non-doctoral institution, private or public, in the West by U.S News & World Report. Also in 2023, Cal Poly was rated by Money Magazine as one of only 34 5-star universities in the country; it is the only California State University on this prestigious list, where it joins the California Institute of Technology, Stanford, and several University of California campuses. A primarily undergraduate university, Cal Poly offers academically focused students 66 baccalaureate degrees and 27 master's degrees. Operating on the quarter calendar system, Cal Poly takes pride in its "Learn-by-Doing" approach to teaching and learning, which has characterized Cal Poly since its founding. One of the 23 campuses of the California State University system, Cal Poly has a statewide mandate as a polytechnic university. Cal Poly is one of the largest land-holding universities in the nation and uses all of its land holdings in active support of its educational programs. Cal Poly is located in historic San Luis Obispo, a city of 47,000, 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean and midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California's scenic Central Coast. With excellent public education resources, recreational facilities and an expanding dedication to the arts, the area is known for its scenic landscapes and extraordinarily temperate climate.

Special Conditions

The person holding this position is considered a 'mandated reporter' under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act and is required to comply with the requirements set forth in CSU Executive Order 1083 as a condition of employment.

Following a conditional offer of employment, a background check (including a criminal records check) must be completed satisfactorily before any candidate may start work with Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Failure to satisfactorily complete the background check may result in the withdrawal of the offer of employment. Note: Cal Poly cannot deny an applicant a position solely or in part due to a criminal conviction history until it has performed an individualized assessment and linked the relevant conviction history with specific job duties in the position being sought.

Please note: Current employees who are offered positions on campus will be required to undergo a background check for any position where a background check is required by law or that Cal Poly has designated as sensitive. Sensitive positions are those requiring heightened scrutiny of individuals holding the position based on potential for harm to children, concerns for the safety and security of people, animals, or property, or heightened risk of financial loss to Cal Poly or individuals in the university community.

For health and well-being, Cal Poly is a smoke & tobacco-free campus. The university is committed to promoting a healthy environment for all members of our community.

In accordance with the California State University (CSU) Out-of-State Employment Policy, the CSU is a state entity whose business operations reside within the State of California and prohibits hiring employees to perform CSU related work outside of California.

This position classification has been defined as "Exempt" and is not subject to the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo will not sponsor an H-1B for this position.

How to Apply

Interested candidates must attach (1) a cover letter explaining your background, interest in the project, and career goals following postdoctoral work,, (2) curriculum vitae, (3) a statement of research experience and interests, and (4) one writing sample. These documents are not accepted in hard copy format. When completing the online faculty application, please be prepared to provide three professional references with names and email addresses. Official transcripts are required prior to appointment.

Review of applications will begin March 31, 2024. Complete applications received after that date may be considered. Review of applications will continue until the position is filled.  For questions, please contact Dr. Jasmine Nation ( or Dr. Alejandra Yep ( 

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