Catherine McCulloch leads national initiatives that focus on bridging STEM research and practice to improve outcomes for students. An expert in formal and informal STEM learning, she brings extensive experience as a professional developer, course designer, and manager of strategic resource development and dissemination efforts.

As principal investigator of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE), McCulloch works with STEM researchers and developers to make their findings and products accessible for schools, communities, policymakers, and the public. She has also worked closely with the NSF to develop and implement STEM Smart, an initiative to disseminate successful STEM research and evidence-based practices across the United States.

McCulloch has developed and led professional development institutes for science and math mentoring throughout the United States and provided professional development for out-of-school-time program educators. She is the author of Straw Rockets, a Design It! Engineering for Afterschool Programs curriculum series module.

A former teacher and educator, McCulloch holds a BS in creativity in learning and an MEd in elementary education from Lesley University.

“There is something inherently engaging about witnessing a child use their creativity to solve a problem.”

Speaking Highlights

Advancing Mathematics Education Through the National Science Foundation's Discovery Research PreK–12 (DRK-12) Program

Presentation, American Educational Research Association Conference
San Antonio, TX
April 27, 2017

Engineering For Every Student, K–12: Leveraging Resources, Supporting Collaboration

Presentation, Massachusetts Science Education Leadership Association Conference
Marlborough, MA
October 20, 2016

Strategies For Promoting and Studying Equity in Design-Oriented Research-Practice Partnerships

Presentation, American Educational Research Association Conference
Washington, DC
April 09, 2016

Early Mathematics with Mobile Technology: A Research-Practice Collaboration Discussion

Presentation, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Research Conference
Boston, MA
April 14, 2015

Selected Publications

Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE). (2017a). CADRE early career guide: Tips for early career STEM education researchers.

McCulloch, C., Tierney-Fife, P., & Buffington, P. (2016) Research+practice partnerships: Fostering equitable collaboration. Waltham, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.

Williams, D., McCulloch, C., McMahon, T., & Goodyear, L. (2016). Engineering for every K–12 student: A landscape analysis of K–12 engineering education in the Greater Boston Region. Medford, MA: Tufts University.

CADRE. (2013). A targeted study of the DR K–12 engineering education projects. Waltham, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.

Selected Resources

White papers

This paper provides a resource for prospective DRK–12 grantees by identifying some of the theories that current and recent DRK–12 grantees are using in their research on broadening participation.


This brief draws on research and development supported by the National Science Foundation to highlight important considerations about STEM educational experiences for young children and professional learning for educators who provide those experiences.

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