This article is published in the March 2024 issue.

Emma McDonald Selected as CRA-E Graduate Fellow

By Barrington Davis, Program Associate, CRA-E

CRA’s Education Committee (CRA-E) has recently selected its 2024 CRA-E Graduate Fellow – Emma McDonald, from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Emma (she/her) is a PhD student in Computing Science at the University of Alberta supervised by Carrie Demmans Epp. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Alberta in 2019, working on a tool to help students learn introductory Python programming.

As part of the EdTeKLA group that does research at the intersection of education and technology, Emma investigates how aspects like sense of belonging, mental health, and identity impact post-secondary students’ experiences and persistence in their CS degree programs. The goal of her work is to increase students’ success in CS by addressing both pedagogical and social factors.

Emma’s interest in CS education began in her undergraduate degree when she taught elementary school students to make Arduino-powered cat ears. Since then, she has been a sessional instructor, a teaching assistant, a MOOC developer, and a junior researcher supervisor. She also serves as the local coordinator at the University of Alberta for the CRA’s UR2PhD program.

The CRA-E Graduate Fellows Program was established in 2015 to give graduate students the opportunity to contribute to CRA-E projects and promote computer science research and undergraduate education at the national level.