Skip to Content

College of Education

Open Positions

Postdoctoral Scholars - Institute in Measurement MEthodology in Rural STEM Education

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the University of South Carolina (USC) announces the expansion of the Institute in Measurement MEthodology in Rural STEM Education to extend training for Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (IMMERSE-PRF) focused on measuring and studying key concepts central to rural STEM education. IMMERSE-PRF is an innovative postdoctoral training program that builds on the experiences and network of IMMERSE by connecting postdoctoral scholars with the national scholarly community of IMMERSE Fellows. IMMERSE-PRF will also provide postdoctoral scholars with extensive individualized training and mentoring from IMMERSE core faculty on their self-selected rural STEM education research projects and engagement in professional development activities to prepare them for achieving their career goals (e.g., teaching experience). IMMERSE-PRF will train and inspire transdisciplinary rural postdoctoral scholars from across the US to a) produce relevant lines of inquiry in STEM education where rurality is central to the research, b) undertake STEM education studies that utilize rigorous measures of key constructs, and c) execute sophisticated analyses as part of the design of high quality and informative research.

For IMMERSE-PRF, we look to recruit three Postdoctoral Scholars with experience and basic proficiency in sound measurement practices to build upon this foundation with training and mentoring on sophisticated psychometric techniques. Postdoctoral scholars will receive advanced training and extensive mentoring in measurement science and educational research methodology. The end product of IMMERSE-PRF will be scholars that are well prepared to begin their academic and research careers with increased capacity to complete high-quality, publishable studies and fundable lines of inquiry that employ fellowship-developed research design and analytical skills to advance rural STEM education research.

IMMERSE-PRF Description

Our team at the Child Development Research Center in the College of Education is currently involved in numerous ongoing rural STEM education research projects, including early childhood development, rural STEM workforce development, teacher working conditions and retention, and STEM access for rural youth with disabilities. Exposure to multiple projects will provide IMMERSE-PRF Scholars substantial autonomy and choice in selecting and undertaking self-directed research studies that best align with research interests and professional goals. Our interdisciplinary environment (i.e., faculty across education, psychology, social work, public health, and medicine) and focus on measurement science (e.g., scale development, structural equation modeling, classification) and, at times, large-scale analyses will elevate the rigor of rural STEM education research across multiple lines of inquiry and disciplines. Additionally, ready access to large national datasets and other rural STEM education projects will maximize publication and presentation opportunities. IMMERSE-PRF Scholars will also have numerous opportunities for involvement with practitioners and/or state policymakers due to the close proximity of the USC campus to the state capitol. The most notable and novel aspect of the IMMERSE-PRF is that Scholars will have an unrivaled professional development opportunity to engage in and learn from a vibrant scholarly community of rural STEM education researchers by involving and connecting them to a large, diverse interdisciplinary group of Fellows participating in the IMMERSE summer institute and year-long mentoring.


Eligibility and Review Criteria

Rural researchers that are finishing (graduating by June 2023) or have recently finished (less than 2 years post-doctorate) are eligible to apply. Applicants must have a background in rural research in addition to substantive policy or practice interest in rural STEM education. Applicants should have intermediate measurement and/or statistical background (e.g., item analysis, factor analysis, multivariate analyses) and computer literacy with knowledge of at least one statistical software package (e.g., SPSS, SAS, R). Review criteria include:

  • Coursework, teaching, and/or research experience in rural contexts
  • Substantive research, policy, and/or practice interests in rural STEM education
  • Measurement and/or statistical background
  • Future career goals and research agenda

Applications from historically underrepresented rural researchers are strongly encouraged to apply, including women, racial/ethnic minorities, and individuals identifying as LGBTQ+.

Postdoctoral Scholar Support

Selected scholars will receive an annual salary of $70,000 for two years, up to $4,000 per year for travel to conferences, and up to $2,000 per year for statistical and research training. The desired start date is June 1, 2023.

IMMERSE Core Faculty

Matthew Irvin, Ph.D.,  University of South Carolina
Christine Distefano, Ph.D., University of South Carolina
Jin Liu, Ph.D., University of South Carolina
Angie Starrett, Ph.D., University of South Carolina

Application Requirements

All applications must include the following:

  1. Cover letter addressing:
    1.  educational background, including coursework, teaching, and/or mentoring experience in measurement, statistics, and/or rural contexts;
    2. research interests and experience; and
    3. future career and research goals
  2. Curriculum Vita
  3. Contact information for three references

Submit all materials in one PDF or Word document and upload in the submission form by the deadline.


Application Submission

Review of applications will begin on January 17, 2023. Please see the job posting at USC Jobs ( to apply. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. If you have any questions, please contact Angie Starrett, Ph.D., at

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.