FIREFLIES Aims to Keep the Future of Education Sciences Bright

Nicole Patton TerryDr. Nicole Patton Terry

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —  As the need for highly trained educators continues to grow, so too grows the need for a new generation of education scientists seeking to inform those practitioners. Aiming to address this need, Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) Professors  Drs. Nicole Patton Terry and Sara Hart have recently been awarded a $4.5 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences which will fully fund a new doctoral interdisciplinary research training program in the education sciences.

Beginning this fall, Florida Interdisciplinary Research Fellows in Education Sciences (FIREFLIES), will leverage the unique strengths, robust resources, and authentic opportunities available at FCRR and Florida State University to train 18 doctoral students. The training program will recruit fellows and faculty from six distinct disciplinary programs: reading education, special education, educational psychology, psychology, communication sciences and disorders, and social work. The fellowships are 3 or 4 years in length, and include an annual stipend and funding support towards tuition, benefits, and their own research, travel, and professional learning expenses.

“We are excited to continue FCRR’s strong tradition of preparing doctoral students who will not only contribute to the field of reading research, but will also pursue careers that are focused on improving educational outcomes for all learners,” stated Patton Terry.  

Sara HartDr. Sara Hart

Three core principles guide the FIREFLIES doctoral training program: interdisciplinary, rigor, and relevance. Fellows will participate in various activities designed to develop their research, leadership, entrepreneurial, and professional skills, including interdisciplinary coursework, proseminars and lectures in reading and education research, quantitative methodology, and policy; a three-year research apprenticeship with FCRR faculty mentors; a year-long policy or practice apprenticeship with an education-focused agency or organization; and an array of professional development opportunities.

“This is such an incredible training opportunity for the FIREFLIES fellows, giving them a depth of resources, opportunities, and skills to support them as they train to become leaders in the field,” said Hart.

Learn more about FIREFLIES here.

The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) is an interdisciplinary research center at Florida State University. Drawing from multiple disciplines, FCRR investigates all aspects of reading and reading-related skills across the lifespan. Through rigorous and robust research, innovation, and engagement, FCRR advances the science of reading to improve learning and achievement from birth through adulthood. For more information, please contact Nathan Archer at