The Better Scientific Software Fellowship (BSSwF) was launched in 2018 to foster and promote practices, processes, and tools to improve developer productivity and software sustainability of scientific codes. The BSSwF’s vision is to grow the community with practitioners, leaders, mentors, and consultants to increase the visibility of scientific software. Over the last five years, many fellowship recipients and honorable mentions have identified as research software engineers (RSEs). Case studies from several of the program’s participants illustrate the diverse ways the BSSwF has benefited both the RSE and scientific communities. In an environment where the contributions of RSEs are too often undervalued, we believe that programs such as the BSSwF can help recognize and encourage community members to step outside of their regular commitments and expand on their work, collaborations, and ideas for a larger audience.