- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1758481
- First Name Jomo
- Last Name Mutegi
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Math, Other: Earth/Space Science, Physics
James H. Hill, IUPUI, firstname.lastname@example.org; Crystal H. Morton, IUPUI, email@example.com; Tamiko N. Porter, IUPUI, firstname.lastname@example.org; Craig J. Willey, IUPUI, email@example.com; Robert W. Yost, IUPUI, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jomo W. Mutegi, IUPUI, email@example.com
One of the challenges facing some Noyce projects is that of recruiting students. This is certainly the case in our track 1 Noyce project. We have found through a previous focus group study, that many high-achieving, underrepresented minority students are not necessarily opposed to teaching careers More often than not, they just have never considered teaching as an option. Drawing on this research, we structured our STEM teaching internship and an associated course to be experiences that encouraged students to reflect on the possibility of STEM teaching as a career option.
The overriding concern guiding our work is the degree to which students commit to careers in STEM teaching. In this vein we are interested in how and to what degree specific experiences and exercises serve to encourage consideration of STEM teaching. We are also interested in identifying other unanticipated, yet potentially relevant outcomes.
Throughout the STEM teaching internship and an associated course, participants maintained a reflection journal, completed course assignments, and participated in interviews. These items serve as the foundation for providing insight into how the internship and course influenced students’ considerations of a STEM teaching career. The course was structured around 5 themes. These were: a) Goal Setting: Can a Career in Teaching Help Me to Attain My Goals? b) Financial Well-Being: Can I Be Financially Secure on a Teacher’s Salary? c) Positive Influence & Giving Back: As a STEM Teacher, How Would I Be Able to Contribute to My Community? d) Career Growth: What Are the Career Options for STEM Teachers Beyond the Classroom? e) Feasibility: What Would Be Required of Me to Complete a STEM Teaching Degree? Reflection exercises related to each of these themes will be also be shared with Noyce Summit attendees.
We are currently still in the midst of our summer internship experience. As such all findings are not in hand. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the internship experience has been powerful. It has broadened participants understanding and appreciation of what teaching entails. It has also given them a renewed perspective on teaching as a profession.
While the anecdotal evidence is encouraging, our objective is to grow and diversify the STEM teaching workforce. So we are eager to (a) have more complete findings, and (b) modify future offerings based on the lessons learned from this first experience.