- Year 2018
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660690
- First Name Larry
- Last Name Medsker
- Discipline Other: all STEM disciplines
LaKeisha McClary, GWU, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Ullman, GWU, email@example.com
Jonathon Grooms, GWU, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiffany-Rose Sikorski, GWU, email@example.com
Larry Medsker, George Washingtion University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Recruitment of Noyce scholars is difficult at most universities. Not many students are interested in STEM teaching in any kind of school, much less high need. Anecdotal information is available about various recruitment strategies, but the lack of detailed data about the particular environments in which the methods took place makes it difficult for new Noyce programs to choose the appropriate approach for their situation.
A goal of this project is to engage students early in college, preferably as incoming freshmen, in activities that will lead to a strong pool of applicants for Noyce scholarships when they are second semester sophomores. The initial focus in on work with high need students to create a larger population of students who might become interested in STEM teaching careers to follow their interests in high need students. Another goal is to share our experiences with enough detail for other schools to implement in their environments.
We see our approach as a ‘funnel’ model that starts with the general student population, creates a smaller pool of students who become engaged in high need issues, and leads to a smaller, dedicated group who will choose careers in STEM teaching with high need students. The desired product of the funnel model is to have a strong applicant pool for Noyce scholarships.
In our first year of the Noyce grant, we experimented with innovative methods of engaging freshmen and sophomores in high need activities, in addition to the traditional tables at student events and presentations in STEM classes. Our deliverable is a set of activities for our students and documentation of the effectiveness in recruiting students interested in our Noyce program: 1) involvement in an innovative program called Frontiers for Young Minds (FYM), in which college students mentor high need secondary students learning how the scientific process of publishing and peer review works. The secondary students review manuscripts written by scientists for kids, and the published articles acknowledge the kids; 2) external internships involving STEM education of high need students, including projects with the Smithsonian Science Education Center; 3) involvement of potential Noyce students in designing a summer camp in collaboration with the USDA on data analytics for urban agriculture.
In our funnel model, many more than the number of students who become Noyce Scholars gain experience with high need populations; they might not have had that experience otherwise. Likewise, many pre-college students who are in high need populations benefit from the work on projects mentored by the college students. And, finally, more students will consider STEM teaching careers in high need schools. We disseminate information and results about our project through university and Noyce program online media, and much of this reaches outside the university. We have been featured on external media, including local radio and a spot on the evening news by our local ABC affiliate.