- Year 2018
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660694
- First Name Trevor
- Last Name Smith
- Discipline Other: Science and Math
Robert Wieman, Rowan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issam Abi-El-Mona, Rowan University, email@example.com
Jill Perry, Rowan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Klassen, Rowan University, email@example.com
Trevor I. Smith, Rowan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a significant difference between the demographics of the general population of southern New Jersey and those of science and math teachers in the region, who are predominantly White and from upper-middle class backgrounds. This disconnect sends the message that teaching careers in science and math are not for everyone. This project addresses this issue by supporting students from backgrounds that are typically underrepresented in the science and math teaching professions as they earn their initial teaching license. This will, in turn, benefit the students at the schools in which our graduates teach.
Our overall goal is to reduce the barriers to entering the teaching profession faced by students from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The project provides scholarships and other financial supports for teacher candidates earning their initial teaching license in Rowan University’s Master of Arts in STEM Education program. We also provide mentorship and professional development during graduates’ first two years teaching in a high-need local education agency. In addition, we recruit highly-qualified STEM students into the teaching profession by offering internships within two of Rowan University’s STEM-focused summer camps.
The primary financial support for students in the award of a $30,000 scholarship to complete the one-year Master of Arts in STEM Education program. We also provide Noyce Scholars with the opportunity to apply for additional funding to cover unexpected costs related to their teaching residency (e.g., vehicle repair). During their residency we will provide targeted advising and mentorship, and after graduation each new Noyce Teacher will be partnered with a veteran mentor teacher during their first two years teaching in a high-need local education agency.
By the end of the five-year project, 25 Noyce Teachers will have begun their teaching careers in high-need local education agencies in South Jersey and the broader region. Regular professional development sessions with Noyce Scholars, Noyce Teachers, and their mentor teachers will establish a community of teachers across South Jersey that is likely to persist after the funding period.
This project has the potential to have a profound effect on the state of STEM education in South Jersey. The focus of the project is to recruit educationally and economically disadvantaged students into the teaching profession. These students represent populations that are typically underrepresented in STEM education, but are highly representative of the student population in South Jersey. Given that Rowan?s student body is largely from South Jersey and historically likely to stay in New Jersey after graduation, we expect that the Rowan Noyce Scholars will continue to teach in high-need South Jersey classrooms after having fulfilled their teaching commitment, acting as strong mentors in mathematics and the sciences who will encourage more students to pursue future studies and careers in STEM fields. This will serve to catalyze a self-reinforcing cycle that will increase interest in STEM careers as well as the overall level of science and math literacy throughout South Jersey.