- Year 2018
- NSF Noyce Award # 1439776
- First Name Allan
- Last Name Feldman
- Discipline Other: STEM, STEM
Ruthmae Sears, USF, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Tannenbaum, USF, email@example.com
School districts in Florida are struggling to recruit and retain highly qualified teaching candidates in the STEM disciplines. This is due in part the limited production of new, highly qualified STEM teachers, at institutions of higher education. These shortfalls are especially prevalent in schools that serve a high percentage of students living in poverty.
The Robert Noyce Scholarship Program for STEM Majors at the University of South Florida (USF) seeks to address this need by providing qualified STEM majors and career changers access to an attractive, viable and rewarding career path into middle and secondary STEM teaching. Noyce Scholars and Interns benefit via: peer collaboration, faculty mentorship, supportive instructional settings, and the employment of research-based practices. Additionally, they sharpen skills associated with each, while receiving stipend or scholarship support.
The objectives of the RISE program are: The overarching goal of the RISE internship program is to provide undergraduates with early teaching experiences and an introduction to educational research. This is being done through summer internships in informal science education institutions and engagement in CAR on their teaching and the children’s learning. Specific goals include: • Preparing interns to engage in CAR in these informal teaching and learning environments. • Allowing them to cultivate, improve, and benefit from the development of a professional Community of Practice (COP). • Familiarizing RISE interns with diverse literature concerning the field of action research, as well as, power relationships present in any learning setting. • Preparing interns to recognize their area(s) of expertise, with a mind towards continual improvement via the application of scientific reasoning to “real life” problems.
RISE is an 8-week summer that places interns in summer camps at informal science education institutions.. They work in the camps 4 days per week and meet on campus the fifth. In the campus sessions the interns collaborate with the faculty advisor and RAs, to learn about and engage in CAR on teaching and learning. Project staff will examine RISE interns’ research experiences through collaboration, using multiple perspectives, and data sources is a holistic approach, which will provide information vital to answering our overarching question: “In what ways does teaching STEM in informal settings, and participation in CAR impact RISE intern interest in pursuing a career in middle and secondary STEM education.
RISE interns will submit and present their research findings as a poster at the USF Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium. The documentation of their research experiences, along with artifacts from on and offsite interactions, will afford us new insight regarding the impact of informal STEM teaching experiences and participation in CAR on recruitment to the field of science education. Moreover, we lessons learned throughout the summer will guide us in future work associated with: recruitment to the field of STEM education; capturing RISE summer intern experiences; and the improvement of pre-service science teacher preparation both within, and outside the context of the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program for STEM Majors at USF for both the upcoming school year, and the duration of this current grant.
This research has broader implications for practical, and pedagogical aspects of recruitment and retention of highly qualified STEM educators in high-need districts. Practical concerns pertain to factors that encourage or inhibit skilled STEM majors and professionals from joining the field of science education. Meanwhile, pedagogical interests lie in development, preparation, and ongoing support of future middle and high school STEM educators.