- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1557309
- First Name Paige
- Last Name Evans
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, Math, Physics
Donna Stokes, University of Houston, dwstokes@Central.UH.EDU; Leah McAlister-Shields, University of Houston, sbark@Central.UH.EDU; Catherine Horn, University of Houston, chorn@Central.UH.EDU
Paige Evans, University of Houston, firstname.lastname@example.org; Leah McAlister-Shields, University of Houston, lymcalis@Central.UH.EDU
Providing a solid foundation in science|technology|engineering|mathematics (STEM) is important in the education of future physicists/engineers/computer scientists/chemists/medical doctors who can contribute to scientific discoveries. The Noyce program, STEM Teacher Preparation at the University of Houston: Learning through Informal and Formal Experiences (UH-LIFE), will increase the number of highly qualified teachers, particularly those from underserved minorities, certified to teach in the critical needs areas of grades 7-12 mathematics and science in high needs schools in metropolitan Houston and across the United States. In addition, UH-Life may facilitate higher retention rates in the teachHOUSTON program thereby increasing the overall number of qualified STEM teachers produced by University of Houston.
Major goals of UH-LIFE include partnering with Wharton County Junior College; offering summer internships and scholarships; developing biology and chemistry inquiry courses; and creating a Noyce Professional Development and Mentoring Institute for undergraduates and graduates.
During the third year of the UH-LIFE Grant, the partnership continued with Wharton County Junior College (WCJC) and the first two courses were offered at the WCJC campus. Various recruiting efforts were made which included classroom visits and the creation of promotional materials. Noyce scholarship and internship committees met on a regular basis and included faculty members of the Departments of Physics, Mathematics, and teachHOUSTON. Recruiting strategies were implemented in key classrooms and posted on various websites. Internships and scholarships were offered and STEM inquiry courses were enhanced.
Two courses were taught at WCJC during the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters. The scholarship committee awarded 28 scholarships in the amount of $6,000 each during the fall semester and 35 scholarships in the amount of $6,000 each during the spring 2019 semester to 44 unique individuals for a total amount of $378,000. Each scholarship was awarded to a highly knowledgeable and highly performance driven STEM student. Approximately 57% major in mathematics; 34% in biology; 5% in physics; 2% in chemistry; and 2% in computer science. Awardees demonstrated a passion for making a difference in the world through teaching. There are 24 females and 20 males. 39% are Hispanic, 25% are Asian, 25% are Caucasian, 7% are African American, 5% are multi-racial. 32% (or n= 14) of the students are transferring from community colleges. To date, a total of 63 unique scholarships have been awarded. Twenty-seven scholars graduated and the rest are in the program. Six internships were awarded.
UH-LIFE has the potential to provide more than 60 highly qualified secondary STEM teachers to the diverse Greater Houston Area. Future teachers will be better prepared to enter the classroom through the informal and formal learning opportunities; the Research Methods course; early field experiences; and an atmosphere supportive of new teachers. The partnership with WCJC will increase the numbers of potential STEM teachers and serve as a model for partnering between two year and four year institutions in preparation of STEM teachers. Products developed through UH-LIFE will be disseminated locally, nationally and internationally to advance the understanding of the recruitment, preparation, and retention of secondary STEM teachers, particularly those from underserved minorities, as well as promote best practices for learning STEM content and inquiry-based teaching and learning.