- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1852820
- First Name Seema
- Last Name Rivera
- Discipline Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics
Katie Kavanagh, Ben Galluzzo, Jan DeWaters & Mike Ramsdell
Seema Rivera, Clarkson University
Our project focuses on how to prepare preservice STEM teachers to be culturally responsive in both urban and rural schools. Many Noyce scholars work in these schools and we are investigating what does it mean to be culturally responsive in urban schools and rural schools–how are they similar and how are they different from one another? Much of the literature talks about the unique nature of both urban and rural schools, but there is less literature on how they are similar. Focusing on these schools separately overlooks that both face similar challenges such as poverty, resources, and a higher teacher turnover rate. Additionally, rural schools have traditionally been thought of as being racially homogeneous, but this is changing and as teacher educators, it is important that we understand the ways in which scholars need support.
The guiding questions for this section are:1. Understand how scholars need support2. Understand what it means to be culturally responsive in rural and urban settings3. Understand the trajectory of a scholar’s growth into a STEM teacher in a high-need school.
Our qualitative research uses thematic analysis based on interview transcripts, reflection journals, assignments, and surveys. Some of the strategies used are participation in cultural exploration, participation in urban and rural teacher round tables, completing action research related to this work, and engaging with a network of teachers and peers as they transition from their internship placement into their early careers.
We have a book chapter under review about the Noyce scholars and the stresses experienced by them during COVID teaching, we have a paper under review that focuses on rural school partnerships and how they can help support STEM outreach and STEM educators, and we plan to look into the pathways our scholars have chosen to become teachers. Many were not focused on becoming teachers as first-year students at their undergraduate institution and have some career changers (from engineering).
Beyond the community space we are building and supporting for our Noyce scholars and alumni, we have also started working with 14 other universities on a Noyce Track 4 grant to look at the recruitment, retention, and persistence of STEM teachers in rural areas schools.