- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1950036
- First Name Paige
- Last Name Evans
- Discipline Chemistry, Computer Science, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, STEM Education (general)
Jaspal Subhlok, Donna Stokes, Conra Gist, Weihang Zhu
The major goals of, Advancing Cultural and Computational Engagement in STEM Scholars (UH-ACCESS), is to prepare 30 STEM majors to become effective secondary STEM teachers in high need school districts and address the growing demand for producing a workforce that possess technical skills such as those related to computer science (CS) and technology.
The major goals of, Advancing Cultural and Computational Engagement in STEM Scholars (UH-ACCESS), is to prepare 30 STEM majors to become effective secondary STEM teachers in high need school districts and address the growing demand for producing a workforce that possess technical skills such as those related to computer science (CS) and technology. This goal will be accomplished by the following objectives: 1. Recruit STEM majors in CS, technology, and physics into the STEM teacher preparation program, teachHOUSTON. 2. Support STEM majors obtaining teacher certification by offering $12,000/year scholarships. 3. Utilize a “Culturally Responsive” selection criteria to recruit those demonstrating a dedication to social justice and exhibiting socio-political awareness needed for teaching in high-need school districts.
4. Develop and implement an inquiry based computer science (CS) education course which will be suitable to those majoring/minoring in CS as well as those majoring in STEM fields who wish to incorporate CS into their STEM lessons, particularly technology and physics majors/minors. 5. Establish a Teacher Interest Group to build community and offer support, provide opportunities to participate in community events incorporating a culturally responsive context to help scholars teach underrepresented student populations and connect to their communities.
The project team recruited STEM majors into the UH-ACCESS Noyce Scholarship program through the following activities: website, virtual classroom visits to targeted STEM classrooms in both the Colleges of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) and Technology (COT), emails sent out to STEM majors, collaboration with existing student groups such as the STEM Student Interest group, the NSM Bridge Program, the African American Studies program, and the Center for Mexican American Studies. This resulted in over 150 scholarship applications for Fall and Spring semesters. A Teacher Interest Group (TIG) was created during the spring 2021 semester and has continued to be successful. The TIG meets 3-4 times each semester. For each TIG session, dedicated scholars/speakers have been invited to share their expertise on various topics around cultural responsiveness, content related topics, social justice in STEM education and overall well-being.
Thus far, a total of 33 unique students have been awarded scholarships since the beginning of this grant with 3 (9%) African American / Black; 3 (9%) Asian; 17 (52%) Hispanic/Latinx; 3 (9%) two or more races; and 7 (21%) white. Of the recipients, 16 (48%) are female, 16 (48%) are male, and 1(3%) identifies as other. Additionally, there are 2 (6%) biochemistry majors; 10 (30%) biology majors; 1 (3%) chemistry; 2 (6%) computer science major; 2 (6%) environmental science major; 11 (33%) math majors; 1 (3%) math major with a physics minor; 2 (6%) physics major; and 2 (6%) technology majors. Five students graduated in Spring 2022 and are teaching in high need school districts in the Houston Area and beyond. Five students graduated in Fall 2022 and are teaching in high need school districts in the Houston Area. Five students are slated to graduate in Spring 2023. teachHOUSTON continued to refine the Computer Science teaching pathway for STEM majors. Recruiting efforts at career fairs, classroom visits, and through our website have been useful in disseminating the program option as well as providing the details of the coursework and process to apply for the program. During the next year, we plan to recruit STEM majors to pursue the Computer Science Teaching Pathway; provide participants the opportunity for professional development on STEM pedagogical topics, cultural responsiveness, and classroom management; continue the Teacher Interest Group as a means to continue how best to integrate social justice-focused issues into lesson planning; and conduct a New Teacher Academy over the summer of 2023 to prepare scholars for the beginning of the school year, inviting back teachHOUSTON graduates with one-two years of teaching experience.
Through UH-ACCESS partnerships, teachHOUSTON will provide 30 highly qualified STEM teachers to teach in high-need school districts in Greater Houston. In particular, the program will produce an inaugural cohort of certified teachers in CS and technology as well as increase its production of physics teachers to 3 per year. With over 500 hours of field-based experience in high-need school districts upon completion of the program, UH-ACCESS scholars will serve as leaders in their schools/districts in computational and technology driven areas. UH-ACCESS researchers will evaluate the impact of including a culturally responsive recruitment process on producing teachers who are culturally aware and add missing pieces to the STEM education knowledge base. In addition, they will determine how a computer science specific course and curriculum developed for use in schools will allow teachers to encourage students to consider technology driven careers. Products developed from the Teacher Interest Group, recruiting endeavors, including the culturally responsive criteria component, and the computer science education course will be disseminated locally, nationally and internationally through presentations, demonstrations, and publications at education and STEM conferences. Faculty will collaboratively work with the Noyce scholars to ensure that they employ research-based best practices to deepen their knowledge and positively influence the career paths of young students.