- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1950036
- First Name Paige
- Last Name Evans
- Discipline Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Other:STEM Teacher Preparation, Physics
Donna Stokes, Weihang Zhu, Jaspal Subhlok, & Conra Gist
Paige Evans & Donna Stokes, University of Houston
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 main goal of UH-ACCESS is to prepare 30 STEM majors to become effective secondary STEM teachers in high-need school districts to address the growing demand for producing a workforce with skills related to computer science and technology. Objectives include: (1) recruit STEM majors in CS, technology and physics into teachHOUSTON; (2) support these students by offering $12,000 per year scholarships; (3) use a “Culturally Responsive” selection criteria to obtain scholars demonstrating a dedication to social justice and exhibiting socio-political awareness needed for teaching in high-need school districts; (4) develop/implement an inquiry based computer science education course for those majoring/minoring in CS as well as those majoring in STEM fields who wish to incorporate CS into their STEM lessons, and (5) establish a Teacher Interest Group to build community, offer support, and provide opportunities to participate in community events incorporating a culturally responsive context to help scholars teach underrepresented student populations and connect to their communities. This will develop an infrastructure, which creates a pipeline for training teachers in CS, technology, and physics, who can persist in high-need school districts.
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 100 scholarship applications.A Teacher Interest Group (TIG) was created during the spring 2021 semester to build community with the spring 2021 cohort. During the Fall 2021 semester, we met three times. During the spring semester, the TIG meeting will occur once a month between February 2002 and April 2022. We secured the dates and notified the participants with relevant information. For each session, dedicated scholars/speakers have been invited to share their expertise on the topics.
Thus far, a total of 24 unique students have been awarded scholarships since the beginning of this grant with 3 (12.5%) African American / Black; 5 (20.8%) Asian; 10 (41.7%) Hispanic/Latinx; 1 (4.2%) Hispanic/Latinx (Mixed); and 5 (20.8%) white. A total of $264,000 in scholarship support has been awarded thus far.Additionally, there are 2 (8.3%) biochemistry majors; 8 (33.3%) biology majors; 1 (4.2%) computer science major; 1 (4.2%) environmental science major; 7 (29.2%) math majors; 1 (4.2%)math major with a physics minor; 1 (4.2%)physics major; and 3 (12.5%) technology majors. Six students graduated in Fall 2021 and are teaching in high need school districts in the Houston Area including Houston ISD, Spring Branch ISD and Lamar ISD. They are teaching at the following schools: Northbrook High School (2), Spring Woods High School (2), Austin High School (1), and George Ranch High School (1). One scholar was the banner bearer for the College of Technology which means that she had the highest GPA for that college. One was also honored with the Rookie Teacher of the Year at her school.
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.