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National Science Foundation Awards $749,596 To Recruit Science, Technology, Engineering And Math Teachers

UMass Dartmouth will play a key role in increasing the number of highly qualified K-12 teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

UMass Dartmouth will play a key role in increasing the number of highly qualified K-12 teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The National Science Foundation has awarded $749,596 to UMass Dartmouth in support of the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program. Leading the effort will be Karen O'Connor, director of the Center for University, School and Community Partnerships (CUSP).

The five-year program provides scholarships to undergraduates majoring in STEM fields who commit to serving as teachers in high need Southcoast districts after graduating. Following graduation, these individuals will receive additional scholarships as they pursue a master's degree through one of CUSP's TEACH! programs, which offer teacher licensure and support in an accelerated format. Twenty-eight scholars are expected to participate.

"The Noyce Scholarship program puts UMass Dartmouth in the unique position of being able to offer STEM majors incentives for teaching in schools where they are needed most," O'Connor said. "Not only will we be able to offer substantial scholarships to these students, we will also give them explicit instruction in the teaching profession and continue to offer crucial mentoring support after they become teachers. This combination of preparation and on-the-job experiences will ensure the Noyce Scholars' success as classroom teachers."

The University's new School of Education, Public Policy and Civic Engagement
is committed to strengthening the educational and social fabric of southeastern Massachusetts. Faculty from the school will work with local K-12 educators to improve teaching practices and student attainment. Additionally, they will coach the Noyce Scholars and offer enrichment seminars as those students begin their teaching careers. Dean Ismael Ramirez-Soto said, "I am excited to welcome the talented STEM majors into the School of Education, Public Policy and Civic Engagement. The new school is in an ideal position to develop and enhance their teaching skills as they work with K-12 students in the SouthCoast."

Professors Stephen J. Hegedus, director of the James J. Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in Mathematics Education, Frank Scarano, medical laboratory science, and Tesfay Meressi, College of Engineering associate dean, will serve as co-principal investigators with O'Connor.

The program's partner school districts include Fall River, New Bedford, Wareham, Brockton and Taunton.  Bristol Community College will publicize the program to their STEM students who transition to UMass Dartmouth.

The program will become effective October 1, 2008. Noyce Scholars will be recruited in their sophomore year and will provide math and science tutoring in high needs area schools during their junior year. In their senior year, the scholars will receive a $10,000 scholarship while gaining teaching experience in high needs schools by interning with middle school and high school math and science teachers. Upon graduation, they will receive an additional $10,000 in support of their master's in teaching studies.

"I am thrilled to have this opportunity to encourage STEM majors to put their skills to use in SouthCoast classrooms," O'Connor said.

Robert Noyce, known as "Mayor of Silicon Valley," was one of the first scientists to work in that area, long before the stretch of California had earned the Silicon name. He ran two significant companies--Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel. He also invented the integrated chip, one of the stepping stones along the way to the microprocessors in today's computers.

Author:  "John Hoey"
Date:  10-Oct-2008
Department:   Center for University School Community Partnerships

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