Armstrong Receives NSF Grant to Educate STEM Teachers

(Oct. 3, 2012) Armstrong has received a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship grant of $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a unique scholarship program for science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) students to complete the Bachelor of Science degree and continue their studies at Armstrong to gain a Master of Teaching degree and become K-12 STEM teachers. Through the program, Armstrong's College of Science and Technology and College of Education will collaborate and partner with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia to create learning communities and opportunities for students of all ages.

Armstrong's effort answers the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy's call to strengthen K-12 education, retain and graduate more STEM majors and more STEM teachers. The shortage of math and science teachers in Georgia is critical, especially in the southeast region of the state. The projected need in the region over the next five years is for 88 new middle and 91 new high school science or math teachers. This project will increase the number of highly qualified, master's level prepared science and math educators with the training and experience to teach in high-needs districts in Savannah and the surrounding areas of southeast Georgia. The program also targets African-American and Hispanic/Latino students to serve the needs of the community.

“The College of Science and Technology is excited to offer these programs and scholarships to our majors,” said Delana Gajdosik-Nivens, assistant dean for the College of Science and Technology and principal investigator of the Noyce project. “Our faculty were each influenced to become STEM educators by a great science or math teacher, and we are committed to producing the best-educated STEM teachers for future generations in South Georgia.”

“The Noyce grant is special and unique,” added Patricia Wachholz, dean for the College of Education. “Only a very few schools receive this funding annually. Armstrong's Colleges of Science and Technology and Education have been statewide leaders in a number of teacher quality initiatives with schools in Georgia, and I am thrilled that we were awarded this grant. It will go a long way to help us fill our need for teachers in STEM subjects.”

The grant will provide scholarships to students in all stages of their higher education, making funds available for freshman through graduate students:

MASTERS (Math and Science Teacher Education Readiness Scholarships) STEM Scholars will be students who have already completed the Bachelor of Science degree and continue on to the accelerated Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Armstrong's College of Education.

STEM Education Scholars will be STEM juniors and seniors who plan to go into the teaching profession.

STEM Education Fellows will be freshmen or sophomore STEM students who want to participate in programs that expose them to the local schools and the opportunities to become STEM teachers.

The scholarship recipients will become immersed in the local schools through serving as teaching assistants at the college level; interacting with local teachers and schools; and tutoring low-income and minority students at YMCAs in the area. The NSF Noyce grant will also help provide workshops for Armstrong STEM faculty, to assist them in advising students interested in teaching STEM in K-12 schools.

Students who complete the STEM bachelor's degree and the MAT will go on to teach in a high-needs school for two years for each year of support and will serve as peer leaders in learning communities at Armstrong and within their school environment.

For more information on how to apply, visit the Armstrong Noyce MASTERS web page. Applications will be available January 1, 2013 and due March 1, 2013.