Armstrong Noyce MASTERS program bridging the need for science and math teachers

When the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy put out a call for action to strengthen K-12 education by retaining and graduating more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors and teachers, Armstrong acted swiftly by creating The Noyce Math and Science Teacher Education Readiness Scholarships (MASTERS) program.

In 2012, Armstrong received a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship of $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a unique scholarship program for STEM students to complete a Bachelor of Science degree and continue their studies at Armstrong to gain a Master of Teaching degree to become certified K-12 STEM teachers. The Noyce MASTERS program kicked off its first semester in the fall of 2013 with 14 students, becoming the only university in the area and one of a few colleges in the state to offer the program.

“The program provides direct opportunities for students who want to major in a STEM discipline and go on to rewarding careers in secondary education” says Dr. Robert Gregerson, dean of Armstrong's College of Science and Technology. “Students who enter the Noyce MASTERS program have a defined next step.”

Now moving into the program's second semester, Armstrong is one step closer to answering the White House's call for more qualified STEM teachers. The shortage of math and science teachers affecting Georgia and the entire United States is critical. In 2012, the projected need in the Southeast region over the next five years was estimated at 88 new middle school and 91 new high school science or math teachers.

“The goal is for this program to produce highly qualified science and math teachers for the region, the state and the country, to help bridge that need,” Gregerson explains.

The Noyce MASTERS program is a collaboration between Armstrong's College of Science and Technology, Armstrong's College of Education and the Savannah-Chatham Public School System.

“We have an established connection that provides mentors for our students with real, working professionals,” he says.

According to Gregerson, Armstrong seeks to attract two groups of students to the program: current Armstrong undergraduates who are science and math majors and students who have already graduated with degrees in math or science, even from other universities, and have gone out in their field to work.

“In our first year, we have students from both of these groups,” he explains.

The program pays $10,000 per year to supplement students' undergraduate and master's level education and targets African American and Hispanic/Latino STEM students.

“The number of minority science and math teachers is small, and we want to make an impact in that area as well,” Gregerson says.

Armstrong is currently recruiting STEM candidates. To view the requirements for this competitive scholarship, visit the Noyce MASTERS program webpage. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2014.