The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Towson University a five-year grant worth $900,000 to establish the TU Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. The Noyce scholarship will focus specifically on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teacher preparation at the secondary school level and offers scholarships to meritorious undergraduate juniors and seniors. The program also aims to recruit STEM professionals interested in getting teacher certification. For every year of support they receive, recipients are committed to teach in a high-needs school district for two years.
The recruitment phase of the program aims to target students with academic potential and financial need. It will rely heavily on coordination efforts with other NSF programs and activities currently at Towson University, including:
• Towson Opportunities in STEM (TOPS), a program geared toward supporting underserved students with the transition to higher education and STEM curriculum
• CoSMIC Scholars Program (Computing Sciences and Mathematics in College), which offers scholarships to disadvantaged student interested in pursuing degree is STEM disciplines
• Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science, which currently provides outreach activities to students while offering Maryland teachers ongoing professional development
These programs, along with several other STEM funded initiatives, will provide the Noyce scholarship program with a diverse pool of candidates.
“What’s really appealing about this program is that it will support our graduates beyond its preparatory phase,” David Vanko, acting dean of the Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics and the project’s principal investigator, said. During the new teachers’ induction phase, TU will monitor and mentor Noyce scholars for six years beyond certification.
“By tracking their progress and setbacks in the teaching field,” Vanko said, “we will be able to assist graduates with the additional resources and support which are so critical in the early years.” He said TU also will “fine tune” the program so it continues to serve student teacher needs, with plans to create a Noyce scholars virtual community, provide ongoing instructional materials and offer annual workshops.
Vanko’s fellow project team members include Katherine Denniston, acting provost and vice president for academic affairs; Todd Kenreich, assistant professor, Department of Secondary Education; Donald Thomas, director of the Willard Hackerman Academy; and Jane Wolfson, director of the environmental science and studies program.