March

SHU Receives $1.2 Million Grant for Biology and Math Educator Scholarships

News Story: March 10, 2016

Sacred Heart University has received a 1.2-million-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (award number 1557233) for math and biology majors who are considering teaching careers.

The Robert Noyce program supports the efforts of colleges and universities to graduate highly qualified science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers for high-need school districts. Sacred Heart’s Biology and Mathematics Educator Scholarship Program will provide tuition assistance to 18 Robert Noyce scholars in those two subjects, as well as necessary program and scholar support.

“For Sacred Heart University to offer Noyce Teacher Scholarships is important on several levels,” said James Carl, dean of SHU’s Isabelle Farrington College of Education. “The program identifies aspiring science and math teachers at the undergraduate level who might not otherwise consider teaching careers. It provides able students with much-needed tuition assistance, and it helps address a pressing problem for Connecticut’s schools—a shortage of science and math teachers.”

Julianna Stockton, assistant professor of mathematics at SHU, is optimistic about the future of STEM education. “I hope this grant will encourage more of our math and science majors to consider a career in education,” Stockton said. “Our schools need teachers who are passionate about their subject matter and well prepared to communicate that passion to their students. The opportunities provided by the NSF Noyce grant at SHU will help us recruit and prepare the next generation of leaders and innovators in STEM education.”

Bonnie Maur, professor at the College of Education, echoed Stockton’s optimism. “STEM education has become a national priority over the past several years, both for student growth and for the preparation of young professionals to take their place in appropriate STEM careers,” she said. “We are very excited to provide the Noyce scholars with the opportunities to become master teachers of science and math and to influence the future leaders of society in all STEM careers. We at Sacred Heart University will provide exciting opportunities in research, field work, seminars and coursework to best prepare our Noyce Scholars to mentor their future students in this regard.”

The grant supports ample opportunities for travel to regional and national conferences, membership in professional societies, research projects and education workshops. The scholars also will receive mentoring from STEM teachers in high-need school districts for two years after entering their first teaching job. In this way, Noyce scholars are set to receive vital support and preparation.

The program seeks not only to increase the number of highly qualified biology and math teachers in high schools in the area, but also to improve high school student engagement and achievement in biology and math.

Carl applauded such efforts on the part of SHU’s faculty. “Professors Julianna Stockton, Bonnie Maur, Michael Giarratano and Mark Beekey are to be congratulated for designing such an impactful program.”

Students interested in this opportunity should email Beekey at beekeym@sacredheart.edu, or call 203-371-7783

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.