$300K grant aims to boost ranks of science, math teachers

SUNY Oswego has received a two-year, $300,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a program to attract talented science and math students to teaching and to retain them in the profession.

Numerous programs already in place, such as one at the 400-acre Rice Creek Field Station shown here, will support “Full STEM” — the plan for a two-year, $300,000 grant intended to recruit and retain science, technology, engineering and math teachers.

The proposed program, “Full STEM: Creating Dedicated Science and Math Teachers for a Sustainable Future,” recently obtained the grant through the NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which encourages promising students and professionals to become K-12 math and science teachers, particularly in high-need school districts.

“The whole goal is to try to attract more people into STEM teaching (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) — not just bodies, but more of our best and brightest. There’s a lot of competition,” said Martha Bruch, associate professor of chemistry and principal investigator for the grant.

The program aims to recruit teacher candidates in a number of ways and from a number of sources: partnering with local school districts to build awareness of the science and math teacher education program at SUNY Oswego, helping as many freshman science and math majors as possible discover the rewards of teaching, approaching upper-class STEM majors about teaching as they reach a career decision point, and to find and attract candidates from business and industry during career changes and after retirement.

Bruch pointed out numerous programs already in place to support Full STEM: Rice Creek Biological Field Station, a 400-acre living laboratory rich in field research and teaching opportunities; Project SMART, a cross-school-district, interdisciplinary learning community of teachers, administrators and community leaders across the state; summer research opportunities for undergraduates, as well as a collaboration with the Syracuse Academy of Science; Team Sheldon, a partnership of Oswego County public schools, Oswego County BOCES and the School of Education; and experienced faculty in education and in STEM disciplines.

“This is a really exciting opportunity,” Bruch said. “What gives me optimism that this can be successful is that we have such a network of support.”

Leave a Reply