IUPUI faculty receive $1.5 million grant to prepare new STEM teachers

INDIANAPOLIS -- A team of six IUPUI faculty members has been awarded a five-year, $1.5 million grant to prepare undergraduate students for careers as secondary STEM teachers. The award comes from the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which seeks to encourage talented science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science -- including engineering and computer science -- teachers.

The project, "Carver Teaching Initiative -- Inspiring the Next Generation of STEM Teaching Professionals through Internships, Recruitment and Engagement," will support internships and scholarships for undergraduate students pursuing STEM degrees and preparing for careers as classroom teachers. It will provide 90 summer internships, 25 two-year scholarships of up to $16,500 each year and professional development incentives for 15 first-year teachers.

STEM teaching is one area that is often in high demand among school districts. This project will focus on helping to meet that demand in Central Indiana, primarily through three district partners: MSD of Pike Township, MSD of Lawrence Township and Muncie Community Schools.

A recent study of high school students' career interests led by grant principal investigator Jomo Mutegi found that "the strongest career influence that high-achieving high school students have is firsthand experience doing work in a given career area. The second strongest career influence is to have a vicarious experience, wherein students learn about the career from someone in that area."

The internships, aggressive recruitment and early professional development will nurture interest and offer meaningful connections to the STEM field. 

The six IUPUI faculty members leading the project are Jomo W. Mutegi, Crystal Morton and Craig Willey from the IUPUI School of Education and James Hill, Tamiko Porter and Robert Yost from the IUPUI School of Science. Learn more online about the Carver Teaching Initiative.

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