October 16, 2014
Texas Tech University has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Noyce scholarship grant valued at almost $800,000 to continue a fellowship program in collaboration with Lubbock Independent School District, South Plains College, Midland College and Odessa College.
The four-year program is an enhanced continuation of the current Texas Tech Noyce Scholars (TTNS) program, in which 24 students are selected from STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for summer internships designed to develop their interest in teaching.
Sixteen students will continue on to complete a two-year, K-12 teacher certification program where each student receives scholarships of up to $15,000 per year. Upon certification, the Noyce Scholars will teach for four years at high-needs schools.
The TTNS-II program is administered by Texas Tech's STEM Center for Outreach, Research & Education (STEM-CORE) and is significant nationally due to the lack of recruitment of undergraduate math and science majors into the teaching profession.
Project investigators include Jerry Dwyer (PI) and Brock Williams (Mathematics & Statistics), Jaclyn Cañas-Carrell (Environmental Toxicology), and Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz and Tara Stevens (College of Education).
Dwyer, director of the STEM-CORE, said the Noyce program will impact schools where qualified teachers are greatly needed.
“The program recruits content experts to teach in high-needs schools,” he said. “This will especially help rural schools where there is high teacher turnover and where teachers often teach STEM subjects without having a degree in a STEM discipline.”
Dwyer said the program will also assist poorer urban schools that often have trouble recruiting teachers with the appropriate content expertise.
The NSF Noyce scholarship grant is the first major, funded grant being administered by the STEM Center for Outreach, Research & Education. President M. Duane Nellis expressed his support for the program.
“STEM programs are vitally important to our future as a society, especially in educating our young people for tomorrow,” Nellis said. “Congratulations to Dr. Dwyer and each of the involved entities on their dedication to enhancing teaching opportunities and education for Texas Tech's students.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense"
With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), they are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.
View a 2 minute video overview of NSF's mission and focus.