UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Secondary Mathematics Noyce Scholarship Program is accepting applications for its inaugural year, which will begin in fall 2017. The program will help address the nationwide shortage of secondary mathematics teachers by providing scholarships for 15 students over a three-year period.
Made possible by a $1.16 million National Science Foundation grant, the competitive renewable scholarships will provide $19,000 per year for students’ last two years of college. To be eligible, students must be enrolled as concurrent majors in mathematics and secondary mathematics education or in the University’s integrated undergraduate/graduate (IUG) program that includes an undergraduate mathematics major and a master’s of education in secondary mathematics education.
“Every year since 2006, at least 40 states have declared shortages in the number of secondary mathematics teachers,” said M. Kathleen Heid, distinguished professor of mathematics education and principal investigator for the grant. “All over the nation, the number of teachers or individuals preparing to be teachers is plummeting, especially in mathematics education.”
Guided by co-principal investigators Rose Mary Zbiek, professor of mathematics education and head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Gina Foletta, assistant professor of mathematics education; and James Sellers, professor of mathematics and associate head for undergraduate studies, the program is a collaboration among the College of Education, the Eberly College of Science and several programs for high school students, including the Summer College Opportunity in Education (S.C.O.P.E.) program.
Noyce Scholars will receive specialized training for teaching in high-needs schools in both urban and rural areas. They will have the opportunity to tutor students from high-needs schools through Penn State’s Upward Bound program and are required to complete the Philadelphia Urban Seminar, an immersion course offered through the College of Education that allows students to work with teachers and children in the School District of Philadelphia and perform community service projects within the city. Scholars also will work in high-needs rural schools during their pre-student teaching.
Current school districts that have committed to host Noyce Scholar student teachers include Bald Eagle Area, Moshannon Valley, Penns Valley Area and West Branch. Pittsburgh Public Schools will serve as one of the primary host districts for the urban, high-needs student teaching experience.
The program also will provide students with a variety of mentors to help them successfully complete the competitive program. As student teachers, scholars will have a mentor teacher in the school where they are placed and a mathematics education faculty member who will serve as an adviser. Current teachers who are College of Education alumni will serve as formal mentors for scholarship recipients while they complete the program and into the early parts of their careers.
Upon accepting the scholarship, recipients must agree to teach in a high-needs urban or rural school for two years for each year of support — a total of four years — following graduation. Those who do not fulfill their four-year commitment will be required to pay back all or a portion of their scholarship award.
Applications for the first five scholarships are due Jan. 18, 2017, and can be obtained by visiting http://bit.ly/2heeQ2K. For more information, interested students may contact Gina Foletta, project manager for the scholarship program, at firstname.lastname@example.org.