$500,000 in Scholarships Available to Aspiring Science and Math Teachers

AMHERST, Mass. - Area college students, including those at the University of Massachusetts, who are aiming to become science or math teachers, are eligible for $500,000 in scholarships that will be granted over the next five years. The scholarships are being made available as part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Teacher Education Collaborative (STEMTEC), according to Sharon M. Palmer, STEMTEC’s director of student services.

STEMTEC is a five-year, $5 million project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and housed at the University of Massachusetts and Five Colleges Inc. The scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000 for a one- to two-year period. Undergraduates enrolled in one of the eight colleges in the collaborative who are studying mathematics, the sciences, or engineering, and who have an interest in teaching mathematics or science at the K-12 level may apply. STEMTEC can also provide future teachers with mentors, as well as classroom experience, Palmer said. The program’s goals are improving science and math teacher preparation, with an emphasis on student-active learning, and addressing the growing need for science and mathematics teachers.

STEMTEC is seeking students who are leaders in their fields, who are interested in new approaches to teaching and learning, and who can demonstrate a commitment to teaching mathematics and science at the K-12 level. "One of the goals of the program is to enlarge the pool of prospective teachers by seeking out applicants from traditionally underrepresented populations," Palmer said.

The first scholarships will be awarded in January 1999 for the 1998-1999 academic year, Palmer said. Applications will be available in early October and will be due on Nov. 15. Faculty may nominate prospective applicants as well. An information session about the NSF-STEMTEC Teaching Scholars Program and other STEMTEC student services will be held on Wed. Oct. 14, at 4 p.m. in Lederle Graduate Research Tower, Room 1033. Refreshments will be served.

The STEMTEC collaborative consists of the University of Massachusetts, along with Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire colleges; Greenfield, Holyoke, and Springfield Technical community colleges; and neighboring school districts. The project has many facets, including workshops for K-12 and college faculty, and a variety of teaching opportunities for undergraduates in K-12 and college settings.