National Science Foundation Awards STEM Teacher Prep Grant to New York Institute of Technology

May 1, 2019

New York Institute of Technology has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant of $1.2 million to prepare high school math and science teachers to work in high-need school districts. The institution will work with four public high schools on Long Island and the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) to implement an innovative teacher training program.

The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program is an NSF effort to fund programs that fill the nation’s need for inspiring STEM educators. The scholarships, which provide tuition and academic support, open up the field of K-12 teaching to talented STEM graduates and professionals from all economic circumstances.

Beginning this summer, the first group of Robert Noyce Teacher Scholars at New York Institute of Technology will undergo training in cultural competency, hands-on activities for STEM learning, and teaching with technology. In addition, they will complete coursework to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.). After earning New York State’s initial teaching certification in biology, chemistry, math, or physics, Noyce Scholars from New York Institute of Technology will be placed in permanent jobs in cooperating schools, where they will receive continuing mentoring.

Scholarship recipients must agree to teach for at least two years in high-need school districts. The university has existing partnerships at Valley Stream Central, Roosevelt, Westbury, and Academy Charter high schools; students may arrange teaching placements in other area schools as well. The grant covers a total of 16 scholars over the next five years.

New York Institute of Technology’s program will strive to recruit students from minority communities that are typically underrepresented in high school science classrooms. “Research suggests that teachers who are African-American, Hispanic, or Native American are more likely to teach at high-needs schools and to serve as models,” said Principal Investigator (PI) Hui-Yin Hsu, Ph.D., professor and associate dean, NYIT School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Education. Other factors in selecting Noyce Scholars are test scores, financial need, and faculty interviews. New York Institute of Technology will pursue candidates from among its thousands of STEM-educated graduates and young alumni, as well as through partner schools, STEM organizations, and NYSCI events.

A key objective of the university’s Noyce Scholarship Program is to educate culturally sensitive and technologically competent science teachers. Noyce Scholars will take courses and workshops in culturally responsive teaching, technology integration, and computational thinking. These will be developed in partnership with faculty members from throughout the institution, including co-PIs Minaz Fazal, Ph.D.; Spencer Turkel, Ph.D.; and Robert Feirsen, Ed.D.

Another critical objective of New York Institute of Technology’s Noyce Scholars will be to engage high school students in STEM subjects. With help from NYSCI and partner high schools, the program will prepare teachers to inspire students’ interest. NYSCI, famous for interactive science, will work with the university to offer workshops showing how to incorporate hands-on activities into classroom science.

Stephen Uzzo, Ph.D., NYSCI’s chief scientist and an adjunct instructor in NYIT’s master’s program in instructional technology, and Michaela Labriole, NYSCI’s director of Strategic Education Initiatives, will spearhead NYSCI’s participation in the program. “Educating these Noyce Scholars will be an opportunity for all of us to shape, indirectly, a new generation of scientists, engineers, and other STEM-informed professionals,” said Uzzo.

Partner high schools will provide student teaching opportunities, with early field experiences and in-school mentors. “School-level support in high-needs schools is extremely important for retaining new teachers,” said Hsu. In addition, candidates who have early experiences in such schools are more likely to continue teaching there. Mentoring will come from site supervisors and cooperating teachers, with support from the university’s teacher education faculty.

Ultimately, besides working with 16 new secondary science teachers over the next five years, this new Noyce Scholars Program will enhance understanding of how best to train and retain STEM-educated teachers in high need schools. Hsu and her co-PIs will gather information from Scholars throughout their time in the program, identifying areas for improvement in the process of preparing teachers. Following graduates’ teaching careers, researchers will also examine how being trained as Noyce Scholars affects subsequent commitment to teaching in high-need schools. They will share their findings both in peer review journals and in training workshops to teach intervention strategies for teacher preparation and retention.

Junius Gonzales, M.D., M.B.A., provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at New York Institute of Technology, said of this effort, “A technology-focused university such as ours is a rich environment for developing best practices in teaching science and math. This NSF grant will spread important lessons of STEM teaching through our partner schools and beyond.”

About New York Institute of Technology

New York Institute of Technology offers 90 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs in more than 50 fields of study, including computer science, data, and cybersecurity; biology and biomedical studies; architecture and design; engineering; health professions and medicine; IT and digital technologies; management; communications and marketing; education and counseling; and energy and sustainability. A nonprofit, independent, private, and nonsectarian institute of higher education, New York Institute of Technology welcomes nearly 8,000 students worldwide. The university has campuses in New York City (Manhattan) and Long Island (Old Westbury), New York; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as programs around the world.

New York Institute of Technology embraces its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, give all qualified students access to opportunity, and support research and scholarship that benefit the larger world. More than 107,000 alumni comprise an engaged network of doers, makers, and innovators prepared to change the world, solve 21st-century challenges, and reinvent the future.

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Karen-Marie Belnap