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EWU Awarded NSF Grant

Published: May 12, 2017

CHENEY, Wash. - Eastern Washington University has received a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program to help recruit and retain outstanding STEM teachers across the state of Washington.

The five-year project will provide financial and professional support to scholars from Eastern and the Community Colleges of Spokane (CCS). The grant money will be targeted toward at least 33 preservice teachers, with $10,000 scholarships available for juniors and $16,000 scholarships available for seniors.

Noyce Scholars will be recruited through various avenues including collaboration with CCS and EWU STEM faculty. A major feature of the grant is that preservice teachers will graduate with degrees in STEM disciplines, not just teacher education.

"The goal is to increase the number, quality and diversity of secondary teachers in STEM disciplines, as well as to strengthen teacher preparation," said EWU Mathematics Professor Jackie Coomes, who is one of the Principal Investigators (PIs). "The impact of this program will be felt by students across Washington for years to come."

Along with Coomes, PIs include Heather McKean, a senior associate faculty member in EWU's Biology Department, and EWU Education Chair Tara Haskins. They will enhance the quality of instruction by working directly with scholarship recipients and their mentor teachers to develop and enact highly effective STEM teaching practices. EWU faculty will continue their support beyond graduation, providing scholars with two years of continued in classroom training.

The PIs will collaborate with other entities to provide scholars, and potential scholars, opportunities to work with children in and outside of the classroom in STEM inquiry based programs. Freshmen and sophomores will be recruited for the program from underrepresented populations by working with advisors from programs that serve diverse student populations.

This is the second Noyce grant EWU has received. Through the implementation of the first Noyce project (2010-16), 48 scholars were supported and 80 percent are meeting their obligation to teach in underserved school systems and provide quality instruction to underrepresented students across eastern Washington.

In addition to the three Principal Investigators, EWU Mathematics Department Chair Barbara Alvin and EWU Biology Department Chair Margaret O'Connell are involved in the project.


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