Hendrix College in Conway was awarded a $1,118,063 grant from the National Science Foundation.
The grant will support a five-year education research project to recruit and prepare 19 outstanding STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors to teach in secondary high-need schools (grades 7-12) in the Arkansas Delta, in addition to supporting them during their first two years of teaching in the Delta.
Two major initiatives of the program are the N-STEAD Scholars program and the N-STEAD Internship. The scholars program will recruit STEM majors into teaching by significantly reducing the cost of teacher licensure through awarding scholars $15,000 a year (renewable for one additional year) if they commit to teaching in a high-need Delta school.
The internship will allow freshman and sophomore STEM majors to teach within an informal STEM context. Students will be introduced to the academic field of science education through planning lessons, presenting science to children, and assessing the outcomes through participation in a low-risk environment, the local science outreach program known as Ridin’ Dirty with Science.
The project will be led by Hendrix education and science faculty members Dr. Dionne B. Jackson (education), Dr. Liz U. Gron (chemistry), Dr. Todd Tinsley (physics), and Dr. James Jennings (education).
“There is a need for additional highly qualified STEM teachers in the Arkansas Delta. The funds from this grant will support the placement and retention of highly qualified STEM teachers in the Delta,” said Dr. Jackson. “The impact these teachers will have on their students, districts, and communities is limitless.”
“This grant recognizes both the excellence of the science programs at Hendrix and the important work our education department has been doing with the public schools in the Delta,” said Hendrix Provost Dr. Robert L. Entzminger. “It will allow us to focus our attention on a crucial need in Arkansas and at the same time provide our students with opportunities to put their knowledge and skills to immediate use.”