TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — A national grant will help Northeastern State University recruit, train and support students interested in becoming middle and high school mathematics and science teachers in high-need schools in northeastern Oklahoma.

The National Science Foundation has awarded NSU a five-year, $1.1 million grant to establish the NSU Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

The grant will support preparing NSU students majoring in mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics to become highly effective teachers in high-need and culturally diverse schools in rural and urban areas of northeastern Oklahoma.

“The state currently faces teacher shortages, including teachers qualified for instruction in mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics,” said Dr. Martha Parrott, NSU mathematics professor. “This project aims to attract, prepare and inspire prospective teachers to select diverse areas in which to teach upon graduation and will provide 20 scholarships to high-achieving students, significantly reducing the financial burden of becoming a STEM teacher.”

Parrott said immersive-learning opportunities are critical in preparing STEM majors to teach in middle and high schools. She added the program will provide prospective teachers with diverse experiential learning opportunities, enhanced mentoring, summer workshops and high-quality induction support after graduation as part of their comprehensive preparation to be effective and engaging STEM teachers.

In addition, Parrott said NSU will be partnering with both Tahlequah Public Schools and Union Public Schools in Tulsa to provide quality experiences that will prepare students for success as future STEM teachers in middle and high schools.

The program will also complement other immersive-learning opportunities STEM education majors at NSU currently participate in such as the NSU Mathematics Clinic and the Peer Assisted Student Success Program.

NSU anticipates accepting its first group of NSU Noyce Scholars starting in fall 2023.

Requirements to be eligible for a Noyce Scholarship include being an NSU junior or senior within two years of completing a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field and teaching certification for science or mathematics at a middle or high school, being willing to teach full-time for two years in a high-need school district for each year of scholarship support received and participate in teaching experiences and professional development, both before and after graduation, provided by the program.

The NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program seeks to increase the number of K-12 STEM teachers who teach in high-need school districts. The program provides funding to higher education institutions to provide scholarships, stipends and programmatic support to recruit and prepare STEM majors and professionals to become teachers.

“Teaching is a premier opportunity to shape our tomorrow not only in Oklahoma but across the nation. There are few rewards in any career that can compare to serving as a P-12 teacher and being part of empowering a student to reach for all that is possible,” Parrott said. “Being part of such an important STEM outcome and having a hand in preparing students for tomorrow as a STEM classroom teacher can be viewed as the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Those interested can learn more at https://scholarships.nsuok.edu/robert-noyce-teacher-scholarship.aspx or contact Parrott at 918-444-3809 or parrott@nsuok.edu.