This project aims to serve the national need of preparing high-quality STEM teachers for rural communities. The goal of this project is to attract undergraduate students to STEM teaching careers in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. It will award these promising future teachers with scholarships and educate them to become highly competent teachers in rural schools. Mentoring by faculty and alumni will provide the future teachers with support before and after they start their teaching careers. Through outreach and mentoring in rural school districts, the project seeks to create a wide network of support for excellent STEM teaching. The project will connect with school districts that have a substantial number of Native American students. Through virtual mentoring, online professional networking, and an annual alumni conference, the project intends create community among rural STEM teachers so that they stay in teaching.

This project at South Dakota State University includes partnerships with Flandreau School District, Brookings School District, and the South Dakota Department of Education. The project seeks to prepare and support 22 undergraduates majoring in biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics to achieve secondary teacher certification and become highly qualified STEM teachers. The longer-term goal is to enhance the teaching impact and persistence of alumni serving in rural schools by including them in ongoing support and mentoring. The project's recruiting efforts include activities in the Flandreau School District, which is on the Flandreau-Santee Tribal Lands. The project design is informed by the Early Career Teacher Resilience Framework. Research activities aim to use this framework, social network analysis, and survey data to understand the role of project elements in creating a resilient community of teachers who stay in the profession. This Track 1: Scholarships and Stipends project is supported through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce). The Noyce program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers and experienced, exemplary K-12 STEM teachers to become STEM master teachers in high-need school districts. It also supports research on the persistence, retention, and effectiveness of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Jennifer Lewis
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South Dakota State University
United States
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