Drexel STEM Students Will Earn Teacher Certification Through New $1.2 Million Grant

More Drexel University undergraduate students will have the opportunity to earn teacher certification in science and mathematics thanks to the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Scholarship program, which recently awarded Drexel’s School of Education a 5-year, $1.2 million grant. The new grant will allow 24 Drexel students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a major related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics to earn pre-service teacher certification in middle grades (4-8) science or mathematics through Drexel’s DragonsTeach Middle Years program. 

“There is a strong need for middle grades STEM teachers in urban school districts and this project will help us to prepare more young men and women to fill these roles,” said Sheila Vaidya, PhD, professor in the School of Education and principal investigator on the project. “We are confident that our students will graduate with the skills and understanding needed to teach in high-need schools.” 

The project is also led by co-investigators Mary Jo Grdina, PhD, a clinical professor in the School of Education; Shari L. Moskow, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Donald L. McEachron, PhD, a teaching professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems.

The project will use recent scientific, mathematical and educational knowledge to prepare and support the 24 candidates, with an emphasis on understanding the culture and life experiences of students in high-need schools. The project intends to promote social justice teaching, which is about connecting science, mathematics and engineering instruction to students’ personal experiences and culture, thus leveraging the background that each student brings to learning. Inquiry-based instruction supports this approach as it opens communication with students to establish a learning community of shared knowledge and experience.

Students will take courses through the School of Education’s DragonsTeach Middle Years curriculum. Launched in 2016, DragonsTeach Middle Years prepares Drexel undergraduate students to earn pre-service teaching certification in middle grade science, mathematics and English.

Drexel sophomores or juniors interested in a Noyce scholarship through the addition of an education minor to their math or science major should contact Dr. Vaidya at vaidyasr@drexel.edu.