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Catawba College Lands $1.45 Million National Science Foundation Grant


National Science FoundationCatawba College has received a $1.45 million grant from the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program of the National Science Foundation that will provide five years of support for scholarships and internships that help prepare Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors for teaching careers. This is the largest grant of this type that Catawba has ever received.

"This grant is an outstanding accomplishment and a milestone for the College. It is a clear demonstration of the NSF's support for the vision of our faculty and the quality of students who come to Catawba," explained Catawba President Brien Lewis.

The Catawba College Noyce Scholars project will bring together Catawba with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (RCCC) and the Rowan-Salisbury Schools to focus on the recruitment, preparation and retention of STEM majors in teaching careers. The project has three phases:   Exploratory Internships, Scholarships, and Collegial Support Networks. It will prepare STEM educators in a broad range of disciplines (biology, chemistry, environmental science, or mathematics) who are capable of teaching at a variety of grade levels. Students will receive rigorous coursework in these disciplines, teacher preparation, and will complete mentored experiences within the local school system, Rowan-Salisbury Schools, and in research laboratories to gain understanding of both STEM and education fields.

The Exploratory Internship component of the project provides paid internships for up to 60 freshman and sophomore students at RCCC to experience teaching and to recruit them to pursue a career in K-12 education. Eighteen upperclassmen who pursue a major in a STEM discipline and licensure in teaching at Catawba College will receive $18,000 scholarships in their junior and senior years of college.

Additionally, these Noyce Scholars will engage in activities that build social and cultural capital in the education profession and enjoy a support network for retention and success during both their training and early career in teaching. These activities include a cohort-building retreat and a mentoring program wherein Scholars will engage in classroom field experiences with a highly effective teacher in the Rowan-Salisbury Schools system. This mentoring will help the Scholars develop a social network to support them during their induction years as STEM teachers.

Following graduation, these Noyce Scholars will be required to work for four years in a high-need school district as a condition of receiving the scholarship. During this time, they will receive funds to attend a state STEM education conference and to purchase classroom supplies.

"This grant funds a program that will offer outstanding opportunities for our students in the sciences. It's a testament to the imagination and persistence of Dr. Constance Rogers-Lowery, associate professor and chair of Catawba's biology department," Catawba Provost Dr. Rick Stephens said. "The project it will fund is a collaborative effort between programming in our sciences and mathematics and in teacher education."

In addition to Rogers-Lowery, others on the faculty team who collaborated on the grant proposal include from Catawba, Dr. Cyndi Osterhus, associate professor of education and director of Catawba's Shirley Peeler Ritchie Academy for Teaching, and Dr. John Zerger, professor of mathematics; and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Dr. Marcy Corjay, dean of science, biotechnology, mathematics, and information technologies.

The grant period began Oct. 1, 2012 and expires Sept. 30, 2017.


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