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NSF awards VCU a $1.2M grant to train math and science teachers for the Richmond region

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Rosalyn Hobson Hargraves, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the School of Education and an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the School of Engineering, is part of the team working on the Noyce Phase III project. Photo courtesy of VCU School of Education.

The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.2 million to a Virginia Commonwealth University scholarship program that recruits science, technology, engineering and math students and trains them to serve as secondary school math and science teachers in the Richmond region.

The grant to the Noyce Scholarship program at the VCU School of Education is meant to help address a longstanding shortage of STEM teachers.

It will provide 25 scholarships, stipends and fellowships for students interested in pursuing teacher training in mathematics and science. The project will fund 12 STEM majors and 13 Masters of Teaching students over five years.

The Noyce Scholarship is a collaborative effort between VCU’s School of Education, School of Engineering and the College of Humanities and Sciences in partnership with the school districts of the City of Richmond, Henrico County and Chesterfield County. The program provides scholarships to STEM majors interested in teaching in high-needs districts.

The NSF grant will fund a new project called Noyce Phase III that will build on past successes of the program and provide new recruitment and retention opportunities.

“With Phase III, we’ll incorporate a summer camp internship and a new service-learning course designed to provide classroom experience to recruit scholars,” said principal investigator Elizabeth Edmondson, Ph.D. “To help retain them, we’ll also offer a two-year induction program using research-based problem-solving protocols with a school-based mentor.”

Working with Edmondson will be Rosalyn Hobson Hargraves, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the School of Education and an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the School of Engineering; LaChelle Waller, Ph.D., director undergraduate advising and research and an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Humanities and Sciences; and Aimee Ellington, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics in the College of Humanities and Sciences.

The NSF grant was announced by U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

“We are proud to announce critical funding to support the recruitment of math and science teachers in the Richmond Metro Area,” the senators said in a news release. “Enhancing STEM education is a top priority, and we are thrilled that VCU students and the National Science Foundation have displayed a commitment to pursuing this important endeavor.”