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New grant promotes STEM development

Beginning this summer, 26 scholars will receive $1.148 million in scholarships over the next five years. Students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) departments have the opportunity for a scholarship from the largest of any government grant received by ORU.

In the Math and Science Scholarships for Teaching (MASST) program, students in the STEM majors will receive tuition assistance and internships.

“This program is open to any STEM major who would like scholarship money and may be interested in teaching as a career,” said Professor of Mathematics LeighAnne Locke.

ORU is partnering with Tulsa and Broken Arrow Public Schools as well as the Tulsa Dream Center to give students and graduates hands-on experience in a high-need atmosphere.

“The target audience for this program is students who came in [to ORU] wanting to do pre-med or engineering, but changed majors because of the lack of interaction opportunities in those majors,” Locke said.

The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which funds MASST, aims to fill those increasingly vacant positions. A student in a STEM major will add 27 credits of education coursework to earn their teaching license.

The scholarship also provides reimbursement once a student has passed the teaching license tests. After graduation, students will teach at local high-need schools.

Locke and Professor of Chemistry Catherine Klehm worked together for the past three years to develop proposals for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. This year, their proposal included an unprecedented research opportunity.

“All along we really felt like God was guiding us in little decisions and big ones,” said Klehm. “We stumbled upon a research method called structured dialogue, a method of teaching for high-need schools. It educates teachers in meeting students where they are in their learning needs and understanding their cultures.”

Students interested in bringing their major to a high-needs classroom can take advantage of this amazing opportunity by applying for the scholarship by Feb. 15.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program under Award Number 1540515.

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