Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students with a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) shared their excitement and engaged Illinois youth in STEM learning as Noyce summer scholars.
The students participated in the Robert J. Noyce Teacher Scholarship program. This program is funded by the National Science Foundation and provides $2,500 summer scholarships to qualified SIUE freshmen and sophomores and local community college students who are interested in STEM teaching careers. The students receive training in delivering STEM activities to youth and then complete 200 hours of service, teaching in an informal K-12 learning environment.
They showcased their experiences during the Noyce Summer Scholars Showcase held Thursday, Sept. 27 in SIUE’s Morris University Center.
“The Noyce summer scholars program offered one of the best experiences I’ve had working with children,” said sophomore Donovan Washington. The Kirkwood, Mo. Native is majoring in secondary education with a focus on mathematics.
“I got to work for Edwardsville Summer Zone and the SIUE STEM Center’s Odyssey Science Camp,” Washington explained. “I had an engaging high school math teacher who inspired me, and I hope to be that type of educator for future students. As a math teacher, my goal will be to make it enjoyable for students to come to class and learn every day.”
The 2018 community sites for the Noyce scholars included Summer Zone, Odyssey Science Camp, Volo Bog State Natural Area, Saint Louis Science Center, Watershed Nature Center and the STEM Meets Humanities initiative.
“You learn best when you think about how to teach something to other people,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Greg Budzban, PhD, as he visited students during the showcase event. “When you do that, you’re actually learning deepest yourself. These students had the wonderful opportunity to engage with younger students and share their enthusiasm for STEM, while also enhancing their own learning experience.”
Along with Washington, SIUE student participants included Jaala Taylor, biochemistry major Sophie Melzer, first-year pharmacy student Anna Ngo, mathematics major Kendra Wright, computer science major Jessica Tetzner, and construction management major Gaige Crowell.
“As a future pharmacist, I’ll be an educator of the public,” said Ngo, who spent her summer at Volo Bog State Natural Area. “While at Volo Bog, I led tours, assisted with and led educational programming, and helped with habitat restoration. I also tied my experience into pharmacy by researching the medicinal uses of the plants in Volo Bog.”
“I would absolutely recommend that students apply to be a Noyce scholar,” she added. “It’s a great opportunity to do something valuable over the summer and make a difference. By leading engaging educational programming, I was able to make an impact on the kids who visited Volo Bog.
The Noyce summer scholars experience is coordinated through the SIUE STEM Center, in partnership with faculty from the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Photos: Noyce scholar Donovan Washington shares the major takeaways from his summer experience with College of Arts and Sciences Dean Greg Budzban.
Noyce scholar Anna Ngo tells Colin Wilson, with the SIUE STEM Center, about her summer spent at Volo Bog State Natural Area.