STEM Graduates Celebrate
Inaugural STEM class prepared 'to be the best teachers Delaware has to offer'
2:32 p.m., June 1, 2011--
“We want to be the best teachers Delaware has to offer.” That was the declaration made by Jeffrey Gunther, a 2011 University of Delaware master of arts in teaching graduate, during the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) residency program reception held May 25. The event was a celebration of the inaugural class of the STEM program highlighting the partnership among UD, the Delaware Department of Education and the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District using Race to the Top funds to create an innovative new teaching program.
The STEM residency program is an intensive 10-month master’s in teaching degree offered by UD's College of Education and Human Development. It was designed to attract people with knowledge and experience in the critical fields of math and science who will use that knowledge to teach and inspire students.
Since July of 2010, the eight students in the STEM residency program have completed 33 credit hours, learning teaching methods and served an internship at one of two schools – Howard High School of Technology and Delcastle Technical High School.
Graduating students were introduced at the reception by Brad Glass, program coordinator and assistant professor in the School of Education. They are: Benjamin Berg, Amanda Biggers, Julianne Coxe, Roxanne Dubin, Jeffrey Gunther, Benjamin Lowe, Michael Malaney and Russell Mauger.
Gunther, representing the graduating students, discussed not only the challenges his classmates faced but also the incredibly rewarding experiences he said they have gained. The bonds they formed are expected to last well in the future, he said, as they all learn to navigate the difficult waters of teaching math and science to high school students.
UD Provost Tom Apple said, “Delaware has serious challenges recruiting and retaining highly effective teachers in math and science. Approximately 150 math and science teachers are hired each year to teach in middle and high schools. It is difficult to obtain enough quality teachers, especially in our high needs schools. Our STEM residency program is designed to help meet that need.”
A recent study has found that, out of 34 industrialized countries, American students rank 17th in science and 25th in math. Employers find that American students don’t have the skills to qualify for high tech jobs.
Gov. Jack Markell attended the event, reaffirming his support for this critical program. In his State of the State speech in January, he stated how important it is that Delaware students develop critical STEM skills so that they gain the technical skills and knowledge needed for high-quality jobs. “To prepare Delaware’s children for successful lives and careers, we must be willing to commit to providing every student with an education that can compete with the world’s best.”
Lillian M. Lowery, Delaware secretary of education, agreed. “We need to change the way students are taught math and science, and children need to be encouraged and inspired in these subjects that help America remain at the forefront of innovation and development, ” she said.
“By promoting collaborations between business leaders, educators, and other stakeholders we feel this program can help raise student achievement, reinvigorate math and science education, and promote innovative educational reform,” said Nancy Brickhouse, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development. She concluded the evening by welcoming the next class of STEM residents. Sixteen students have been accepted to the 2011-2012 cohort that begins in July.
Article by Alison Burris