Friday, March 13, 2020

Saint Joseph’s College to announce $1.45 million award to address Maine’s secondary STEM teacher shortage

President James Dlugos is set to announce that Saint Joseph’s College of
Maine has been awarded a five-year, $1,444,983 grant from the National Science Foundation’s
Track 1 Robert Noyce Scholarship and Stipend Program.

Governor Janet T. Mills will officiate at the announcement, which will be made on Monday,

March 16th at 10:30 a.m. in the Baggot Street Cafe of the Heffernan Center at Saint Joseph’s
College. The event will be open to media.

The Growing Future STEM Teachers in Maine (GFSTM) project will provide two-year
scholarships of $25,500 per year to a total of 18 undergraduate juniors and seniors. The program
will provide special supports as they pursue STEM degrees in biology, mathematics, or physical
sciences-chemistry or environmental science, as well as secondary education certification., Noyce Scholars will work in high-need urban and rural schools across Maine.
GFSTM is a collaboration between Saint Joseph’s and Southern Maine Community College, and
a partnership with 7 school districts.

The seven GFSTM partner schools include: Deering High School, Lewiston High School, and
Westbrook High School as urban schools; Bonny Eagle High School, Windham High School,
Lake Region High School, and Old Town High School as rural schools.

The Growing Future STEM Teachers in Maine project is designed to increase the number of
secondary STEM teachers in an era when nearly a third of Maine teachers are 55 years old and
nearing retirement, and to address the decades-old problem of Maine’s shortage of STEM
teachers, in particular. By partnering with a community college and seven high-need schools, the
Noyce project is designed to grow students from within those sites. The project will also
encourage students from high-need school districts to return to their communities as teachers and
leaders of the next generation of science and math educators.“Saint Joseph’s College is deeply committed to educating the next generation of STEM teachers
for Maine schools,” President Dlugos said. “STEM education remains the foundation and the
number one priority for training Maine’s future skilled and educated workforce. By working with
SMCC and schools across Maine, this project promises to draw more students into STEM-Ed
degrees, provide teacher training with diverse populations, and plant seeds with current high
school and middle school students to become future STEM teachers.”

Maine’s Congressional leaders expressed excitement about the program. “In order for Maine’s
students to gain STEM skills, we need to make sure they have dedicated and well-trained STEM
educators,” said Senators Susan Collins and Angus King in a joint statement. “For decades,
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine has been giving teachers the tools they need to train the next
generation of STEM workers. This funding will help the college expand its efforts and make an
even greater impact on Maine’s students and economy.” Chellie Pingree said: As the number of STEM jobs in Maine increase rapidly, we
need our students to be well-prepared for their future careers,” said Pingree. “Increasing the
number of public school STEM teachers will go a long way towards preparing our children for
the jobs of tomorrow. My thanks to the National Science Foundation for recognizing how
important this STEM education is for the future of Maine’s workforce and for funding this

Representative Jared Golden added: “Saint Joseph’s College does critical work to prepare young
Mainers for jobs in education and other careers, positions we need to fill in our state. This grant
will provide Maine students with opportunities to develop valuable skills that they’ll bring back
to the classroom and help address our STEM teacher shortage. I’m proud to see the NSF
prioritize schools in places like Lewiston and Old Town to provide Maine students with access to
good jobs and a quality education.”

Matthew J. Lokken, Principal of Lake Region Middle School, a project partner, said: “We
appreciate that Saint Joseph’s College will address the shortage of science teachers in our region.
In the last few years, we have not had a large pool of applicants for posted STEM teacher
positions. It is essential that students at the middle school receive rigorous and authentic learning
opportunities in STEM education for not only academic success and opportunities, but to
effectively prepare the next generation of innovators.”

The first Noyce Scholars will be awarded scholarships in Fall 2020. The grant’s investigators
and creators are Dr. Patricia Waters, Assistant Professor of Education, Dr. Emily Lesher,
Associate Professor of Science, and SMCC’s Dr. Daniel Moore, Professor of Biological
Sciences.“This partnership provides new opportunities for our students who have a passion for math and
science,” said SMCC President Joe Cassidy. “Besides helping our students, the program will
benefit Maine’s educational system by allowing us to do our part in delivering a new generation
of STEM teachers where they are most needed. This builds upon our mission of transforming
lives and communities through education and training.”

For more information about GFSTM, the scholarship criteria and application process, see or contact Oliver Griswold at 917-617-2103 or

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