Middle school teachers from around the country will have the opportunity to become National Stem Cell Foundation Scholars thanks to a joint program through the foundation and WKU’s Gatton Academy.
The Scholar program will allow teachers to access a variety of resources to help keep kids interested in the sciences during a time in their lives that can make or break a continued interest in the field.
“By giving teachers this scholarship, we’re hoping to reach hundreds of thousands of students through the chosen teachers’ classrooms,” Paula Grisanti, the chairwoman and CEO of the National Stem Cell Foundation, said.
The program will begin its first year this summer and has been given a grant by the foundation for five years.
“The foundation funds research and researchers, and unless we help find a way to keep kids interested, researchers won’t exist,” Grisanti said.
The NSCF Scholars program is geared towards middle school science teachers as a way to help the chosen teachers access more resources.
“This program is a way for teachers to learn new strategies and new ways to engage students to help them become and stay interested in science and math,” Julia Roberts, the executive director of the academy and the Center for Gifted Students, said.
The teachers will spend a week in early June at WKU attending presentations from speakers and workshops and will also receive a mentorship from a WKU professor.
The program will focus on all science disciplines though the scholars will have a chance to focus on a certain branch of study during a challenge project at the end of the program.
The original 10 scholars will travel to Washington, D.C., next January to share their experience with the next 10 scholars and to explore even more teaching resources.
The academy and the Center for Gifted Students hope the training and mentorship offered during this program will have a positive impact on middle school science teachers, their colleagues and their students.
“The 10 teachers sharing their experience with their colleagues, and their 10 challenge projects that can be used as a resource to others, will help make sure that the benefits of this program reach far beyond the Scholars,” Roberts said.