Noyce Scholars Program Application

AAMU Noyce Scholars Program Description

The U.S. Department of Education has indicated that the state of Alabama has experienced a shortage of science and mathematics teachers for at least the past decade. The state’s needs regarding science and mathematics educators is not just about increasing the number of teachers, but is also about ensuring that these educators have been certified and have also been deemed qualified to teach in these academic areas. Furthermore, the need for science and mathematics teachers is magnified when we consider the number of education majors coming out of education preparation programs. The number of science and mathematics teacher candidates has continued to spiral downward being slowed only by special initiatives. The debate over how shortages of science and mathematics teachers come to exist rests on two premises, one on adequate supply and the other on attrition or ability to retain science and mathematics educators.

Alabama A&M University Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, funded by the National Science Foundation, is designed to increase the number of highly-qualified teachers graduating in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, and teaching in Alabama. The program is supported by Alabama A&M University, Calhoun State Community College, Lawson State Community College, and Drake State Community College. The program has 4 major goals that include (1) increase the pool of highly-qualified science and mathematics teachers working in high-need schools, including high-need rural schools in north Alabama, (2) improve STEM teacher recruitment and retention efforts through this program focused on engaging STEM students who are interested in teaching, (3) implement a challenging curriculum to ensure scholars are competent in content, pedagogy, and cultural diversity, and (4) support program participants to ensure their success during their pre-service and induction periods.

AAMU Noyce is designed to raise the quality of STEM teaching for all students. These individuals complete a rigorous preparation and certification program that is challenging, field-based, and serves to prepare candidates for culturally-diverse learning environments. Scholars commit to the "service requirement" of teaching in high-need school districts upon completion. Scholars will demonstrate the highest level of ethical behavior and professionalism expected of teachers.

AAMU Noyce Scholarship provides support for students seeking certification at the undergraduate level to teach secondary school biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics. For undergraduate majors seeking certification in biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics, the award consists of a maximum of $18,000 a year during the junior and senior years.

Program Eligibility

To be eligible for AAMUs Noyce Scholar program, applicants must:

  1. Be a United States Citizen, national, or permanent resident alien.
  2. Be currently enrolled at Alabama A&M University
  3. Be pursuing a degree in biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics.
  4. Within one semester of completing General Studies requirements (see science/math advisor in Teacher Education)
  5. Have completed coursework that will allow for degree to be completed in two (2) years.
  6. Have a 2.75 cumulative GPA and at least a 3.00 GPA in content (science or mathematics) field.

Criteria Used after Minimum Eligibility is Established

  1. Minorities, persons with disabilities, and other underrepresented students in the four content areas
  2. Financial need based.
  3. Submit the names of three (3) individuals who can serve as references. At least one reference should be a faculty member in your content area (biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics).
  4. A personal creed statement (500 words or less) addressing the following:
    1. What are your career goals after you graduate from Alabama A&M University?
    2. Describe your interest in teaching secondary science or mathematics, specifically as it relates to your field of study?
    3. Why are you interested in becoming a Noyce Scholar at Alabama A&M University?
    4. Explain your commitment to working in high-need school districts in North Alabama.

Scholarship Review Process

Once candidates are accepted into the AAMU Noyce Scholarship Program, they will sign a contract and/or promissory note. The scholarship is considered a “forgivable loan.” That is, if students do not complete scholarship requirements, they are required to repay the amount they received in scholarship funds, plus applicable interest. Requirements will be considered satisfied once Noyce scholars receive their teaching certification in their designated content areas, and have successfully completed teaching/service requirements upon completion.

To continue to receive support in the form of scholarships, recipients will be monitored each semester. The AAMU Noyce Scholarship Committee will require scholarship recipients to meet the following criteria: (1) Maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.75, and a 3.00 in the content area (2) Make adequate continuous progress towards the completion of the degree, and (3) demonstrate a continued interest in teaching in a high-need school district once program is completed. AAMU Noyce recipients will provide the scholarship committee an updated report detailing their progress. Reports will be submitted by recipients by the end of each semester. The AAMU Noyce scholarship committee will evaluate each recipient’s progress to determine continued eligibility for scholarship funds. Scholarship recipients who are not making adequate progress will lose their funding. In addition, if the scholarship recipient fails to comply with program requirements, the promissory note for the funds already received will be due and will include applicable interest.

The following are additional criteria for maintaining the AAMU Noyce Scholarship:

  1. Participation in the AAMU Noyce Orientation Program for new program participants.
  2. Participation in seminars and workshops held in the fall, spring, or summer semesters as a part of the commitment of the scholarship.
  3. Participation in AAMU Noyce evaluations (i.e. surveys, interviews, focus groups, teaching observations) as part of the AAMU Noyce evaluation process.

Scholarship Requirements for Program Completers

AAMU Noyce recipients are required to report yearly on professional activities following graduation to the AAMU Noyce scholarship committee or a designated representative.

Annual review of compliance checks the criteria below and determines consequences of defaults. If the recipient fails to comply, the whole promissory note, or portion thereof, becomes due and payable with interest. AAMU will monitor and track students to ensure compliance with promissory agreements.

Criteria are:

  1. Recipients must commit to teaching two years as a STEM teacher in a high school or middle school in a high-need school district in North Alabama for each year of scholarship received. High-need school districts are defined as having: (a) a high percentage of individuals from families with incomes below the poverty line, (b) a high percentage of secondary school teachers not teaching in the content area in which the teachers were trained to teach, or (c) a high teacher turnover rate.
  2. Participation in AAMU-Noyce evaluations (i.e. surveys, interviews, focus groups, teaching observations) as part of the AAMU-Noyce continuing assessment program.
  3. Maintain contact and provide AAMU Noyce designated representative, an annual certification of employment and current contact information for the time specified in (1).