Louisiana State University of Alexandria has just been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to recruit, prepare, and retain STEM educators to serve in high-need schools in central Louisiana.
The five-year award will provide scholarships and other supports to undergraduate STEM majors, or Noyce Scholars. These Scholars will complete their degree in a STEM program and obtain a secondary teacher certification.
“I am so thrilled that we have received this grant to recruit LSUA Noyce Scholars, or those students who will become STEM educators serving high-needs schools in central Louisiana. This will truly be impactful for both LSUA and all of CENLA,” Dr. Gerard Dumancas, LSUA Associate Professor of Chemistry and Principal Investigator.
The project includes partnerships with seven high-need school districts (Allen, Avoyelles, Concordia, Evangeline, Grant, LaSalle, and Rapides Parish School Districts) and Central Louisiana Technical Community College.
There are three specific project goals for the grant. The first is to recruit, prepare, and graduate 21 qualified undergraduate biology, chemistry, and mathematics majors for secondary education certification over the five-year grant period. The second goal is to provide professional support for the long-term success of these STEM educators. The final goal is to place and retain a high percentage (90%) of these Scholars in teaching positions in high-need school districts upon graduation as they complete their teaching service requirement of two years of teaching for each one year of scholarship support.
“I would say the creation of ideas was not the hardest part of this project. The hardest part was assembling an excellent team who would take the project to the next level. So, this award is a product of excellent teamwork,” Dumancas said.
Dumancas’ team of co-principal investigators from LSUA includes:
“We are extremely grateful to have received this grant as it supports our unwavering commitment to recruiting, retaining, and graduating students to change lives right here in our community,” said Dr. John Rowan, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “This is just another way that LSUA is meeting the workforce needs of central Louisiana.”
The NSF ensures that proposals submitted are reviewed in a fair, competitive, transparent, and in-depth manner. The organization receives more than 50,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded, an annual funding rate of 22%.