University of Wyoming College of Education Spring 2019


Magazine for the University of Wyoming College of Education. #UWyoCoEd #UWyo



By Jason Harper



Wyoming adopted a new set of state science standards in 2016 after almost two years of discussion among parents, community

leaders and a task force initiated by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Ballow. The standards, which are required

to be incorporated by the 2020-21 school year, are designed to encourage students to be inquisitive, to actively explore their

environment and to become productive, scientifically literate citizens.

The UW College of Education has been offering a number of professional development opportunities, workshops and camps

to help current and future teachers learn new skills and implement new curricula aligned with the new standards.

A Pipeline of Highly-Qualified STEM Educators

Ensuring there is a stream of highly qualified teachers available

to teach science will be critical to the success the new standards.

Often those interested in science, technology, engineering

and mathematics (STEM) are attracted to high-paying careers

in industry rather than teaching. Two College of Education

faculty members are working to change that.

“Higher salaries and status can be found in many STEMrelated

careers, and STEM majors are not always exposed to

the nontangible rewards of teaching, like seeing the spark in

students’ eyes and giving back to the community,” says College

of Education Professor Jacqueline Leonard.

Wyoming Interns to Teacher Scholars (WITS) is a National

Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship

program that aims to increase the pool of highly trained science

and math teachers. Led by Leonard, the grant project provides

financial and academic support to help current STEM majors

and graduates become elementary teachers.

Undergraduates in the WITS program earn dual degrees,

one in a STEM major and one in elementary education.

Training and summer research internship programs are

available during a student’s sophomore year of college.

These internships come with a $1,000 stipend to support

each student during the two-week program.

Scholarship support is offered to undergraduates during

the junior, senior and fifth years at UW to cover the cost of

tuition, room and board. Graduate students and professionals

who hold bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields are also provided

the same scholarship funding for up to three years while

they attain K-6 teaching certification. This support helps

negate the cost barrier of pursuing teacher certification after

completing a degree.

Sustaining Wyoming’s Advancing Reach in Math and

Science (SWARMS) was initiated by Andrea Burrows,

associate professor in the College of Education. The project

was funded by the NSF in 2014 and it is set to conclude in

December of this year.

The goal is to mint 70 new mathematics and science

teachers during five-year period between 2014-19. SWARMS

provides scholarships to undergraduates and graduates with

Secondary science education students present science learning centers to UW Lab School students.


Education@UWYO Spring 2019 • 7

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