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I-STEM Receives NSF Grant for Science Teacher Preparation Program

Science teacher prep
Science teacher prep
Left to right, students Jennifer Sarcone, Kenneth Cortes and John Pedersen. Not pictured: Anthony Helfrich.

The Institute for STEM Education (I-STEM) recently received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide summer research experiences for pre-service science teachers in the Stony Brook University Science Teacher Preparation Program.

This summer, four teacher candidates who are enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs are conducting research through their placements in research labs on the SBU campus and at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL):

  • Kenneth Cortes, BS/MAT Physics, Department of Physics; with Harold Metcalf and Eric Jones
  • Anthony Helfrich, MAT Biology, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences; with Cody Garrison and Gordon Taylor
  • John Pedersen, MAT Physics, BNL Nuclear Science and Technology Department; with Amber Coles
  • Jennifer Sarcone, MAT Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology; with Zuzana Zachar

Other components of the program include seminars on generalized research techniques such as conducting research, safety in research settings, and presenting at a research colloquium; teaching research for middle school students; teaching research for high school students; and participation in a network of secondary school science research teachers. During student teaching, these candidates will work with teachers who lead science research programs in the secondary schools where they are placed.

The project’s broader impact includes building a cohort of science teachers who will bring knowledge of authentic research into secondary schools and informing the field of science teacher education about the impact that inclusion of authentic science research experiences has on pre-service teacher preparation.

“The National Science Foundation is increasingly interested in ensuring that science teachers are well versed in issues concerning the nature and practice of science, and how authentic science research is conducted,” said Keith Sheppard, director of the Institute for STEM Education. “In the short time that the Noyce Research Experience awardees have been in their placements, it is clear that they are already starting to meet this goal.”

Linda Padwa, associate director, Science Teacher Preparation Program, I-STEM, is the principal investigator; co-PIs are Keith Sheppard and Caren Gough, I-STEM.

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