STEM Teacher Development, Recruitment Receives Funding

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Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) announced yesterday that the University of Hawai‘i will receive over $350,000 in grant funding from the National Science Foundation to support training and recruitment of future science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers.

The announcement is part of the Senator’s ongoing commitment to boosting the state’s STEM education and workforce opportunities.

“To ensure that Hawai‘i students have the tools they need to succeed in STEM careers, we must grow our pipeline of qualified, quality teachers adept in these skills,” said Sen. Hirono. “Maintaining a strong STEM workforce is essential to securing high paying jobs and growing Hawai‘i’s economy. By supporting a comprehensive approach to STEM education, this funding will help strengthen the capacity of Hawai‘i’s educators as they work to mentor and develop our future leaders.”

As part of the grant funding, UH at Mānoa, in a collaboration across the UH System, will establish pathways for undergraduate students majoring in STEM fields to pursue a double major with secondary education, in order to introduce teaching to students early on in their college careers.


In addition, funding was awarded to the UH MakerSTEM project to engage college students and high school teachers in biological research and modern STEM learning techniques. The project remodels the STEM college learning experience, allowing students to build creative, collaborative partnerships that parallel professional practices.

Focused on fostering hands-on learning, the project will help pre-service teachers in Hawai‘i to develop proficiency in scientific investigation and design practices, and help them to become innovators of student-driven active learning.

“The goal of the MakerSTEM project is to provide an opportunity for pre-service teachers to engage in authentic scientific inquiry to help them better facilitate student learning in scientific principles and practices and meet Next Generation Science Standards learning objectives,” said Dr. Judy D. Lemus, a faculty education specialist at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology. “This research experience is something that is not readily available to many early career teachers. With this funding, student teachers training in secondary science education at UH will be able to design and carry out their own science investigations in the MakerLab at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and bring those experiences directly into their classrooms to improve student learning in science.”


“We are honored to receive NSF funding,” said Dr. Tara O’Neill, director of the Institute for Teachers Education (ITE) – Secondary Programs and recipient of the 2017 University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents Medal for Teaching Excellence. “Both the UH MakerSTEM and the Building Sustainable Pathways to STEM Teaching will enable the ITE – Secondary Programs to engage in innovative partnerships with STEM programs across the UH System in order to support the recruitment, preparation and retention of exceptional STEM teachers in the state of Hawaii. We are particularly excited that the UH MakerSTEM funding will enable faculty from ITE Secondary and the UH Institute for Marine Biology to engage pre-service science educators in authentic, place-based, science investigations and secondary (grades 6 to 12) curriculum design.”

For more information about the UH MakerSTEM project, go online.

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