STEMteach Mentor Program Matches Local Teachers with Students

Release Date: May 29, 2019

Berry College students participated in the STEMteach Mentor Day alongside teachers from Rome City and Floyd County schools this year.

STEMteach is a program funded by a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant that was received in 2018 under the direction of Associate Professor of Mathematics Education Jill Cochran and Dean of Education and Human Sciences Jackie McDowell.

The program, launched in 2017, helps to recruit students who are majoring in a STEM field, including science, technology, engineering and math, into teaching by providing outreach and early awareness, apprenticeships with master teachers, mentoring and early field experiences. Most of the National Science Foundation grant money goes toward scholarships for students who enter the program in their junior and senior years of college at Berry.

“Working with the mentors has been eye opening because I feel like there are a lot of things in a classroom that you can’t simulate outside of the classroom,” said junior Zack Walch of Norcross, Ga. “It’s nice to be able to have a place to go and actually watch and observe and help out a little bit.”

Students are matched up through the program with local teachers who serve as mentors throughout the year as well as on designated mentor days at Berry, which occur four times a year. Students have the opportunity to work closely with their mentors through shadowing and campus experiences that are designed to help each student develop a realistic understanding of the teaching profession.

“Being a mentor is great,” Ashley Flagello, the science department chair at Armuchee High School said. “It’s just nice to share your experiences and to think that you may have some influence on somebody and their career.”

More information about the program can be found at https://www.berry.edu/stem/.

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Written by Public Relations Student Assistant Alisa Jordan