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What UTeach Students Graduates Are Saying About Teaching in STEM

Yesterday we had the distinct pleasure of announcing the expansion of the UTeach program to five research universities across the U.S., thanks to a generous $22.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).This incredible program equips STEM majors with the skills and expertise needed to effectively teach in a 21stcentury classroom, and with the addition of these five universities, we are on track to help train more than 9,000 math and science teachers in the U.S. by 2020. It’s an amazing opportunity for students interested in STEM fields to consider a career in education as well!
For example, Terry Lam – a current senior and Chemistry Major at University of Texas-Austin – says that the UTeach program has been an “eye opening experience.” She wasn’t planning to become a teacher, but after the very first UTeach class she took, she fell in love with the profession. “I love this program,” she says, “because I never thought in my life that I would teach. Yet this program inspired me to change my own direction for the goodness of students that deserve to have a great education. The family-like atmosphere inspired me and I was amazed that I was able to gain certification as a teacher without sacrificing my love for my own major."
On the other end of the spectrum is William Kiker, UTeach Alum and current mathematics teacher at Stephen F. Austin High School, where he teaches Algebra II, Pre-Cal, and AP Statistics. “I always knew I wanted to teach,” he says. “The passion and motivation was instilled in me from a very early age. It was UTeach, however, that helped me build the tools and knowledge necessary to turn that desire into a successful career. I greatly benefited from the early exposure to observing veteran teachers, teaching lessons in their classroom, and the support and mentorship I received from all of the UTeach faculty along the way. I am proud to say that I am a UTeach graduate, and even more proud that I have come from a program that has become well-known for producing strong and effective math and science educators."
Camden Burton is another UTeach Alum who teaches AP Biology at Olthane Northwest High School, and he is another strong advocate of the program and its merits. “I believe what makes the UTeach program so special – and what has not only kept me teaching, but passionate about the profession – is their ability to instill a passion for learning in their students before they ever become teachers. Throughout my experience with the UKanTeach Program (a UTeach replication site) I was given opportunities to figure out how I learn best, which has helped me as a teacher figure out how my students learn best too.”
Terry, William, and Camden have accomplished so much participating in the UTeach program and are a part of the solution to help answer President Obama’s call to prepare students with the skills for the new economy. We encourage universities to apply now for the UTeach grants through a competitive RFP process. Those selected will be announced later in the year.