Rep. Lipinski Announces STEM Education Grant for Lewis University in Romeoville

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) has announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Lewis University in Romeoville a $1,440,000 grant for a program designed to address a fundamental challenge facing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education today: the success and retention of talented math and science teachers in high-need secondary schools.

The program, entitled “Using Reality-Based Learning Practicum and Mentoring Structures to Enhance STEM Teacher Preparation for High Need Schools,” will recruit undergraduate majors in biology, chemistry, math, and physics and prepare them to become 6-12th grade math or science teachers.  The program will fund 36 scholarships over five years.  

Lewis University will collaborate with Joliet Junior College, the College of DuPage, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Three Rivers Manufacturers Association, Valley View Public School District 365U, Joliet District 86, and Oak Lawn District 218.  The NSF grant award will start on October 1st of this year.

“This award will be a great help as Lewis advances its commitment to training students for careers in STEM fields,” said Rep. Lipinski.  “As a former teacher and one of only a dozen engineers in Congress, I am strong believer that improving STEM education for everyone is among the most important steps we can take to ensure that America remains the most technologically innovative country in the world and our children receive an education that will allow them to succeed both now and in the future.”
The program will equip candidates to provide high quality math and science instruction to at-risk student populations through rigorous coursework, extensive field experiences, and innovative approaches.  Scholars will attend workshops and work with STEM and education faculty as they learn student-centered best practices for the math and science classroom.  To further develop their expertise, they will participate in community outreach programs.

By researching the impact of the program's emphasis on teacher mentoring and translating teaching theory into effective practice, Lewis' program is poised to contribute to advances in the preparation of math and science teachers, helping to address the shortage of highly qualified STEM teachers in high-need schools, and leading to stronger math and science outcomes among at-risk 6-12th grade students.

In the House of Representatives, Congressman Lipinski serves on the Science, Space, and Technology committee.  He is the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, and is co-chair of the Congressional STEM Ed Caucus.  When he was chairman of the Research Subcommittee, he wrote the bill reauthorizing the National Science Foundation. 

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