Ready to Teach
the Next Albert Einstein or Marie Curie What if old high-rise buildings could be turned into vertical farms to help fight world hunger? Can you imagine being able to turn pond scum into green fuel? Or rearranging the molecules of your blood to fight off deadly diseases?
Noyce Scholar Program prepares future STEM educators None of these ideas is all that far-fetched. In fact, these and countless other life-changing innovations are taking shape right this moment. But where do these great minds come from? And who trains them to imagine the future? Teachers, of course. And Marquette is training some of the best. Take Ben Calvopina and Preston Koch, for example.
Photo by Ben Smidt
Calvopina and Koch are part of the university’s Noyce Scholar Program, a National Science Foundation grant-funded collaboration between the colleges of Education, Engineering, and Arts and Sciences. Noyce uses a uniquely adapted cooperative education model to provide science, math and engineering students with intensive field experiences in education that dovetails with classroom instruction to meet the Wisconsin state standards for teaching licensure. The program allows students to complete their content-area degree and STEM teaching certification in five years while providing scholarship support for the students’ final years of study. Preston Koch (left) and Ben Calvopina benefit from the real-world experience the Noyce Scholar Program offers.
“In high school, I was always told I would be a good teacher. But because I was good at math and science, and my father went to school for engineering, I came to Marquette for engineering,” says Koch, Eng ’13. “I liked that I was able to diversify my education by adding an education major, and the grant money offered was also an incentive.”
The Noyce program provided Koch funding for Project Lead the Way certification, helping him implement a PLTW principles of engineering course at Pius XI High School, where he is student teaching. Calvopina, Arts ’13, a physics and education major, is student teaching at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, helping-inner city youth imagine themselves as scientists. He spent the summer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., completing a highly selective nine-week STAR research program designed to give teachers experience in a lab setting. During the program, Calvopina worked with a team to develop grapheme, a material used in solar cell technology. “My mentor at the lab, Justin Bult, was very enthusiastic about my time there and went out of his way to show me as many things as he could,” Calvopina recalls. “I was even invited to go to SLAC, a very respected lab near Stanford University, to learn about X-rays and how they can determine the bonding structure of a material.” He thinks making the connections between real-world research and classroom labs will give his students a better idea of what a career in science is like. And he credits Noyce with helping him make that realization. “The Noyce Scholar program really opened doors for me,” he says. “Everything from getting me into the STAR program to allowing me to get real-world experience in high-needs schools and connecting and learning from other educators. Last year, Preston and I were allowed to teach a mini-unit on particle physics at the Milwaukee Academy of Science. We got first-hand experience with what works and what doesn’t work. I cannot think of a single assignment that taught me more about what it is to be a teacher.” (Lori Fredrich)
Education 2013 Magazine