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Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Teacher Academy

Monday - Friday, July 11 - July 22
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Download application (pdf)

Rider University’s STEM Teacher Academy is made possible by grants from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb & New Jersey Education Association (NJEA)

What is the STEM Teacher Academy?

STEM 2014 will focus on ecology and sustainability, helping students understand that we, as humans, are an integral part of nature. Industry, the global economy, and the day-to-day decisions we make in life affect the ecosystem in which we live.

Through this Academy, students will become successful investigators, utilize hands-on field techniques and laboratory skills, and initiate Internet searches that rely upon numerous strategies to assist them in addressing complex scientific questions. Students in the 2014 Academy will conduct their own research, work in teams, observe the ecological succession and take samples of and analyze the impact of organisms on a decomposing carcass, and study insects and forest ecology.

Who should apply?

Through generous funding from Janssen Pharmaceuticals and NJEA, the Academy invites rising junior and senior high school students who are interested in teaching the STEM disciplines and executing science and math activities that center on the teaching of ecological principles to apply.

What kinds of activities can you expect?

  • Trip to the Liberty Science Center
  • Analysis of Rider University’s new collection of mammal skull replicas
  • Tree identification
  • Google map activity to analyze forest succession on Rider’s campus
  • Constructing a class website for sharing research
  • Decomposition study
  • Collection and analysis of weather data during the Academy


  • Students will generate innovative research topics and investigate them through experiments of their own design.

  • Students will use their critical thinking skills to analyze and solve problems.

  • Students will learn the academic and professional requirements of becoming teachers, particularly in the STEM disciplines.

  • Students will practice the attributes of effective teaching through presenting results of their research.

  • Students will engage in a variety of educational endeavors that center on research, data collection and analysis both at Rider University and in the community.

  • Students will experience and practice a variety of science and math teaching strategies, methods and techniques.

  • Students will present their research to members of the Academy.


Rider University’s STEM Teacher Academy Program Faculty and Staff consist of a combination of professors and staff from the School of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, current K-12 teachers and staff and education students. Faculty members conduct research in the STEM disciplines and hold advanced degrees in the sciences and education fields.

Co-instructors, Dr. Peter Hester, Ph.D. in Science Education, and Dr. Sven Strnad, Ph.D. in Entomology, lead students on a path toward inquiry, research and field-based activities. Working collaboratively with Rider University Science professors, Dr. Hester and Dr. Strnad lead students during this two-week STEM immersion program, mentoring students as they develop their own experiments and report the results of their investigations to their peers and faculty.


Failure to comply to with the Academic Policies of the program will result in expulsion from the program


What are the qualifications for participating students?

  1. Anyone who is 15-18 years old and in his/her sophomore, junior year, or senior year in high school in fall 2014 and has an interest in teaching or learning more about the teaching profession and STEM disciplines

  2. An interest in and commitment to attending college after high school

  3. Evidence of maturity, stability, responsibility, and commitment as demonstrated in the application and character references

  4. Commitment to a two-week, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. schedule at Rider University’s STEM Teacher Academy from July 14th- July 26th; Special instances of attendance may be considered.

NOTE: An accepted applicant may be asked to leave the program after initial acceptance if it is determined that he/she no longer meets the program criteria, or is out of compliance with program rules and regulations.