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

Monday - Friday, July 24th - August 4th
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Download application (pdf)


Rider University’s STEM Teacher Academy is made possible by grants from Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb.


What is the STEM Teacher Academy?

STEM 2017 will focus on ecology and sustainability, helping students understand that we, as humans, are an integral part of the natural world. Decisions we make in our day-to-day lives can upset nature’s balance, causing measurable and lasting impacts on the environment in which we all live.

Through this Academy, students will become 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 2017 Academy will work on ecology research teams, ask their own questions, plan and carry out investigations, analyze data, construct explanations and present their findings.


Who should apply?

Through generous funding from Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Academy invites rising sophomore, 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?

  • Participate in STEM field-based excursions
  • Build a skeleton from a collection of disarticulated bones
  • Collect and analyze weather data
  • Study the decomposition process with remote sensing equipment and digital/infrared imagery
  • Document ecological succession through observation, species identification and DNA analysis
  • Identify common NJ mammals from skull replicas
  • Analyze forest succession on Rider’s campus using Google maps
  • Construct a class website for sharing research
  • Present scientific outcome data and explanations to STEM team of professors, scientists and students
  • Lead research studies, teach lessons and receive feedback from education and science faculty

ACADEMY GOALS

  • Students will engage in a variety of educational endeavors, both at Rider University and in the community, immersing them in the Scientific and Engineering Practices, Core Disciplinary Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts that are central to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

  • Students will conduct a multi-day carcass decomposition study that embodies principles of ecological succession and sustainability.

  • Students will develop critical thinking skills as they identify, analyze and solve problems during a skeletal reconstruction exercise and skull identification lab.

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

  • Students will practice effective teaching through presenting results of their research to members of the Academy.


PROGRAM FACULTY & STAFF

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.

Dr. Peter Hester is a dynamic teacher with over thirty years of experience in science education. He helped create the Integrated Sciences and Math major at Rider University, contributed to New Jersey’s efforts to adopt and implement the Next Generation Science Standards, and is currently co-principal investigator on a multi-million dollar grant that aims to recruit, train and deploy highly qualified STEM teachers in high-needs school districts.

Sarah Schuller graduated from Rider University in 2013 where she studied Integrated Sciences and Math, Elementary Education and Middle School Mathematics education. Upon graduation, Mrs. Schuller worked as an eighth-grade math teacher at Fisher Middle School in Ewing and now is in her second year of teaching at Dundalk Middle School in Maryland.

Sven Strnad earned his Ph.D. in entomology from Purdue University and began his career as a research scientist at American Cyanamid’s Agricultural Research Facility. He obtained his teaching certificates through the Graduate Level Teacher Preparation program at Rider University and is currently a middle school science teacher in the West Windsor-Plainsboro School District. His passion for connecting students to the natural world outside of the classroom has earned him the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the President’s Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Primary Education from the Entomological Foundation of the Entomological Society of America.

Matthew Sisk attended New Jersey City University where he received a B.S. in Geological Sciences. His studies took him to San Diego State University where he participated in field research Paleoseismology, and Tectonic Geomorphology across south-western US, Mexico, and Turkey. He is currently an Earth and Space Science teacher at Ewing High School and a Google Certified Level 2 Educator.


ACADEMIC POLICIES

Students are required to attend every class. It is the responsibility of students (or their parents/guardians) to provide daily transportation to and from Rider University. Carpooling is encouraged.

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


ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

What are the qualifications for participating students?

  1. Anyone who is 15 - 18 years old and in his/her sophomore, junior, or senior year in high school in fall 2017 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 24th - August 4th; Special instances of attendance may be considered.
  5. All eligible candidates will undergo an interview process and be considered for acceptance.

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.