Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) Teacher Academy

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

Monday - Friday, July 16th - July 27th
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Download Application (.pdf)
Please note: this application can be edited and completed electronically. You may email electronic applications, permission slips and personal statement to Dr. Peter Hester.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received.
Applications must be received by June 15, 2018.

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 2018 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 2018 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 applications from 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.

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 digital photography
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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 and Staff

Rider University’s STEM Teacher Academy Program Faculty and Staff consist of a combination of professors and staff from the College of Education and Human Services, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, current K-12 teachers 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 1.4 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 third 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.

  • Please contact Dr. Peter Hester at [email protected] by 8 a.m. if you are unable to attend any part of a class session.
  • Students are expected to be punctual for every class and program activity.
  • Student attire is expected to be neat and appropriate in accordance with program activities. Unacceptable attire includes hats, flip-flops (between the toes), revealing clothing, and cut off pants of any kind.
  • Use of any alcohol or tobacco products is strictly prohibited.
  • Electronic devices such as iPods, iPads, computers and tablets are not permitted. Cell phones are permitted but must be TURNED-OFF during all program sessions. Rider University is not responsible for any lost or damaged devices. Appropriate language is expected at all times.
  • Throughout the program, students will maintain an Academy-issued science notebook, which they will use to take notes, record data and analyze results.
  • Students are expected to participate fully in all Academy activities.
  • Courtesy and kindness are expected from everyone.
  • Students are to remain with our program at all times and are not permitted to wander the campus without the group.

Failure to comply 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 2018 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 16th - July 27th; 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.