Information for Current Scholars

Students in a chemistry class, surrounding a table of bunsen burner and beakers




Before any scholarship funds can be distributed, you must make an appointment for entrance counseling to sign your STEM Scholars financial contract (PDF). The financial contract consists of three parts: (1) promissory note, (2) statement of rights & responsibilities, and (3) student loan worksheet. Feel free to read through the promissory note and statement of rights beforehand, and arrive at your appointment empowered with any questions regarding the terms of the scholarship and/or loan repayment. The terms of the scholarship and loan repayment are necessarily duplicated between these two sections, and you will thoroughly review them with a financial aid counselor during your entrance counseling. Be sure to bring a valid form of picture ID.

In the third section, the student loan worksheet, you are required to provide comprehensive information on personal contacts (including spouses, parents, and previous employers) for verification and tracking purposes. To expedite the entrance counseling and ensure you have all the relevant information, you should fill in the student loan worksheet (PDF) well ahead of time and bring it to your appointment. As per the instructions on page 1, do not skip any sections that are relevant, as that will only delay your scholarship award.


STAR Program (STEM Teacher and Researcher) logo

The STAR Program (STEM Teacher and Researcher) offers paid summer research experiences for aspiring K-12 STEM teachers, bringing better teaching and learning practices into the classroom by embedding participants in real-world research environments and connecting them with experienced STEM educators. The STAR Program applications are now available for Summer 2020.

Uncommon Schools Logo

Uncommon Schools is a network of free, public charter schools in Boston, Newark, Camden, Brooklyn, Rochester (NY) and Troy (NY). The Summer Teaching Fellowship at Uncommon Schools is an urban summer teaching program offered to rising seniors who are committed to beginning a career in teaching in high-need school districts. Through hands-on experience, mentorship, and collaboration, Fellows develop the skills to lead high-achieving classrooms in urban communities. The majority of Fellows receive and accept full-time offers to teach at Uncommon schools upon graduation. Applications are due March 1.

A continually updated list of more local opportunities that integrate both teaching and research can be found here.


One of the best experiences a pre-service STEM Teacher could have is one as a substitute teacher, or another type of immersive internship in a K-12 science or mathematics classroom. To get your substitute teaching certificate, first determine where you want to teach. There is a fee each time you want to transfer school districts, so choose wisely if you don't want to pay $12 every other week. Then

  1. Apply.
    • Check to see if the location in which you want to teach uses ESS for its substitute teaching applications. This is a very expedited process.
    • Not all districts and states (for example Philadelphia, which you need for the Philadelphia Urban Seminar use ESS for their substitute teaching applications. In that case, you may coordinate your application submission through Rider. Follow these instructions. The process includes a criminal background check (CBC) and fingerprinting. It takes at least 14 days after fingerprinting for your employment approval to be available on the criminal history review status page, so do not delay in getting the process started.
  2. Get current Mantoux Test Results.
    The Mantoux test is a simple "scratch test" that demonstrates you are not a carrier of tuberculosis, and is required of all people who work in schools. If you have not been tested in the last 6 months, go to Student Health Services (Poyda Hall) to get tested for free, and maintain a copy of your results. Your primary care physician can also do the test for a small fee (which will not be reimbursed by STEM Scholars). The test requires two separate visits, at least 48 hours apart, so plan ahead.

When applying for your criminal background check, make sure you choose "Substitute Teacher" as your job category. Do not use "Student" or "Volunteer" as your position. This screen-by-screen guide will help guide you through the online CBC process. Note that the NJ DOE does not mail printed clearance letters for the CBC. You must download and print a PDF file from this website.

All of these steps can be very time consuming, so do them as soon as possible, even if you have not yet identified an internship. The Criminal Background Check is transferable between school districts, and will be essential for your entry into most schools. STEM Scholars will reimburse these expenses ($11 for CBC, $65-$70 for fingerprinting). Send a copy of your documentation to Dr. Jacobs or Dr. Hester.


If you are doing any research, mentoring, teaching, or anything else that can help you hone your craft as a STEM educator in a high-need district, you should (and can) get paid! But you need to do a few things ahead of time…

  1. Become a campus employee.
    According to Rider's Student Employment website, all new student employees must complete I-9 and W-4 forms, and submit them along with other required documentation to the Rider Disbursements Office. Refer to the I-9 form ahead of time for detailed information regarding the required documents needed to complete this form. These forms only need to be completed once, not each academic year.
  2. Fill out a work contract.
    If you are being paid through STEM Scholars, you will need to fill out a student work contract, which you can pick up at Disbursements or in the main office of Science Hall. You will need to complete all personal information, and then work with Dr. Jacobs to complete with payment information. Once the form is completed, it must be submitted to the Disbursements Office. A student work contract must be completed for every campus job, at least once a year (usually once a semester).


  • Applitrack: New Jersey School Boards Association Employment Application
  • Teacher Cancelation Low Income Directory: The TCLI directory, developed by the U.S. Department of Education, provides up-to-date information on state and territorial educational agencies that qualify as "high need", and will be an essential resource in knowing what schools and school districts will be appropriate for fulfilling the terms of your STEM Scholars scholarship contract.
  • List of High-Need New Jersey Schools & Districts: (Download PDF of NJ high-need districts) Only as defined by income of the population it serves. This is not an exhaustive list.

Funded by NSF-DUE Robert Noyce Award #1557389


Headshot of Danielle Jacobs
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Director of STEM Scholars
Science Hall 336D

Education & Experience

2008 Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Michael T. Crimmins)
2008 AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow
2007 Department of Education GAANN Teaching Fellow
2002 B.S., Haverford College (Frances R. Blase)

Headshot of Peter Hester
Associate Professor of STEM Education
Bierenbaum Fisher Hall 102F

Academic Background

2002 Doctor of Philosophy Instruction and Curriculum in the content Areas (Science) University of Colorado
1986 Master of Arts in Teaching Biology Northern Arizona University (NAU, Flagstaff AZ)
1982 Bachelor of Science Environmental and Systematic Biology California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo CA)