$1.2 million grant boosts STEM education at Austin College - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

$1.2 million grant boosts STEM education at Austin College


SHERMAN, TX — Austin College is making use of $1.2 million in federal funds to reverse the decline in STEM education.      

As the world of technology continues to accelerate, the need for education in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — is in demand.

But experts say that for many local school districts, the fraction of STEM teachers is on a negative slope.

"STEM education is badly needed in all of our schools,” said Denison Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Henry Scott.

To fix the holes in a growing shortage, Austin College is working to strengthen the teacher pipeline.

The college received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to increase the number of graduates from their teacher program who are skilled in STEM.

"One of the top priorities of those superintendents was getting these high-qualified STEM teachers to this regional area,” said Austin College faculty member Sandy Philipose.

The grant will award up to $77,500 in scholarships for future STEM teachers from their junior to graduate year, easing the burden of loans.

"The area tends to have trouble recruiting because the Metroplex often is more attractive in terms of pay and location,” Philipose said. “So sometimes we will get newer teachers that come to the Grayson County area to teach for a little bit and then return to the Metroplex."

But it's hoped that the promise of a future free of debt may encourage some potential teachers to stick around.