AU welcomes first cohort of Noyce Scholars

December 20, 2023

Noyce Scholars

Aurora University named its inaugural cohort of Noyce Scholars—10 students who are studying to become math and science teachers for middle schools and high schools in high-need school districts.

The National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program supports students from diverse backgrounds who want to become teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. The federal grant is designed to help address the nationwide shortage of teachers in STEM fields and increase diversity in the math and science careers.

The first cohort of scholars, as pictured above are:

Front row, from left:

  • Emmanuel Gonzalez ’25, Math/Secondary Education
  • Caroline Lantz ’25, Biology/Secondary Education
  • Ethan Dohm ’25, Biology/Secondary Education
Back row, from left:
  • Payton Schoolfield ’24, Math/Secondary Education
  • Emily Mountin ’25, Math/Secondary Education
  • Brigid Redmond-Mattucci ’25, Math/Secondary Education
  • Jamica Foster ’25, Math/Secondary Education
  • Aren Skogsberg ’24, Math/Secondary Education
  • Jemma Skweres ’25, Math/Secondary Education
Not pictured:
  • Juan Aguirre ’25, Math/Secondary Education

Each scholar receives up to $18,000 for the last two years of their secondary STEM education degree, allowing them to concentrate on succeeding in their upper-level courses, participate in professional development and summer programs, prepare for the Illinois Professional Educator Licensure exam, and student teach within high-need school districts.

As Noyce Scholars, we have the opportunity to participate in and attend several events and conferences where we can expand our network and prepare to be the best teachers we can be,” said Mountin. “I’m interested in teaching in a high-needs district because I know those are students who need more help, not necessarily in learning, but they may come from lower-income families or may not have as big of a support system, and I would like to be there for them.”

Since signing their scholarship contracts in October, the cohort has learned about the various careers in STEM during AU’s STEM Success 4U event. Scholars Lantz and Gonzalez also served on a future teacher panel at the American Association for Employment in Education/Get the Facts Out conference in downtown Chicago. Next summer, the scholars will participate in a Virtual STEM Hackathon, where they will be paired with a district teacher and AU faculty member to create and implement pragmatic solutions to teaching challenges. They also have the opportunity to connect with other future STEM educators at the 2024 Noyce Summit on July 15-17, 2024, in Washington D.C.

“This is AU’s first multiyear scholarship grant and a big recognition at the federal level of AU’s merit and capacity,” said Chetna Patel, Smith distinguished chair, chair of biology and physical sciences, professor of chemistry, and project leader for AU’s Robert Noyce Scholar Program. “Qualified and diverse STEM teachers are needed in our community and we are thrilled to prepare these talented students to teach the next generation for STEM careers.”

Noyce Scholars are selected based on a competitive application process, NSF criteria, and an interview. Applications are being accepted for the second cohort of Noyce Scholars through January 22, 2024. To learn more about the Noyce Scholars program, visit Interested students can also click here to start an application.