Benedictine offering $10,000 grants to students who want to teach science, math

April 2, 2015

Lisle, Illinois ~ Calling all science and math majors who want to make a difference in the classroom.

Benedictine University is offering $10,000 tuition scholarships to undergraduate students as part of a national initiative to improve the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in some of the area’s neediest schools.

Students who qualify for the scholarship can receive a maximum of two $10,000 scholarships if, over a period of eight years, they spend two years working in a high-need school district for each scholarship they receive.

High-need school districts have a high percentage of students who receive free and low-cost school lunches, high teacher turnover or where teachers with minimal training in science or math are placed in STEM classes.

The scholarships are available through the Benedictine Educating STEM Teachers (BEST) program, which was established in 2012 after the University received a $1.2 million Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Grant. Currently, there are more than two dozen scholarships still available through the grant.

To be eligible for a scholarship, students must submit a scholarship application with a completed interest statement and two letters of reference. For an application, contact Jennifer Gardner at jmgardner@ben.edu.

Students are required to be enrolled full-time at Benedictine in coursework leading to a degree in Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics or Biology with a minor in Secondary Education. They must also have a cumulative 3.0 GPA and have applied and been accepted into the Teacher Education Program. To apply for the program, visit ben.edu/teacherprogram.

Students can apply for the scholarship each semester up until the grant expires at the end of December 2017.

Boosting STEM education has been one of President Barack Obama’s top priorities. In 2009, he established a goal of training 100,000 highly qualified math and science teachers by 2021 as part of his “Educate to Innovate” initiative.

Currently, there is a shortage of qualified chemistry, physics and mathematics teachers for grades 6-12 throughout suburban Chicago, Illinois and across the nation. Without strong teachers in these subject areas, more students will likely struggle in college, or worse, they will decide against pursuing a career in the sciences, according to Allison Wilson, Ph.D., professor of Biological Sciences at Benedictine.

“The necessity of students learning a solid foundation in the sciences at the middle and high school levels is essential,” Wilson said. “Benedictine University’s strong tradition in the sciences, combined with its Teacher Education Program and the availability of these scholarships, will help address this need.”

For more information about enrolling at Benedictine, visit ben.edu/admissions or contact (630) 829-6300 or admissions@ben.edu. For more information about the BEST scholarships, contact Wilson at awilson@ben.edu or (630) 829-6520.

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Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.

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