Partnership Profile: NSTA Gives New Science Teachers Extra Support


Dow fellows in the New Science Teachers Academy gather at the 2013 national convention.

More than 1,000 teachers from across America applied to take part in this year’s New Science Teachers Academy. On Jan. 16, 200 of them were welcomed into the program, launching them into a year-long exploration of their craft.

Dow is the primary sponsor of the Academy, and funds 159 of the 200 teachers who take part. The funding includes online professional development, seminars and mentoring, as well as all expenses for attending the 2014 National Conference on Science Education April 3 through 6 in Boston. The speakers at this year’s conference include Bill Nye (The Science Guy) and Mayim Bialik, the actress (Blossom) turned scientist (she has a PhD in neuroscience) turned actress playing a scientist (Amy Farrah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory”). The Academy is a program of the National Science Teachers Association, a nationwide organization dedicated to improving science instruction and increasing public awareness of the importance of science education. To be eligible for the Academy, teachers must have one to four years of teaching experience and spend more than half their time teaching middle school or high school science. The hope is that providing resources, guidance and encouragement to these new teachers will help them overcome the challenges that result in most teachers leaving the profession within five years of starting.

“New science teachers need and deserve our support as they go about the important work of bringing science to life in our schools,” said Rob Vallentine, Dow’s global director of STEM Education. “Dow believes teachers are the multiplier effect on our young people, serving as an important conduit between the love of science and the connection to a STEM career.”

Teachers who have gone through the program say it is successful. “This year of professional development has helped me set a better direction in my career,” said Tim Selgas, who took part in the 2011-12 Academy. “I will be utilizing all the great materials and ideas I received at the conference. I will be reaching out to my new friends and picking their brains.” If that sounds like something that would be helpful to you or someone you know, go to www.nsta.org/academy/2014/FellowApplication, where the organization is taking applications for the 2014-15 Academy. More information about the program, as well as a list of the teachers who were named to this year’s class, is at www.nsta.org/academy.