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New ASU program offers 5-day workshop, stipend, to qualified bachelor's degree students

June 12, 2009 -- A new program at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro will offer qualified undergraduate students an unprecedented opportunity to “Try Out the Classroom,” in a five-day summer workshop.  The “Try Out the Classroom” workshop, for undergraduates working towards a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, will be held Monday-Friday, July 6-10, in ASU’s Laboratory Sciences Center, West Wing, Room 441, 117 South Caraway Road, Jonesboro. Students who complete the five-day workshop will receive a stipend of $450 and will become eligible for a full-tuition-and-fees scholarship with room and board. The “Try Out the Classroom” project is sponsored by ASU-Jonesboro’s new program, “Creating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Teachers for Arkansas’ Future,” or C-STAF.

Students will be introduced to the classroom teaching experience by ASU science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty and education faculty. Topics to be presented include an introduction to the Arkansas science/math curriculum for grades 7-12, classroom management techniques, laboratory safety, and basic teaching skills. Students will develop three science/math activities, and interested students will be able to arrange fall classroom visits to try out their newly acquired skills on real public school students.

The C-STAF program is made possible by a $899,988 grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, and C-STAF’s primary focus is to serve ASU STEM students and to serve Arkansans by producing highly qualified STEM teachers for secondary schools in Arkansas.

ASU-Jonesboro’s C-STAF program will be headed by Dr. Anne Grippo, associate professor of biology and interim director of the Environmental Science Graduate Program. Her C-STAF colleagues will include Dr. Tillman Kennon, associate professor of science education, Dr. Mike Hall, associate professor of mathematics, Dr. Robert Engelken, director and professor of electrical engineering, Dr. Karen Yanowitz, associate professor of psychology and counseling, and Jannie Trautwein, director of the Northeast Arkansas Rural Institute for Mathematics/Science Education.

Dr. Anne Grippo says, “The ideas behind developing the proposal to the NSF to offer Noyce scholarships and workshops to ASU students came from several experiences. In the past, I have been involved in science activities geared to K-12 students through ASU’s Women in Technology and Science and the Girls of Promise programs, as well as bringing my own students into the classroom to work with kids. The ASU students found these opportunities rewarding and fun, and I wanted to develop these types of activities further to try to entice our science students into the classroom. This would satisfy another issue our ASU faculty have noted: many of our science majors enter these fields with the goal of becoming clinicians, and although those ambitions are excellent, not all prospective pre-professional students will complete that goal. We as faculty are distressed to see talented science and math students leave these fields without realizing there are other very important avenues in which their pre-professional educations can be used. By offering financial aid to our science and math students, we will help them complete their educations, and we will also be able to place scientists and mathematicians with strong content knowledge of their subject areas into classrooms. The ultimate hope is that we will attract our area K-12 students into pursuing science and math as their own careers.”

The team of faculty researchers brings a wealth and diversity of backgrounds and areas of expertise to the project, including biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, psychology/counseling, and education.  All participants are experts in their respective disciplines, both in education and research, and several are specialists in science education.

For detailed information, or information for biology students, contact Dr. Anne Grippo, (, (870) 972-3493. For information on chemistry/science, contact Dr. Tillman Kennon (, (870) 972-3256; for information on math, contact Dr. Mike Hall (, (870) 680-8124; and for information on engineering, contact Dr. Robert Engelken (, (870) 972-3227.
Visit the ASU C-STAF/Noyce webpage at for information, application forms, workshop and class descriptions, and more information.




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