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The competition is fierce among high school seniors in the state vying for one of three $5,000 scholarship packages UTeach Arkansas is awarding to the winning 15-second-or-less online videos that demonstrate a STEM concept (science, technology, engineering or math).
Each package includes a $2,500 tuition credit at a participating Arkansas UTeach university – University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, or University of Central Arkansas. The package also includes a laptop (approximately $1,500 value), a graphing calculator (approximately $250 value), and a $750 book voucher.
Qualified STEM teachers are a critical need throughout the country. In response to this need, the UTeach program was created in 1997 as a new way to prepare secondary science, math and computer science teachers.
Through UTeach Arkansas, students explore science, technology, engineering and math; learn the benefits of an education career; and have a positive impact in Arkansas and beyond. The program is part of the Governor’s Workforce Initiative called STEM Works.
Each year the federal government asks states to identify teacher shortage areas. In December 2013, the Arkansas Department of Education designated secondary science and math as two academic shortage areas for the 2013-2014 school year. Shortage areas were designated based on the number and percentage of waivers granted to teachers teaching out of their area of licensure, projected decreases in the teacher work force due to attrition and/or retirement, and the number of teachers entering the teacher workforce relative to attrition.
UTeach Arkansas combines in-depth science or mathematics education with teacher preparation. Students can graduate in four years with both a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or science and a minor in education. Students completing the UTeach Arkansas program are recommended to the Arkansas Department of Education for their teaching certificate in science or math grades 7-12.
“This contest is a fun way to draw high school students’ attention to the great need to be met here in Arkansas,” said Shane Broadway, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. “It also gives them an opportunity to participate in a project that might pique their interest in teaching math or science – and there’s certainly a good incentive to win.”
Each applicant to the UTeach Arkansas scholarship contest must create a 15-second-or-less online video demonstrating a science, technology, engineering or math concept. Entries must be posted on a social channel using #UTeachARScholarship, and applicants must provide a viewable link with their form submission on UTeachArkansas.org. Finalists will be selected based on accuracy, clarity and imagination.
The UTeach Arkansas Scholarship Package is available to any student entering college academic year 2015-2016, who is a resident of Arkansas. Winners who attend a school other than the three universities listed above will forfeit the $2,500 tuition credit. The entry period is from Sept. 1, 2014, to Nov. 30, 2014. The three winning entries will be announced January 2015. For more information, including example videos, visit UTeachArkansas.org.
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