The new STEM Education certificate offers STEM majors an opportunity to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts in local schools. Offered by the renowned CU Teach program in the CU Boulder School of Education, the new certificate will provide students from STEM majors with the skills to more effectively communicate STEM-related topics and collaborate with others.
“Having an opportunity to share one’s love of math, science, and engineering by teaching kids in local schools not only is highly rewarding and incredibly challenging - it’s also super fun!” said Jeff Writer, CU Teach master teacher. “Students enrolled in the STEM Education certificate will graduate with an expanded skill set applicable to working in business, industry and beyond.”
Kelsey Sheehan, an Integrated Physiology major, is pursuing the new STEM Education certificate in the hopes that the program will help her further explore teaching and understanding STEM concepts while potentially boosting her goals after graduation.
“I believe the STEM ed certificate will help me to get accepted to a physician's assistant school and maybe even one day teach science courses,” she said.
Sheehan first experienced STEM teaching as a Learning Assistant for pre-calculus and chemistry courses, where she discovered she loved teaching and interacting with other students. As a Learning Assistant — an undergraduate position that facilitates collaboration among learning communities while exploring pedagogy through education courses — Sheehan learned that teaching STEM topics benefits other students while improving her own learning as well. She is excited to take more education courses through the certificate program.
Not only do education courses help me teach the material and engage students, I feel I have become a better student myself." — Kelsey Sheehan
“Not only do education courses help me teach the material and engage students, I feel I have become a better student myself,” Sheehan said. “Seeing the other side of what happens in a classroom has allowed me to reflect and improve upon my learning experience.”
The 12-13 credit certificate features real-world opportunities to work collaboratively and teach STEM concepts in local elementary and secondary schools. Students will also work with youth across campus and community programs, such as CU Science Discovery, CU Fiske Planetarium, the Butterfly Pavilion, or science-fair judging.
To be eligible, CU Boulder students majoring in math, science, or engineering (through Engineering Plus) must have an overall GPA of 2.75 and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in certificate courses.
Many of the certificate courses are also applicable to CU Boulder’s secondary math or science teacher licensure program, and therefore students who decide to pursue a STEM secondary teaching license will be able to do so in a timely manner, approximately two additional semesters plus student teaching.
“The fact of the matter is schools across the nation need more STEM teachers and the world needs more learning environments that support diverse perspectives in solving today’s mathematical, scientific, and engineering challenges,” said Julie Andrew, CU Teach master teacher.
The STEM Education certificate is a collaborative venture between the School of Education, the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the College of Arts and Sciences, and the program is an integral part of the CU Teach Program, which includes a supportive community of students, master teachers, and mentor teachers.
“Certificate students will be better equipped for working in a variety of collaborative environments,” Writer said. “The coursework is centered around creating environments that recognizes the inherent strengths in embracing diverse perspectives, creating safe and affirming spaces, and valuing social justice and equitable teaching and learning.”