Growing STEM Teachers to Grow the STEM Workforce

Growing STEM Teachers to Grow the STEM Workforce with funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). CEEMS partners with the East Tennessee STEM Hub, Fentress County Schools and Union County Schools to develop and implement this project. To accomplish the overarching goal of workforce preparation, the project seeks to use a multi-faceted approach to recruit and prepare individuals from at-risk and distressed counties of East Tennessee to become STEM teachers in order to expand and prepare the TN STEM workforce. Currently, there is a shortage of highly qualified math and science teachers nationally and in the state of Tennessee. This project will address two gateways to becoming a STEM teacher. First, the project will support high school graduating seniors and/or community college students in addressing the requirements of an introductory course (STEP1) that is part of the VolsTeach STEM Teacher preparation program at UT. This will be achieved through critical event #1, a STEM Teaching Internship that will include twenty participants. Second, the project will support twenty college graduates through critical event #2, an online course that will provide a foundation for STEM teaching and successful completion of the content praxis examination requirement in secondary mathematics. The praxis mathematics exam is a requirement for the Job-Embedded Practitioner Teacher Education Program at UT and is historically one of the most challenging content exams. The East Tennessee STEM Hub will provide outlets for sharing the online Math Teaching Preparation (MTP) course (once tested and refined) through its participation in the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN).

VolsTeach for Appalachia (VFA)

This is an NSF-funded project (Award Id : 1758325) that strengthens the STEM teacher pathway from community college to high-need school districts in East Tennessee Appalachia. The project provides Rural Scholars unique experiences as they become culturally responsive STEM teachers. Visit the VolsTeach for Appalachia website for more information.

VolsTeach for Appalachia Noyce Scholars Program

If you are a Community College student majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics and would like to work with the next generation of students, this might be the opportunity for you. The VolsTeach for Appalachia Noyce Scholars program is focused on preparing talented community college undergraduates majoring in math and science who are interested in working with students in high need school districts.


The project aims to recruit 32 new STEM teachers in the next two years with the goal of:

  • Increasing the number of STEM majors from community colleges that enter and remain in teaching in high-need schools in East Tennessee

  • Increasing Noyce teachers’ understanding of Culturally Responsive Teaching practices

  • Increasing Noyce teachers’ knowledge of pedagogical practices and content


  • Financial support which includes up to $12,000 a year in scholarship for the last two years of your program at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

    • Scholarship will need to be renewed once all requirements are met.

  • Participation in a paid ($1000) four-week summer Immersion Internship.

  • Enhanced field-experience teaching opportunities throughout your VolsTeach experience.

  • Mentoring by university faculty as well as public, middle and high school teachers.

For more Information:

Visit the VolsTeach for Appalachia website for more information.

Apply Here or use the form below.


  • US Citizen, national, or permanent resident alien.

  • Major in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, or Mathematics

  • Must have an ACT of 21 or SAT of 1020 or complete and pass the Praxis CORE exam

  • Overall GPA: 2.75

    • Content GPA: 2.5

    • Junior or Senior Standing at a local community college

  • Commitment to teach in a high-need school district for two years for each year of funding for scholarship becomes a repayable loan. A high-need school district (e.g. Knox County Schools, Anderson County, Metro Nashville schools, etc.) can be defined in any of the following ways:

    • Has a high percentage of individuals from families with incomes below the poverty line

    • Has a high percentage of secondary school teachers not teaching in the content area in which the teachers were trained to teach

    • Has a high teacher turnover rate

  • Must be accepted to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville prior to June 1, 2020.

  • Priority will be given to applicants who have already been accepted to UTK at the time of application review

  • Preference will be given to applicants who have achieved a junior or senior status at the time of admission to UT

Commitment to Diversity

We believe the field of STEM education benefits greatly when teachers reflect the diversity of those they teach. We highly value diversity and encourage minorities and members of underrepresented communities to apply.

Application Process due by February 15, 2020

Complete the online application:

    • Write a response detailing your interest in teaching in a high-need school district

    • Two professional recommendations are required; they should address the applicant’s STEM background and potential for teaching.

    • Submission of Post-secondary transcripts (unofficial transcripts permitted)

Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program “responds to the critical need for K-12 teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by encouraging talented STEM students and professionals to pursue teaching careers in elementary and secondary schools.” It was first authorized under the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002.

Paid Summer 2020 Internship Opportunity!

Internship Highlights:

  • When: June, 2020, from 8am - 1pm each weekday for four weeks

  • What: An internship to learn about STEM teaching. You will teach and learn under the guidance of mentor teachers and UT faculty.

  • Previous Experience: No experience necessary. An interest in teaching is expected.

  • Who: Current Community College students

  • Internship pay- $1000

For more information, contact Dr. Lynn Hodge at or 865-974-8778 or Dr. Ellen Matheny at

Apply Here or use the form on the right.

Community STEM Nights

The Community STEM nights project is ongoing We recently received a grant funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission to extend Family STEM nights to more rural counties of East Tennessee.

STEM Library

The project team includes Dr. Katherine Ambroziak and the Student-led group Freedom by Design. This project engages elementary students at Green Magnet Academy in design work toward the realization of a an outdoor STEM library. Unveiling of the library is anticipated to take place late May or early June.

Data Viz

This is a design-based research project that seeks to understand how elementary students make sense of data through the creation of data visualizations. Seed grant funding from the UT office of research and engagement makes this project possible. Drs. Joy Bertling and Josh Rosenberg from UT are collaborators on this project.

Math Counts

Math Counts is a four-year project that supports elementary teachers in rural counties of East Tennessee in enhancing their understanding of math content and pedagogy. Funding from three Math and Science Partnership grants has made this project possible. Gale Stanley of Campbell County, Dr. Ashley Walther, Michael Lawson, and Dr. Suzanne Lenhart of UT are collaborators on this project.

STEM Ways with Words

This project focuses awareness on literature that supports connections between STEM and literacy. The Hub has an ongoing weekly update on social media about relevant STEM books. In addition, we provide professional learning sessions on regular basis about STEM and literacy.