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William & Mary’s Meredith Kier Awarded $1.2 M Grant to Advance Recruitment and Retention of STEM teachers through Noyce Scholarship Program

  • Meredith Kier Awarded $1.2 M Grant to Advance Recruitment and Retention of STEM teachers through Noyce Scholarship Program
    Meredith Kier Awarded $1.2 M Grant to Advance Recruitment and Retention of STEM teachers through Noyce Scholarship Program  has been named the new principal investigator (PI) after earning a $1.2 million award from NSF. The grant ensures the program's support for the next five years.  Julie Tucker
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The William & Mary School of Education recently received a significant new funding boost from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to advance the recruitment and retention of STEM teachers.

The $1.2 million award, presented to Associate Professor and Pavey Family Co-Chair in Instructional Technology Meredith Kier, ensures support for the Noyce Scholars Program for the next five years.

The W&M Noyce Scholars Program, an integral part of the university's efforts to address the national shortage of highly qualified K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers, provides substantial scholarships to students interested in teaching math and science.

Noyce Scholars commit to teaching at a high-need school district for two years per year of funding, after earning their math/science teacher certification. The program's aim is to enhance the quality of STEM education and foster educational equity.

With the grant, Kier has been named as the new principal investigator (PI) of the program. She brings a wealth of experience to her new role, including expertise in equity in STEM education and the preparation and retention of social-justice-oriented science teachers. She has been a vital part of the W&M School of Education faculty since 2015 and joined the Noyce Scholars Program as coPI at the same time. She also directs the secondary science teaching program at the School of Education, co-directs the Center for Innovation in Learning Design and contributes extensively to research in the field.

Her appointment as PI marks a new chapter in the W&M Noyce Scholars Program’s evolution and
continued success.

"I am honored to lead the Noyce Scholarship Program at William & Mary," said Kier. "This grant will
enable us to continue our mission of preparing highly skilled and passionate STEM educators who
are committed to making a difference in high-need schools."

The $1.2 million grant will fund the recruitment, preparation and support of 25 new STEM teachers
over the next five years, ensuring they are equipped to inspire and educate the next generation of
scientists, mathematicians and engineers. The W&M Noyce Scholars Program also includes
professional development and mentoring opportunities for current Noyce Scholars and alumni of
the program, including funding to attend annual NSF-funded conferences, monthly mentoring
meetings between new and veteran teachers and scholarship opportunities.

This initiative not only benefits the teachers and students directly involved but also contributes to
the W&M School of Education’s broader goal of promoting educational excellence and equitable
access.

“One of our defining priorities at the School of Education is to build strong, just institutions by
providing equality of educational opportunity for all, especially those who have been underserved,”
said Dean Robert C. Knoeppel. “Dr. Kier’s work with the Noyce Scholars program is a prime
example.”

New to the program is one of Kier’s co-PI’s, Assistant Professor of Geology Dominick Ciruzzi, who
joined William & Mary in 2021 and embraced the university’s emphasis on providing undergraduate
research opportunities. Ciruzzi’s research focuses on studying the effects of climate change and
land-use change on the water cycle and trees in natural and built environments. Water is one of the
core initiatives of W&M’s Vision 2026 strategic plan.

“The Noyce Scholars Program aligns with my interests in recruiting STEM majors related to my field
to teaching so they can educate and inspire the next generation of earth and environmental
stewards,” said Ciruzzi. “Particularly, there are pressing global challenges related to climate change
— water, food and ecosystem security and more — that need critical attention for a sustainable
future.”

Kier’s team also includes Professor of Biology Paul Heideman; Professor and Natural Resources
Chair at W&M’s Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences Eric Hilton; Professor of Mathematics Sarah
Day; and, Professor of Math Education Marguerite Mason. Other team members include Melody
Porter, director of Civic & Community Engagement, and Joy Jackson, coordinator of education
programs in Civic & Community Engagement.

Read more in the Virginian-Pilot: W&M receives grant to help recruit STEM teachers