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UTeach looks to stem the tide of teacher shortage

There is a real need for science, technology, engineering and math educators in America, and Museum of Discovery’s Kevin Delaney is using his star power to promote a teacher-certification program for those educators called UTeach Arkansas. In a video on the program’s website, Delaney encourages students to submit STEM-themed videos for a chance to win school supplies and tuition credit to participating universities, where they will then be certified to teach in their area of study.

In 1997, the University of Texas at Austin developed UTeach as a response to the need for more qualified teachers in the STEM subjects. The school offered scholarships and supplies for students who incorporated specific education classes into their four-year curriculum. When they graduated, in addition to receiving their desired degrees, these students were certified to teach STEM courses.

Following this model, UTeach Arkansas aims to educate degree-seeking students in order to fill the desperate need for STEM teachers while also helping employ more graduates. Many students will have jobs waiting for them immediately after graduation.

The scholarship packages include $2,500 tuition credit at participating universities, a laptop worth approximately $1,500, a graphing calculator worth around $250 and a $750 book voucher. Participating universities are the University of Arkansas, University of Central Arkansas and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

To enter, students create a 15-second-or-less video that demonstrates a STEM concept and upload the video to Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Vine using the hastag #UTeachARScholarship. Finalists will be judged based on accuracy, clarity and imagination, and three students will win scholarship packages.

According to a press release from UTeach: “The UTeach program is currently active at 40 universities across 19 states with a total enrollment of more than 6,700 students and more than 2,000 graduates. By 2020, the UTeach Institute projects more than 8,000 graduates will be teaching across the country.”

To qualify for the scholarship, students must attend a participating school, be a resident of Arkansas and enter before Nov. Read the rest