Noyce Scholars

The first recipients of $10,000 Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarships at East Central University are Laura Johnson (front row, from left) of Holdenville, Jessica Pitts of Winter Haven, Fla., Tabitha Heaton of Noble and Erin Fixico of Konawa, with Dr. Janet Wansick and (back row) Dr. Robert Ferdinand, and James Gordon of Ada, Cody Barlow of Hartshorne and Seth Barkhimer of Wewoka. Not shown is Jeffery Spears of Ada.


The first Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Colloquium at East Central University will focus on “Teaching Secondary Mathematics at High-Need Oklahoma Schools” at noon Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Teachers Kim Begay of Oklahoma City Schools and Elbert Jones of Putnam City Schools will conduct the colloquium in the Regents Room in the Memorial Student Union. Information also will be presented for students majoring in mathematics who want to apply for the next round of Noyce Scholarships.

Twenty-four Noyce Scholars will receive $10,000 scholarships for up to three years through a $900,000 grant awarded to ECU last year by the U.S. National Science Foundation. ECU is the only university in Oklahoma ever to receive the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Grant.

The first eight Noyce Scholars are studying at ECU this year. They are Laura Johnson of Holdenville, Jessica Pitts of Winter Haven, Fla., Tabitha Heaton of Noble, Erin Fixico of Konawa, James Gordon of Ada, Cody Barlow of Hartshorne, Seth Barkhimer of Wewoka and Jeffery Spears of Ada.           

Eight more scholarships will be awarded for fall 2011. The final group will be awarded in fall 2012.

ECU’s Mathematics and Education Departments work together to select the Noyce scholars from students with a strong academic background in mathematics who otherwise would not consider teaching K-12 mathematics as a career.

Students also receive additional educational opportunities and support mechanisms such as colloquia, master-mentor teachers, undergraduate research opportunities and travel expenses to attend conferences.

In return, scholarship recipients commit to teach high school mathematics for six years in a “high-need” school district in Oklahoma.

“After they complete a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a secondary teacher certification option, they will begin teaching mathematics in grades 7-12 in one of the collaborating schools,” said Dr. Robert Ferdinand, ECU associate professor of mathematics and principal author of the grant proposal. 

Ada, Allen, Byng, Latta, Seminole, Sulphur and Vanoss High Schools have committed to consider hiring teachers who graduate in the program, Ferdinand said.

High-need schools have at least one of these characteristics: a high percentage of students from families with below poverty-line incomes, a high percentage of secondary school teachers not teaching in the content area in which they were trained to teach and/or a high teacher turnover rate.

Dr. Janet Wansick (Math), and Dr. Marty Pennington and Dr. Nanette Schmitt (Education) also help manage and run the program. For more information, phone Ferdinand at 580-559-5285 or

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