Our study proposed to determine whether any aspect of a Noyce program intervention, in particular a summer program, affected students’ decisions to teach or not teach physics in a high–need school. Research was guided by the following questions: (1) In what ways does the program presented here compare to other Noyce programs being conducted at other universities for similar purposes? (2) How do physics majors’ ideas about education shift as a result of participating in a summer physics teaching program? Our chapter begins with an overview of the challenges to recruitment of STEM teachers, and more specifically, physics teachers, and then explains the methodological framework for the study along with the research context. An overview of the participants, a description of the program and its uniqueness, and the data collected are included. Findings demonstrate how the impact of the summer program compares to that of other Noyce programs. We highlight two representative cases: one participant who entered with interest in teaching and left with a resolved determination of the importance of this path, and another participant who was ambivalent at the start of the program, had a positive experience throughout, but left still unsure about whether teaching was the right choice for him. These cases and other participant insights highlight some of the themes present in the data including the program’s emphasis on educational theory and practical exposure, opportunities for teaching in diverse contexts, and the impact of prior teaching and learning experiences on participants’ interest in education. The strengths of the program and future areas worth exploring around STEM teacher recruitment are discussed.
The College of New Jersey