Diana Aria

Project Aims to Address Shortage of High-Quality STEM Teachers – Posted 3/21/17

County College of Morris (CCM) faculty member, Diana Aria, from the Department of Psychology and Education, will be partnering with a Montclair State University (MSU) team which has received a three-year, $1.1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant for its project “Preparing the Effective Elementary Mathematics Teacher.”

Eligible MSU mathematics majors will soon take part in an innovative collaborative program that addresses the shortage of high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers by preparing them to teach math in the New Jersey elementary schools that need them most. Ten students per year will receive grant-funded scholarships and stipends to be part of the project.

Aria, who will serve as a co-principal investigator for the project, will work towards growing this program and actively recruiting math majors. She will also strengthen ties with seven area community colleges, including CCM, to recruit transfer students into the program.

“Increasing student participation in STEM is a priority for our institution,” said Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, CCM president. “We are honored to be involved with NSF for the fourth time in three years and to be part of bridging the current gap in STEM education.”

“My role will focus on recruiting students in their first two years at CCM to join MSU’s scholarship program and acting as a liaison between MSU and CCM and the other two-year colleges,” said Aria.  “The grant will allow students who are attending CCM to apply for the program and receive tuition support, which is often a concern of many of our students, to help cover the cost of their junior and senior year at MSU.”

Aria will also coordinate with faculty from Bergen Community College, Hudson County Community College, Middlesex County College, Passaic County Community College, Raritan Valley Community College and Sussex County Community College to recruit students and help provide a more seamless transition for earning a bachelor’s degree in math education with a focus on K to 6 teaching.

“High quality teachers are in demand and are necessary in high needs schools,” said Aria. “The grant allows both traditional and nontraditional students the opportunity to attend a program that addresses these needs while alleviating the worry of affording college tuition.”

Learn more about the NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.