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CWU gets awarded millions for STEM program

CWU gets awarded millions for STEM program

ELLENSBURG, Wash.- There has been a major shortage in teachers Nationwide and especially in Washington. Microsoft gave local institutions millions to help with the cause. Central Washington University has been awarded a $2.19 million grant to adopt a new model for how they train science and math teachers. Central is the only institution in the larger region to get funding for STEM teaching.

"The reason why it's really really good for our students is that it gives them these two career options. They can choose to go to graduate school, pursue biology longer, go to medical school or they can choose to become a teacher," said by Co-Director of STEM Jenny Dechaine.

This program allows students to go out and teach kids science and math and gain experience from the very beginning. Dechaine hopes that this program helps bring in more teachers.

"There are fewer people becoming science and math teachers that are leaving the field. That's been a huge problem for years and that's partially why we decided to do this program. Because we need to be graduating excellent teachers and even more math and science teachers," said Dechaine.

Bringing more diversity within the program is another goal Dechaine hopes to implement.

"Me being a physics teacher and seeing that I'm a woman they'll maybe see that as 'oh well maybe I can do something with science too if they are also," said by STEM program student Kara Meyer.

Over the past 20 years, science and math fields in Washington State have been been posted as shortage areas but this program could potentially change that.

"We have teachers that are going to be coming to us from Central Washington, Eastern Washington, Western Washington and a few that are out of state. So as they return to some of their home towns to teach, I feel like we are going to fill the spectrum of teachers throughout the state of Washington for STEM," said CWU STEM Master Arthur Morken.

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