HAYS, Kan. – Nine students from the region have been awarded the National Science Foundation’s Noyce Scholarship at Fort Hays State University for the 2022-23 school year.
The Noyce Teacher-Leader Program at FHSU offers a renewable scholarship designed to help support high-achieving math and science students who want to become secondary or middle level teachers after graduation. The scholarship is a ‘cost-of-attendance’ scholarship worth over $14,000 per year.
Four of the newest recipients currently attend Fort Hays State, and five will transfer to FHSU from area community colleges – Seward County CC in Liberal, Allen CC in Iola, Garden City CC, and Colby CC.
In addition to the scholarship, recipients of the Noyce Teacher-Leader awards enroll in courses designed to help them learn how to succeed teaching in rural school districts. In addition to preparation for teaching, additional resources are provided to support undergraduate research experiences and travel to conferences.
For juniors and seniors only, the Noyce scholarship recipients agree to teach in a high-needs school district for two years for each year they receive the scholarship.
In his remarks at the recent Noyce signing ceremony on the FHSU campus, Dr. Paul Adams, dean of the College of Education, refers to the Noyce scholarship as “the academic Super Bowl of scholarships.”
Including this new group, FHSU has now given nearly $2 million in scholarships through the Noyce program over 10 years. Now with over 50 students have benefited from the program, and nearly all of them still teaching, Adams said, “this scholarship allows (recipients) the opportunity to focus on being a solid scientist or mathematician and a solid teacher.”
Hannah Bailey came to Fort Hays State already knowing she wanted to become a math teacher. She found out about the Noyce scholarship program from her high school biology teacher, Ashley Billips, who had been a Fort Hays State student and participant in the program before teaching at Norton Community High School.
Staying close to home was also important to Bailey.
“I wanted to be able to get back and see my family,” she said. “I want to either go back and teach in, or at least near, Norton.”
A chemistry major from Wichita, Reagan Lathem initially chose Fort Hays State for its affordability as well as another program – the pre-professional options that allow students to begin a program at FHSU, then transfer to one of several professional schools of their choice.
“Once I was at Fort Hays State, getting a quality education at a great price, I decided to switch to chemistry and look into education,” Lathem said. She decided to apply for the Noyce scholarship after hearing about it from her advisor, Dr. Arvin Cruz, chair of the Department of Chemistry.
“I decided to make the switch as a freshman, and when Dr. Cruz heard I was interested in teaching, he immediately said I needed to look into the Noyce scholarship. He helped me get everything started,” Lathem said.
Of the nine new recipients for the upcoming 2022-23 school year, five were in attendance at the initial signing ceremony, including students from Fort Hays State, Garden City Community College, and Colby Community College. Separate ceremonies were held at Allen County Community College and Seward County Community College for students from those schools.
The following recipients are listed in alphabetical order, followed by their home towns and current schools. All are receiving the Noyce Scholarship for the 2022-23 school year.
Hannah Bailey, Norton, Fort Hays State University
Lacy Brite, Leroy, Allen County Community College
Jonathon Flores, Hugoton, Fort Hays State University
Elizabeth Horinek, Sublette, Seward County Community College
Grace Jenkins, West Valley City, Utah, Colby Community College
Reagan Lathem, Wichita, Fort Hays State University
Sofia Montoya Ortiz, Garden City, Garden City Community College
Nathan Stark, Liebenthal, Fort Hays State University
William Swanson, Liberal, Seward County Community College