AUSTIN, Texas—-To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the UTeach program, ExxonMobil has provided a grant of more than $275,000 to DonorsChoose.org that will provide each public school UTeach alumnus with funding for classroom projects. The UTeach program is an innovative, university-based teacher preparation initiative that has significantly increased the number of qualified science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers in U.S. secondary schools.
“UTeach has dramatically reshaped STEM teaching and learning across the nation, one community at a time,” said Ben Soraci, general manager of public and government affairs for ExxonMobil and president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. “We applaud UTeach alumni for their dedication and work to help students develop critical science and math skills to thrive in tomorrow’s careers.”
Together with the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the DonorsChoose.org initiative is providing each public school UTeach alumnus, nearly 2,000 teachers in 38 states and the District of Columbia, with a $150 gift to purchase classroom supplies and materials.
Research shows that teachers who are knowledgeable about their content area are better able to teach and inspire students, particularly in STEM subjects. The U.S., however, has long struggled to recruit and retain qualified STEM teachers in K-12 classrooms. UTeach addresses this challenge by allowing college students majoring in math, science or computer science to earn both their STEM degree and teaching certification in just four years, often with the benefit of free or reduced tuition.
With the support of ExxonMobil and other donors, and through organizations such as the National Math and Science Initiative, UTeach programs now reach about 6,900 college students from 45 partner universities in 21 states and the District of Columbia. By 2020, 8,000 UTeach graduates will have taught more than four million students nationwide.
Over the past 16 years, ExxonMobil has contributed more than $1.2 billion for education programs around the world, which includes support for high-quality math and science educators through grants to Teach for America, Teach for All, the National Science Teachers Association, the Data Quality Campaign, among others. In 2007, ExxonMobil was one of the founding sponsors of the National Math and Science Initiative, which helps expand the UTeach program nationally.