Applications for 2019 are now open!

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Overview

Southern Research’s Summer Internship Program for STEM Educators (SIPSE) is a professional development program for Alabama high school teachers. Implemented by Southern Research’s STEM Outreach Program, SIPSE provides paid summer internships for 9th- through 12th-grade STEM educators in research laboratories at Southern Research (Birmingham, AL) and the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL). Teachers spend six weeks learning first-hand how scientists and engineers approach problems, design experiments, interpret data, communicate findings, and develop and implement workplace solutions. SIPSE offers Alabama educators real-world applications of the subjects they teach, allowing them to increase content knowledge and gain practical examples of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics applications for enriched instruction and teaching practices based on evidence-based experiences.

Key Dates

Applications due – March 22
First Day of Program – June 10
Last Day of Program – July 19

SIPSE Fellows Are Required to:

  • Complete all components of the summer fellowship experience required by SIPSE and the sponsoring research group.
  • Attend all summer professional development meetings and workshops.
  • Complete an Action Plan that includes a personal or school team strategy for improving the way STEM subjects are taught in your classroom based upon your summer experience.
  • Take part in program evaluation, upon acceptance and extending throughout the year after your SIPSE fellowship.
  • Invite Southern Research staff to your classroom during the following school year to verify implementation of the Action Plan.

SIPSE Provides:

  • Teachers with a $4500 stipend for their participation in the program.
  • Professional learning credits upon successful completion of all program requirements.
  • Weekly professional development workshops offered throughout the summer.
  • Up to $500 for the teacher to purchase supplies needed to support their Action Plan (lab supplies, computer software, etc.).
  • Feedback to the teacher’s principal and system coordinator on your Action Plan.

Eligibility

  • 9th-12th grade teachers employed full time in public or private schools with primary teaching assignments in science, technology, engineering, math, computer science or education. Teachers must be assigned a full-time teaching load during the academic year prior to the appointment and expect to do the same during the following year.
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.
  • Live in or have the ability to commute to Birmingham, AL or Tuscaloosa, AL.

2018 SIPSE Class

From left to right: Raisa Eady, Pinson Valley HS; Samantha Davis, Russell County HS; Jacqueline Thomas-Edwards, McAdory HS; Kathryn Lanier, SR STEM Education Outreach Director; Jay LeCroy, Chilton County HS; Janet Ort, Hoover HS; Candyce Monroe, Tarrant HS

Become a SIPSE Sponsor

As a SIPSE sponsor you will have the opportunity to inspire those who first inspired you. For many of us, we can point to a specific teacher who first believed in our intellectual abilities or inspired us to pursue a career in the STEM field. This is a way to say “Thank you.” SIPSE sponsors will introduce high school STEM educators to real world applications of the subjects they teach, bringing new meaning to inquiry, problem solving, and reasoning.

Benefits of Participation

1. By sponsoring just one teacher, you will be impacting and inspiring the lives of hundreds of students in a given school year. Imagine the possibilities that can grow from an opportunity like that!

2. Our SIPSE Fellows are bright and motivated individuals who participate in this program for the sole purpose of learning, growing, and strengthening the foundations of their students. Their pure intentions and enthusiasm bring new perspectives to the work environment.

3. You will be playing a direct role in strengthening the STEM curriculum taught in Alabama and contributing to a better prepared workforce.

4. The opportunity for involvement with your SIPSE teacher’s students through guest speaking, class field trips, etc.

FAQ

What are the goals of SIPSE?

  1. Improve and develop science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills, knowledge, and abilities.
  2. Nurture teaching based on inquiry, problem solving and “real world” relevance.
  3. Foster an increase in student inquiry skills and positive attitudes toward the sciences and mathematics.

What are the dates of the program?

June 10th-July 19th

Where will the SIPSE internships be located?

The majority of SIPSE placements will be in research laboratories at Southern Research. Southern Research is located in Birmingham, AL. There are also a few internships available at the University of Alabama located in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Does Southern Research provide housing?

No, Southern Research will not provide summer housing.

Are the dates of the program flexible? I have other professional development workshops that are required by my school system.

Possibly. This is solely at the discretion of your sponsoring research mentor and must be indicated on your application. The days in which you will be absent must be made up at the end of the program. All SIPSE fellows are required to complete the first week of the program as there will be essential safety training and Southern Research orientation that cannot be rescheduled.

How many hours/week am I expected to work?

We expect teachers to work between 30-40 hours/week. Your schedule is determined by your sponsoring research mentor. Most research groups follow an 8-4 schedule.

Is this similar to other professional development workshops I have participated in?

Far from it. This is not a workshop. If you are looking for a program that digs deep into standards and focuses heavily on pedagogy, SIPSE is not for you. We will not teach you how to teach, but rather how to think. We want you to experience failure. We want you to live the life of a scientist!

How are teachers selected?

Following an initial screening process, we allow the research mentors to select their summer interns. They may select their intern based solely upon the submitted application or they may choose to select their intern through an interview process.

What if I am placed in a lab that is not in my field of expertise?

The goal of SIPSE is to challenge you. Each and every teacher who is awarded a SIPSE fellowship is an exceptional educator who excels in the classroom. We select the best of the best. We want you to challenge yourself and push yourself to learn something new. We love to see teachers working on projects outside their comfort zone!

I have never worked in a laboratory before. Will this hurt my chances of being selected?

Absolutely not. Each research group will select their teacher for different reasons. While some groups prefer a teacher with research experience, others do not. In fact, many SIPSE mentors see the value of sponsoring a teacher with little to no research experience.

 

TIPS FOR APPLYING

  • Read through the entire application and prepare your free response questions before you begin.
  • Be as detailed as possible in your application.
  • Remember, all applicants are teachers. Think about what sets you a part and be sure to show that in your application.
  • SIPSE mentors want to see your passion in your application. They want to see that you are committed and excited about this opportunity.
  • Proof read your application before submitting.
  • Be open to research areas outside your comfort zone. Perhaps you are a biology teacher who is uncomfortable with chemistry. We encourage that you be open to working on a chemistry based project. The more flexible you are, the better your chances are for placement.

 

If you are interested in becoming a SIPSE fellow and have additional questions, please contact Dr. Kathryn Lanier, STEM Education Outreach Director, at klanier@southernresearch.org.