Meet Nebraska's Robert Noyce NSF Teaching Fellows

Stories from MAmt graduates

They love math, and they now know how to teach it! This publication about the 14-month Master of Arts with an emphasis in Mathematics Teaching (MAmt) tells the story of this degree program and the well-prepared teachers who comprise the first two cohorts of graduates from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education (TLTE). NebraskaNOYCE, an NSF grant, has played a key role in supporting the development of the MAmt.

Apply for the MAmt program

MAmt Magazine 2013

Aspiring mathematics teachers begin careers after valuable mentoring

Photo of Cohort 1
Robert Noyce Teaching Fellows - Cohort 1
Photo of Cohort 2
Robert Noyce Teaching Fellows - Cohort 2

Love math? Learn how to teach it. Recent graduates and professionals in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) exemplify an undervalued resource for teaching, holding the potential to become outstanding mathematics teachers in 21st century schools.

To bring prospective practitioners into the teaching profession, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education (TLTE) created a full-time, 14-month Master of Arts program that leads to certification to teach mathematics in grades 7-12 in the State of Nebraska.

The Master of Arts with an emphasis in Mathematics Teaching (MAmt) is a 41-credit-hour program designed for qualified graduate students who have earned a bachelor’s degree and 24 earned credit hours of mathematics but do not have a teaching credential. Cohorts begin in the UNL Summer Session of each year and graduate in August the following year. The program is ideal for recent college graduates and mid-career changers who have strong knowledge of mathematics, a desire to learn to teach and to be a leader in the profession, and a commitment to public schooling. In addition to taking mathematics courses specifically designed for teachers and learning to teach mathematics, graduate students in the program study theories of learning, assessment practices, teaching diverse learners, and how to form meaningful and trusting intellectual relationships with students.

In 2010, the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded UNL with the NebraskaNOYCE grant. NebraskaNOYCE has played a key role in supporting the development of the MAmt as a “master’s plus teaching certification” program that is setting the standard in Nebraska for a program that educates well-prepared secondary mathematics teachers.

An important goal of both the NebraskaNOYCE grant and the MAmt program is to increase the number of high-quality mathematics teachers in Nebraska’s high-need schools. These schools tend to have the most challenging students and are where effective teachers can make the greatest impact on student learning. Nebraska’s two largest school districts, Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) and Omaha Public Schools (OPS), both of which are classified as high-need districts because of the number of low-income students they serve, are key partners in the grant. Master teachers in these districts play a crucial role as mentors and cooperating teachers for the MAmt students.

Instead of the traditional concept of discrete practicum experiences and one semester of student teaching (15 weeks, usually beginning in January), MAmt students gain professional growth through a yearlong internship experience. The MAmt program pairs each pre-service teacher with a master teacher, many of whom are Noyce Master Teaching Fellows, for the entire nine-month school year. The first cohort of graduates and the students currently in the program say the internship experience allowed them to learn how to implement classroom practices to manage routines, interventions, and strategies while developing relationships with diverse students. By being in a school for an entire academic year, they also get to know school policy, culture and staff and have the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers to gain confidence in their ability to teach in a high-need school.

Six MAmt students graduated in August 2012, and seven more graduate in August 2013. As part of NebraskaNOYCE’s support for the MAmt, graduate students in the first two cohorts were awarded Noyce Teaching Fellowships in return for a commitment to teach in a high-need school district for four years after graduation. Read more about each of them below:

Strengthening a Community of Teacher Leaders

Since 2011, UNL’s Noyce Master Teaching Fellows and Teaching Fellows have engaged in a wide variety of teacher leadership as mathematics teachers in high-need schools and districts in Nebraska. From becoming math coaches and leading professional development for peers, to giving presentations at national conferences and chairing curriculum committees, the 30 MTFs and 13 TFs demonstrate through their accomplishments the accumulation of efforts by the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education to form school-university partnerships that can provide opportunities for teacher leadership. The NebraskaNOYCE grant was funded by the National Science Foundation, as was a Phase II grant to allow us to continue to study these remarkable Noyce teachers. Contact us to receive a copy of this booklet in the mail or click on the image to download a PDF.

Application Information

The application process for MAmt is a two-part procedure. Applicants must apply to both UNL Graduate Studies and the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education.

The Graduate Faculty admissions committee for the MAmt looks for evidence of your meeting the following admission criteria:

  • your strength as a learner, i.e., your academic background in general and mathematics in particular
  • your readiness to learn to teach mathematics to adolescents
  • and your commitment to middle-level and high school youth and to schooling in a democratic society

ANNUAL DEADLINE: MARCH 1

More information about the MAmt

Contact Us

For questions about the MAmt program or your eligibility, please contact:

Lorraine Males, Ph.D.
Coordinator MAmt
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0355

402-472-2536

Meet the Robert Noyce Teaching Fellows - Cohort 1

Brianna Pinquoch

Omaha Central High School,
Omaha Public Schools

Brianna Pinquoch

All students can learn, and teachers must strive to make that happen. Effective learning requires respect between the teacher and students. Building positive relationships with students is the best way to earn this respect.

Molly Jensen

Omaha Central High School,
Omaha Public Schools

Molly Jensen

I focus on building relationships with my students. When I have a good rapport with students, I can get them to work harder and do more homework because they don’t want to let me down.

Sarah Fischbein

Goodrich Middle School,
Lincoln Public Schools

Sarah Fischbein

This program is not for someone who only kind of wants to be a teacher. You learn so much about yourself and about yourself as a teacher through this program. I honestly don’t think there is a program that could have prepared me better for teaching than this one.

Laura Janssen

South Sioux City Middle School,
South Sioux City Community Schools

Laura Janssen

The most important component of math learning is conveying that math is understandable. So many people believe they are 'bad' at math. Students need to be told that they are capable of learning math, that it’s challenging but not impossible for them. Then the concepts need to be presented in multiple ways to account for all learning styles. Often, after just a few breakthroughs, students gain momentum and self-confidence when learning math.

Alan Holdorf

Lincoln Southeast High School,
Lincoln Public Schools

Alan Holdorf

The most important thing I learned in my coursework was to always be on the lookout for new ways to approach teaching, Holdorf said. Even if some method works really well one time, it doesn’t mean it will work well the next time. It is a good place to start from, but there are always improvements to be made and various approaches to try.

Meet the Robert Noyce Teaching Fellows - Cohort 2

Collin Holmquist

Bryan High School,
Omaha Public Schools

Collin Holmquist

I have always been fascinated by the fields of mathematics and science. Those interests led me to major in Meteorology at UNL where I really was able to dig into higher level mathematics. It was amazing to see our atmosphere put in the form of mathematical equations. After research and internship experience I decided that teaching would be the best fit for my passions.

Sonja Ann Kalkwarf

Cedar Bluffs High School,
Cedar Bluffs Public Schools

Sonja Ann Kalkwarf

The cohort experience is also something that has provided a wonderful learning opportunity and many wonderful memories. The intensive 14-month program is not for those who are unable to fully commit to all of the time requirements and responsibilities. However, for those who are willing to make the commitment what is gained makes the sacrifices made completely worthwhile.

Jamisen Goodell

Bryan High School,
Omaha Public Schools

Jamisen Goodell

It is great to be able to go to school for something you love. What is really great is the knowledge and experiences we are being given that no other pre-service teacher gets.

Joseph Steele

Omaha Northwest High School,
Omaha Public Schools

Joseph Steele

The Noyce program has made it possible for me to change careers and pursue what I really want to do - encourage young people to pursue an education in math and science.

Patrick Spieler

Omaha Central High School,
Omaha Public Schools

Patrick Spieler

During the middle and secondary school years, students need guidance from role models such as teachers. I value character development just as much as academic achievement. My professional experience and personal beliefs provide a good foundation for guiding students to succeed not only in mathematics, but also in life.

Lauren Beitel

Bryan High School,
Omaha Public Schools

Lauren Beitel

I want to be the teacher who inspires students to achieve more than they thought they were capable of. I want to help increase the number of students successfully learning their required math skills in high-needs schools, where tests are showing a lack of math comprehension.

Jeremy Jank

Lincoln North Star High School,
Lincoln Public Schools

Jeremy Jank

I want to teach because I see teaching as a platform to impact others' lives in a positive way. The thought of teaching very much excites me, as all I wish to do is help young people grow and mature throughout education and in life.

MAmt Qualifications

You should apply for the Master of Arts with an emphasis in mathematics teaching program if you have:

  • A desire to be a leader in mathematics education, and make a real difference in the lives of young people.
  • Graduated from an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree with a STEM major or minor.
  • Earned at least 24 credit hours in mathematics courses at the calculus level and above, with a GPA of 3.0 in those courses.
  • A strong academic background that qualifies you for admission to the TLTE Master of Arts program, including an undergraduate cumulative GPA minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Experience working with adolescents in formal or informal settings.
  • Ability to commit to participating fully in the 14-month, cohort-based, full-time academic teacher education program.

MAmt Program Features

  • 14 months long. This full-time, residential program begins during the UNL Summer Sessions and students graduate in the summer the following year upon completion of the program.
  • Graduate degree and teaching certification. Graduates will earn a Master of Arts degree from the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education and participate in UNL’s summer graduation commencement in August. Upon completion, graduates also will earn certification to teach mathematics grades 7-12 in the State of Nebraska (and be eligible for certification in other states).
  • Emphasis on Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching and a minor in mathematics. Participants earn a minor in mathematics, taking courses designed for secondary mathematics teachers that emphasize Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching.
  • Nine-month internship in a public school. Collaborative relations with the Lincoln Public Schools and Omaha Public Schools offer students field experiences in mathematics classrooms, purposefully designed to help connect coursework theory and methods to classroom practice. Students steadily will build proficiency in teaching, adding responsibilities and skills throughout a nine-month period and be prepared to assume 14 weeks of full-time student teaching in the spring.
  • Cohort-based. Graduate students begin the program in the UNL Summer Sessions and proceed together in a collegial community of math teacher-learners.