LSU's GeauxTeach STEM Program Bridges the Gap in STEM Education

By Bianca Scolaro

January 24, 2023

Jordyn Vicknair works with students

Jordyn Vicknair, who graduated from LSU College of Science in May 2021, was the winner of the 2023 Louisiana New Teacher of the Year award. 

– Rebecca Nguyen


“To invest in people, prioritize education” 

In 2019, The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed January 24th as International Day of Education in celebration of the role of learning for peace and development.  

In a globalized world where the average literacy rate for adults is over 85%, education might be taken for granted. However, millions of children — majority girls — are still denied access to study, learn, and teach. The 2023 International Day of Education calls individuals, societies, and governments into action to transform education worldwide under the theme “to invest in people, prioritize education”. 

 It is a fundamental right and a public responsibility. 

Education involves much more than one’s ability to read and write. Access to education can accelerate progress towards reduction of poverty and inequalities. Quality education leads to development by providing the skills necessary for future generations to compete in fast evolving economies.  

In the 21st century, more than ever, science and math education are increasingly important as we navigate this new information-based and highly technological society. A strong foundation in math and science helps develop a variety of skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, inference, and well-informed decision making. Yet only a portion of our nation’s population gets a chance to attain STEM skills, with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education facing a growing teacher shortage.  

STEM Education is Critical for the Future of Louisiana 

Economic growth requires innovation. To tap into the full potential of our communities, we need quality STEM education that sparks ingenuity. The LSU College of Science is working to address the growing needs for quality STEM teachers through a program for a secondary certification in science and math, GeauxTeach STEM. The program allows undergraduate students to pursue a degree in biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics AND earn secondary teaching certification at the same time. GeauxTeach is not only forming teachers, but preparing educators to be a difference maker, an influencer of the next generation and within their science field. As we work to build a strong STEM and innovative future for our state and nation, we need to have well prepared educators to make that impact. Mastering a science subject and being trained in pedagogy can make a big difference in the professional lives of future educators. 

Since its creation in 2012, the program has added hundreds of STEM teachers to the workforce, with close to 75% of GeauxTeach graduates initially going into teaching. Others have chosen a STEM field related to their bachelor’s degree or went directly to medical school. Currently, 70-90% of GeauxTeach alumni are still working with education.  

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Samantha Lee, a GeauxTeach STEM alumna, won New Teacher of the Year for Woodlawn High School and was also nominated for New Teacher of the Year for East Baton Rouge Parish.

– Rebecca Nguyen

GeauxTeach keeps attracting high-quality STEM majors to successful teaching careers. Only last year, four GeauxTeach STEM graduates were recognized at a state, district or school level for their exceptional work and compromise to student success. Jordyn Vicknair, who graduated from LSU in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree in math along with her secondary teaching certification, was the winner of the 2023 Louisiana New Teacher of the Year award. Another GeauxTeach alumna, Juliana Habisreitinger, who teaches at West Feliciana Middle School, was also selected as a finalist for the same award. At a district and school level, Luci Mai won New Teacher of the Year for East Baton Rouge Parish, and Samantha Lee won New Teacher of the Year for Woodlawn High School and was also nominated for New Teacher of the Year for EBR Parish. 

At the LSU College of Science, everyone has the power to achieve extraordinary things. Join us as we prioritize education to invest in our people. #GeauxTeach!