Alyssa Gundel ’22 says she has long been “fascinated with the idea that some of the smallest components of life can come together to create a fully functioning organism” and “always knew I wanted to make an impact on someone in the world.”
The biology major from Forest, Virginia, plans to do that over and over as a science teacher. “Teaching allows me to make more than just one impact, with a new set of students each year,” she said, “allowing me to help guide and shape students toward their fullest potential.”
Gundel is one of four University of Lynchburg students getting a boost from the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship, a scholarship launched in 2019 just for future teachers in the STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, it provides $10,000 to $20,000 scholarships to juniors and seniors majoring in chemistry, biology, physics, earth sciences, and mathematics education who plan to become K-12 teachers.
The amount of the annual scholarship varies depending on other scholarships, awards, and financial aid the student receives. This is the second year Lynchburg students have received the Noyce Scholarship.
Noyce program benefits also include an experienced STEM teacher mentor and a series of workshops focused on teaching students with special needs and/or diverse backgrounds. In return, Noyce Scholars commit to teaching in a high-need school division in Virginia for four years after graduation — two years for each year in the program.
Transfer student Abigael Germeroth Lyons ’21 was Lynchburg’s first Noyce Scholarship recipient, announced in Fall 2019. The mathematics major and Spanish minor said being a Noyce Scholar has given her “skills and techniques that I can use in the classroom that better shape my method of teaching.”
On an even more practical note, she added that it has “allowed me to spend more time in my field [rather] than waitress 24/7” and has “made college and my career achievable. I wouldn’t be where I am without the Noyce Scholarship and am forever grateful.”
In addition to Gundel, two other Noyce Scholars were announced in Fall 2020: Jody Caretti ’22, a biology major and chemistry minor from Loretta, Pennsylvania, and Hayley Jennings, a math major and transfer student from Altavista.
According to Paula Lichiello, Noyce Grant Pathway coordinator at Lynchburg, scholarship applications are accepted year-round and there are “several more [Noyce Scholars] in the pipeline.” Sophomores and rising juniors, including community college transfers, are encouraged to apply.
For more information, visit the Noyce program website.