Three TEAMS: Noyce Scholars are the first to complete a year of teaching

After graduating last May, Alana Paterson, Biology, Secondary Education; Chris McCollum, Physics, Secondary Education and Chris Kolischak, Middle Grades Education with a concentration in Science, became the first graduates of the TEAMS: Noyce Scholars program at Appalachian State University.

The Teaching for Equity in Appalachia in Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) program at Appalachian aims to support outstanding mathematics and science students in becoming high school math or science teachers. The program provides students with generous scholarships, collaborative field experiences, faculty mentors and professional development opportunities. In exchange for the support of the TEAMS: Noyce scholarship programs, graduates teach in a high-needs school or district for two years per year for which they receive scholarship support.

Alana Patterson has completed her first year at Watauga High School in Boone, N.C. teaching biology. She uses interactive notebooks to help students engage with the content and continually review for end of year testing. She hopes to continue to develop positive relationships and is excited to be starting her second year at Watauga High School this fall.

“Being a Noyce Scholar allowed me to have a network of educators that are willing to provide any help that I may need,” said Patterson. “I was provided with opportunities to attend conventions and professional development that helped me grow as an educator. I am very happy that I am part of this program.”

Chris McCollum teaches physical science at Alexander Central High School, and plans to build up the physics program there. He completed a philosophy and religion degree in 2005 at Appalachian but returned to complete his teaching degree in physics in 2017. Having worked with students as a counselor, youth minister and school bus driver, he knew he wanted to share his enthusiasm for building and understanding how things work with others.

“The NOYCE scholarship was a huge help at school to let me focus on getting the education I needed to teach. It was great to be brought together with a community of science and math educators to focus on better teaching methods,” said McCollum. “During my first year teaching the Noyce Scholars team has continued to be very supportive and focused on getting me the resources and training I needed to stay up to date on my teaching skills.”

Chris Kolischak has always been invested in the outdoors and realized he also had a desire to teach. After majoring in environmental sciences, Chris used his TEAMS: Noyce Scholars funding for an alternative licensure program. Accepting a position at River City Academy in Soldotna, Alaska. Chris found an opportunity to teach in a small, performance based school located in the Kenai Peninsula next to the Kenai Wildlife Refuge. As the only science teacher at River City Academy, Chris teaches a variety of lessons and works with a small teaching staff.

The Departments of Biology, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, and Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian work with the Reich College of Education to support the TEAMS: Noyce Scholars as they navigate through their teaching licensure programs. These departments help guide students through their content area training and methods, while departments in the Reich College of Education focus on curriculum, instruction and teaching philosophies.

TEAMS is funded through the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Undergraduate Education (DUE 1540830) through a national grant program called the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which responds to the critical need for K-12 teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by encouraging talented students and professionals to pursue teaching careers in elementary and secondary education. Appalachian State University received a National Science Foundation grant for $1,165,039 to support the program and is expected to produce at least 20 mathematics and science high school teachers in its four years and will provide opportunities for Appalachian to expand its partnership roles with school districts in the region. 

The program provides funding to institutions of higher education to provide scholarships, stipends and programmatic support to recruit and prepare STEM majors and professionals to become 9-12 teachers. TEAMS participants receive mentoring from regional teachers and administrators throughout the program and in turn provide teaching in high-needs areas after the licensure is complete. This project at Appalachian is led by Dr. Tracie McLemore Salinas, Department of Mathematical Sciences and Dr. Anthony Calamai, Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, and by Dr. Tracy Goodson-Espy and Dr. David Wiley, both of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Reich College of Education. 

“Developing a positive student-teacher relationship with an African American female teaching in the STEM field is important for these students. I want to be the role model for those who are thinking about entering a field where minorities and women are underrepresented.” - Alana Patterson

To learn more about the TEAMS: Noyce Scholarship Program at Appalachian visit,


About the Department of Biology
The Department of Biology is a community of teacher-scholars, with faculty representing the full breadth of biological specializations — from molecular genetics to landscape/ecosystem ecology. The department seeks to produce graduates with sound scientific knowledge, the skills to create new knowledge, and the excitement and appreciation of scientific discovery. Learn more at

About the A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences
The A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry, a Bachelor of Science in chemistry with eight different concentrations and an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree in fermentation sciences. The department’s programs prepare students to attend graduate and professional schools, as well as for employment in the pharmaceutical and fermentation industries and other business sectors. Learn more at

About the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Located in Western North Carolina, Appalachian State University provides the perfect setting to study geological and environmental sciences. The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences provides students with a solid foundation on which to prepare for graduate school or build successful careers as scientists, consultants and secondary education teachers. The department offers six degree options in geology and two degree options in environmental science. Learn more at

About the Department of Physics and Astronomy
The Department of Physics and Astronomy curriculum has an applied nature that includes a core of fundamental physics courses and laboratory experiences. The department prepares graduates for a variety of scientific, teaching or engineering professions, as well as future educational endeavors. Learn more at

About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, two stand-alone academic programs, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. Our values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of our students as global citizens. There are approximately 5,850 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at

About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at

Ellen Gwin Burnette
Jan. 18, 2019

Alana Patterson '18, Biology, Secondary Education. Photo submitted
Published: Jan 18, 2019 9:49am