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Why become a teacher?


Average first year teacher salary in Fairfax County, VA


Teachers in the United States rate their lives better than almost all other occupation groups. 


Average teacher retirement age with full pension

$86 to $96K

Fifteenth year teacher in Fairfax or Loudoun County, VA

How Noyce helps

Watch this short video to learn how the Noyce Scholars program helped two Mason students become teachers. 

Quotes from previous NOYCE Scholars

How has this program helped?

"Through the (Noyce) Scholarship grant, I receive mentoring from the faculty members who are always there when we need them. I have also met other Scholars like me who want to become STEM educators and make a difference."

Why become a teacher?

"I would like to connect with the newer generation, teach them things I have been taught, and pass on my knowledge. Science is very important these days and by becoming a teacher, I can help students learn. It’s the relationship aspect of teaching that attracts me the most to the profession."

What do you love about teaching?

"The most important thing about teaching has to do with community building with the students and the parents. Helping them work together with other students that are so fulfilling for me because you are helping future generations learn how to work together to solve problems too."


Who is eligible?

To apply for a Noyce Scholarship, students must meet the following requirements:

Do I have to commit to a career of teaching?

No! Participation in the Noyce Scholars Program does require you to teach in a high-needs school district for a specific time, but you do not need to decide to be a teacher for the rest of your life. Lots of people choose to teach for a few years and then move on to other careers. One local teacher leveraged his time as a teacher to successful gain acceptance to medical school and is now enjoying a career as a physician. Most young people can expect to hold multiple, different jobs over their career lifecycle and teaching can be one amazing part of that story. 

Is there a required teaching commitment?

Yes. Individuals awarded a Noyce scholarship must work as a full-time STEM teacher in a high-need school district or educational agency for two years per every year of received scholarship support.Most school districts in Northern Virginia qualify. 

This teaching commitment must be fulfilled within eight years of degree completion. Those who do not fulfill this obligation must repay the scholarship in full. 

Below defines a high-need local education according the the NSF website

The term high-need local educational agency, according to section 201 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1021), means a U.S. local educational agency (e.g., school district) that has at least one school that:

Meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • No fewer than 20 percent of the children served by the agency are from low income families
  • serves at least 10,000 children from low-income families
  • is eligible for funding under the Small, Rural School Achievement Program under 20 U.S.C. 7345(b)
  • is eligible for funding under the Rural and Low-Income School Program under 20 U.S.C. 7351(b)

Meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • has a high percentage of teachers not teaching in the academic subject areas or grade levels in which the teachers were trained to teach 
  • has a high teacher turnover rate or a high percentage of teachers with emergency, provisional, or temporary certification or licensure

How do I apply?

Fall application deadline: December 1
Spring application deadline: May 1

Applicants should complete the following by one of the deadlines specified above:

  • Complete our application form
  • 200-300 word personal statement discussing your desire to become an educator 
  • Resume
  • Letter of recommendation submitted by your recommender to Tina Bell 
  • Interview with Noyce Scholarship Committee

I’m interested, but would like more information first

Complete the following interest form and a member of our committee will follow up with you to answer any questions.

Did you know…

  • Teachers in the United States rate their lives better than all other occupation groups, trailing only physicians.
  • Teachers have flexible summers that they can use to travel, learn, spend time with family and friends, and recharge.
  • Science teachers report having higher or equivalent overall job satisfaction compared to other STEM professionals.
  • At year 15, the middle 50% of teacher salaries range between $68,000 and $114,000, nationally.
  • Most teaching jobs have better retirement benefits than other jobs you can get with the same degree.
  • There are student loan forgiveness programs and scholarships for math and science teachers.
  • You can get a job almost anywhere in the U.S. or abroad as a science or math teacher.
  • Behind every advance in medicine or technology is a teacher who left a lasting impression.


Noyce Program Leaders

Below are the College of Science leaders for the Noyce Program at Mason. Other leaders include: 
Andrew Gilbert, CEHD ( and Dr. Kavita Mittapalli, MN Associates, Inc.

You can learn more about this specific NSF Award # 2050638 here

Biology and Noyce PI

Chemistry and Noyce Co-PI

COS Academic Affairs and Noyce Co-PI

Math and Noyce Co-PI

STEM Accelerator

The Noyce Scholars Program is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and managed by the faculty and staff of the STEM Accelerator, a special interdisciplinary collaborative in the College of Science.