Skip to main content

The SMART Scholarship

Overview

There is exciting news for undergraduate science and mathematics majors! If you have a passion for science or math and want to share that passion by teaching high school, then there is a new scholarship opportunity available for you at Georgia Southern University. It is called the SMART Scholarship and it is available to senior science and math majors interested in teaching in the high school setting and willing to continue on to earn the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree through the College of Education.

The SMART Scholarship is more than a financial supplement; it is a teaching support program. Benefits to the successful SMART Scholar will include:

  • Up to $10,000 annually toward a student’s final undergraduate year and for one graduate year in the MAT program
  • SMART Scholars will be assigned an experienced “teacher mentor” as well as a Georgia Southern advisor from the SMART program in order to provide formative support during the first years of teaching
  • Involvement in teaching opportunities on campus and in the community, such as tutoring in after school programs, leading summer science camps as a councilor, and participation in the supplemental instruction program as a peer leader

Successful applicants for a SMART Scholarship will be required to sign a contract committing them to teaching in a high need public secondary school, most likely in the southeast region of Georgia. A SMART Scholarship winner who is supported for two years by the program must teach for four continuous years. As such, the SMART Scholarship program seeks only applications from students with a decided commitment to teaching in high school.

Scholarship Requirements

The SMART Scholarship is a highly competitive award. In order to qualify for the SMART Scholarship, students must:

  • Have a 2.8 or better grade point average
  • Be within a year of completing a bachelor’s degree in the College of Science and Mathematics*
  • Math and ‘traditional’ core science majors only
  • Show demonstrated evidence of a desire to becoming a secondary math or science school teacher
  • Take the STEM PPB Practicum course (50 observational contact hours in a public school – learn more)
  • Pass the GACE I (Basic Skills) Test

The SMART Scholarship is a competitive program, so completion of the pre-requisite activities and criteria described here does not guarantee an award. The purpose of the requirements listed here is to insure that students receiving the SMART Scholarship are the most qualified and dedicated to the high school teaching career. Because successful scholarship awardees will be required to sign a legal contract committing to four continuous years teaching in a high need public secondary school (most likely in the southeast region of Georgia), the SMART Scholarship seeks to fund only high-ability students capable of qualifying for the MAT graduate degree and most likely to enjoy a career teaching in the high school setting.

*If you anticipate graduating this academic year and also plan a career in secondary teaching, you may still be eligible for one year of scholarship support (with a two year teaching commitment) toward the MAT graduate degree and should result in a teaching appointment after one year of MAT program study. You may contact a SMART Scholarship Committee member to inquire.

Timeline

To be truly competitive for this scholarship, a student seriously desiring a career teaching high school math or science should get involved and take advantage of educational-related opportunities early on. A number of such possible opportunities are listed below. Those required for the SMART scholarship are listed in bold (note: doing the minimum-required will not result in an award of a SMART Scholarship. The program is competitive for a limited number of awards each year).

When you are still in high school:
  • Take as many math and/or science courses as possible striving for conceptual understanding. AP courses are strongly encouraged. The SMART Scholarship Program is highly competitive.
  • Do your best on the SAT or ACT. Take tests more than once if needed to maximize your score.
  • Take advantage of service leadership activities in the areas of math and/or science such as tutoring in after-school programs or working at a wildlife center. Keep a journal documenting your experiences.
  • Stay out of trouble. Background checks are required of all educators including SMART scholars.
In your Freshman and/or Sophomore year at Georgia Southern:
  • Make the decision to become a math or science major.
  • Sign up for a First-Year Experience class (FYE 1220) for math and/or science majors interested in teaching. You should take this class during your first semester at Georgia Southern.
  • Participate in advisement in the COSM (College of Science and Mathematics) Advisement Center.
  • Sign up for at least one “Inquiry-based learning” core math and/or science class.
  • Keep your grades, especially your math and/or science grades, high. The SMART Scholarship Program is highly competitive.
  • Take advantage of service leadership activities in the areas of math and/or science such as tutoring in after-school programs, working at the Georgia Southern University Wildlife Center, museum, or botanical gardens. Keep a journal documenting your experiences.
  • Sign up for EDUC 2130 – Exploring Learning and Teaching concurrently with EDUC 2090 – PPB Practicum (50 contact hours in a school) – total of 3 credit hours.
  • Apply to be a peer leader for an “Inquiry-based learning” core math class and/or University Teaching Internship Program (UTIP) or Supplemental Instruction (SI) core science class.
In your Junior year at Georgia Southern:
  • Serve as a peer leader for at least one “Inquiry-based learning” core math class and/or University Teaching Internship Program (UTIP) or Supplemental Instruction (SI) core science class.
  • Keep your grades, especially your math and/or science grades, high. The SMART Scholarship Program is highly competitive.
  • Apply to take the Millers Analogies Test (MAT) or the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and receive a score that is high enough to allow admission to the MAT Program.
  • Apply to take the GACE I (Basic Skills Test) and receive a passing score. Note: You may be exempt from this test with satisfactory SAT scores. You may also apply to take the GACE II (Content Test).
  • Apply for the SMART Scholarship.
  • Timeline for SMART Committee for Scholarships 2013-2014
Contact Information

If you are interested in finding out more about the SMART Scholarship Program of have additional questions, you can contact:

Dr. Jim LoBue
SMART Scholarship Program Director
E-mail: jlobue@georgiasouthern.edu
Office: (912) 478-0398


If you need a specific member of the SMART Scholarship Committee you may reach us through the information below:

Michelle Cawthorn, PhD
Area: Biology
E-mail: mcawthor@georgiasouthern.edu
Office: (912) 478-5758

Joy Darley, PhD
Area: Mathematics
E-mail: jdarley@georgiasouthern.edu
Office: (912) 478-5802

Marlynn Griffin, PhD
Area: Education
E-mail: mgriffin@georgiasouthern.edu
Office: (912) 478-0695

Brian Koehler, PhD
Area: Chemistry
E-mail: bkoehler@georgiasouthern.edu
Office: (912) 478-0608

Last updated: 2/1/2016