HOUGHTON - After earning a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Michigan Technological University in 2008, Sarah Weinreis made it her mission to teach science at the high school level.
Not having a teaching certificate, she turned to the place she knew best - her alma mater.
"I had graduated from Tech and been away from Houghton for a couple of years," Weinreis said. "I decided I wanted to get my teaching certificate."
Weinreis began talking to people she knew at Tech who quickly referred her to the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship, a program aimed at helping students get teaching certificates to be able to teach mathematics and science to schoolchildren.
As part of her program, Weinreis needed to take a few classes and student teach. She applied for the scholarship and during the first year, she participated in coursework at Michigan Tech. During the past fall, she student taught at Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw, rather far from her native Newberry home, but it was worth the work.
"Right now, I'm working as an instructor at Michigan Tech," she said. "It's pretty much a temporary job because I'm getting married in June and my fianc works at the university.
Weinreis has no regrets choosing this path and said the faculty at Michigan Tech has been accommodating and informative. Although many people don't pair teaching certificates up with Michigan Tech, the Noyce Scholarship does just that, while lifting the opportunity for students who want to make the leap into teaching.
"It was such a great experience," she said.
The Noyce program is run by the department of cognitive and learning sciences and she was placed at Arthur Hill for her student teaching. Weinreis said she learned a lot about others and herself working in a district where higher education isn't as much of a priority.
"It was challenging," she said. "It was a battle getting them to focus on school and being engaging, but it was a learning experience.
Next, she hopes to work in a high school where a majority of students live in poverty. She hopes to find a job in Minneapolis, where her fianc will be, and has to look into using her certificate in another state.
The program, which began in 2002, provides financial support for up to two years of study at Michigan Tech. Applicants must be within two years of receiving their undergraduate degrees or have already completed a degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field.
Students within the program learn field experience while working with students and other teachers, and they also attend seminars.
The deadline to apply for a Noyce scholarship for the 2012 fall semester is March 15.