In 2022, Anna Baker graduated from Auburn University with a degree in mechanical engineering and plans to become a design engineer. She loved her time at Auburn, from involvement opportunities and working at the university bookstore to the beautiful campus. She loved everything about her college experience.
In her final semester, Baker was working on her senior design project when she came across a flyer promoting DREAM-Math, a program which offers the unique opportunity for those with a degree in STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, to pursue a master’s degree and earn a teaching certificate. The goal of the program is to produce more highly qualified STEM teachers in the state of Alabama, which is suffering from a critical teacher shortage.
Baker’s plans quickly changed as she found out more about the program. Her own math teachers from high school instilled in her a deep love for learning, and she chose to join DREAM-Math so she could have the same impact on future students.
The Developing, Recruiting and Empowering Alabama Mathematics Teachers, or DREAM-Math, project allows students to complete a 14-month master’s degree in secondary mathematics education and provides a full-ride, including tuition and living expenses, thanks to funding by The National Science Foundation. Upon completion of the program, graduates will also receive a $10,000 annual stipend and valuable educational support during their first four years of teaching.
“My experience with this program was wonderful. It’s a challenging program, but it is incredibly rewarding,” Baker said. “The professors and people involved with the program were always so kind, encouraging and helpful. They all want you to succeed, and they’re willing to do everything they can to help. I truly cannot say enough great things about the entire math education program at Auburn.”
DREAM-Math is for those who have never been teachers but have earned a STEM degree that includes at least 12-15 hours of mathematics at or above Calculus I.
“I think it’s important to get people with STEM degrees into the classroom because they are the ones who have an in-depth understanding of how the mathematics being taught is applied in the real world,” she said. “They have the experience necessary to answer students’ favorite question to ask: When am I ever going to use this in the real world?”
For Baker, DREAM-Math allowed her the opportunity to pursue a career path that she had not previously considered. The program is fourteen months, provides a master’s degree, includes a generous stipend, prepares students for an exciting and satisfying career, and gives excellent networking opportunities.
“If you’re considering a career change and want to make an impact, you’re not going to find a better program,” Baker said.
The DREAM-Math program is accepting applications for the 2024 cohort now. Information sessions are offered the second Monday of each month.
Interested in learning more? Discover if DREAM-Math is right for you by visiting https://www.dream-math.org.