Robert Noyce Fellowship in Informal STEM Learning

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 (All day)


Over the past four years, the Obama Administration has worked closely with a growing community of foundations, companies, non-profits and federal agencies on giving more students access to informal STEM learning opportunities. These activities build students’ essential abilities that enable lifelong success, such as creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, and self-expression. Increasing students’ excitement about and proficiency in excelling in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects is essential to our country’s economic future. The Federal Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Strategic Plan has set a goal to “support a 50 percent increase in the number of U.S. youth who have an effective, authentic STEM experience each year prior to completing high school.”

To assist in this critical work, the Robert Noyce Fellowship will be a two-year position with placement at the U.S. Department of Education. Candidates for the fellowship should have deep expertise and relationships in the field of informal STEM learning, familiarity with federal education policy, and the ability to build strong partnerships inside and outside government. The Noyce Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation have partnered to expand informal science opportunities for students across the country. The home organization of the Fellow would receive funding from the Noyce Foundation and this partnership effort to support filling the temporary vacancy at the home organization.



The Noyce Fellow reports to the Assistant Deputy Secretary in the Office of Innovation and Improvement. The Fellow will also work closely with the Department of Education’s Senior Advisor on STEM Education, senior leadership in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Office of the Deputy Secretary, as well as with colleagues in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.



* Identify opportunities to leverage existing and proposed Department of Education programs to improve informal STEM learning. This may include working with staff across the Department in drafting solicitations, recruiting expert reviewers, designing proposals, scoring rubrics and building out appropriate supports and technical assistance for Department grantees engaged in informal STEM education. Potential programs include 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Investing in Innovation, School Improvement Grants and the STEM Innovation Networks, with the expectation that the largest of these programs—the Department’s 21stCentury Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC)—will be a core area of focus for the Noyce Fellow. In particular, the Fellow will work with 21st CCLC grantees/sub-grantees that are engaged in informal STEM learning to improve the program’s overall quality, school-community partnerships, and connection to the K–12 system as well as the broader informal STEM education community. 

* Strengthen collaboration between the Department of Education and other federal agencies in the area of informal STEM learning, such as the Corporation for Community and National Service (e.g., the STEM Americorps program), NASA, and the Department of Agriculture (e.g., 4H). Represent the Department on key inter-agency efforts, including work led by key federal partner agencies such as the Smithsonian and the National Science Foundation. Additional opportunities for inter-agency collaboration are identified in the STEM Strategic Plan released by 14 federal agencies in May 2013 and in the PCAST report on improving K-12 STEM education.

* Build on the President’s Educate to Innovate campaign, which is focused on getting more young people excited about STEM fields. This entails building collaborations with the corporate, non-profit and philanthropic communities, including before school, afterschool and summer programs, science-rich institutions, museums, and libraries. Examples of current and potential commitments that are relevant to informal STEM education include STEM programming, digital badges, e-portfolios, games for learning, youth development, citizen science, science and engineering competitions, media partnerships and the Maker Movement.

* Use convenings, events, speeches, and other communications mechanisms to shine a spotlight on models, interventions, and policies in informal STEM learning at the state and local level that others can learn from and replicate, as appropriate. This may include working with the growing set of state, regional-level, and urban STEM networks and the growing set of states adopting the Next Generation Science Standards.

* Work with the Department’s Institute for Education Sciences (IES), the National Science Foundation, and other leading researchers to identify research priorities in informal STEM learning, including identifying the new tools, strategies and programs that may have an impact on student STEM motivation and learning.



* Undergraduate degree required; graduate degree strongly preferred.

* Substantial experience in the field of informal and out-of-school time STEM learning. This can include academic work, as well as expertise gained through direct work with afterschool programs, K-12 schools, museums, libraries, foundations, companies and others that are involved in STEM education. A strong network within informal STEM learning is essential.

* Significant experience in education policy at the local, state or federal level.

* Strong interpersonal skills and willingness to work with a wide range of individuals and offices at the Department, including the skill to be effective in large bureaucracies. 

* Ability to operate and execute with limited guidance and in ambiguous or novel circumstances, and ability to appropriately and effectively use informal authority when leading teams or projects. * Ability to develop and manage complex project workplans and adhere to deadlines.

* Outstanding writing skills and demonstrated ability to craft policy papers, decision memos, talking points and program proposals on complex education issues for diverse audiences. 

* Excellent strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities and a creative thinker who has demonstrated the ability to tackle new and dynamic challenges by developing original solutions while working collaboratively with others.



* Must be a U.S. citizen.

* Will be subject to a background investigation.




We would appreciate recommendations of candidates by October 1, 2013. We plan to talk with recommended candidates as quickly as possible to determine whether the Fellowship would be a good fit and mutually beneficial. Please send recommendations for candidates and any questions to Ron Ottinger at


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