Tuesday, February 2, 2021

By: Claire Quigle

University of Iowa College of Education student Caleb Potts is destined for success with the help of the Noyce Teacher Scholarship in Mathematics.

Potts learned first hand how scholarships can change one’s life. He is a recipient of the Noyce Scholarship, which is providing him $13,000 per academic year in support.

“The scholarship was a very generous one that has absolutely provided a much-needed financial relief to me and my family as I pursue a college education here,” says Potts, who is one of two UI students currently receiving the Noyce Scholarship in mathematics. The UI also offers Noyce Scholarships in Science.

Originally from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Potts is a University of Iowa College of Education student majoring in math and math education. He will graduate in December of 2023.

Potts always knew he wanted to pursue teaching, but he didn’t become a math education major until the second semester of his freshman year. He enjoys working with youth and knows this career will provide him ample opportunities to do so.

“Growing up I was heavily influenced by a lot of my teachers,” Potts says. “I had great math teachers during my academic career thus far that have played a role in my decision to pursue this career and education.”

When Potts came to the University of Iowa, he wasn’t aware of the many scholarship opportunities available. It wasn’t until his academic advisor contacted him that he learned of the Noyce Scholarship.

The Noyce Scholarship is awarded to exceptional science, technology, and engineering students who plan on teaching mathematics in a high-need school district after graduation. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Noyce Program at the University of Iowa provides $13,000 per academic year in scholarship support to pursue a degree in mathematics education. This support is renewable for up to 2 years if the scholar becomes enrolled in and maintains good academic standing at the UI. The application has a rolling admission and does not have a deadline for the 2021-2022 school year.

In return for Noyce Scholarship support, scholarship recipients agree to teach in a high-needs school district for two years after graduation per each year of scholarship support received. After graduating, Potts plans to return to his hometown, Mount Pleasant, to teach pre-calculus and calculus.

After going through the application process and completing an interview with Danny Hong, an associate professor of math education at the UI College of Education, Potts was awarded the scholarship.

“I highly recommend that other students apply for this scholarship,” Potts says. “It’s a new scholarship, so not many students have heard about it. It will provide a lot of opportunities towards my future career.”

In addition to the financial assistance the scholarship will provide, Hong has also helped Potts by pairing him with a math mentor at Iowa City High School, and connecting him with internship opportunities.

“I have met some very important people through the scholarship who have provided me with classroom observation time and teacher mentors,” Potts says. “The Math Education program has been a very patient and supportive piece of my academic career here and the financial support from the scholarship has made my college career much more affordable and enjoyable!”