State Farm donates tuition for UNL's Math and Science Summer Institute

State Farm has allocated $20,000 to support the Nebraska Math and Science Summer Institutes program at UNL. This funding will allow 32 Nebraska K-12 math teachers to take an NMSSI graduate course tuition-free this summer.

The NMSSI strives to make quality professional development and graduate studies accessible and affordable to Nebraska teachers. Research has shown that for professional development to have an impact on teaching practices, teachers must be engaged in the professional development for 80 hours. Intense, 40-hour-per-week summer courses provide the kind of professional development teachers need to increase student learning and academic success.

"With this major donation, State Farm is recognizing the significant impact our program has on professional development for mathematics teachers and improving math achievement for students of all ages," said Jim Lewis, director of the UNL Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education. "The recent development of national standards for mathematics, the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, represents a special and immediate challenge for mathematics, and it is essential to increase capacity to serve mathematics teachers in Nebraska."

State Farm joins the Don Miller Fund as a major sponsor, and the NMSSI also has welcomed Pfizer as a new sponsor. NMSSI fellowships also are supported by the UNL Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, the Math Teachers for the 21st Century Expendable Fund and the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education.

NMSSI courses will be offered in eight locations across the state: Columbus, Hastings, Kearney, La Vista, Lincoln, Norfolk, North Platte and Scottsbluff. Courses offered in Lincoln in July are still open to teachers.

Teachers awarded State Farm tuition fellowships are:

Alliance: Tracy Gifford, Alliance High School.

Blair: Tracy Custer, North Primary School.

Callaway: Sheila Ellis, Callaway High School.

Columbus: Lindsay Bakko, Columbus Middle School; Jill Krienke, Lakeview High School; Pamela Williams, West Park Elementary.

Crete: Kyle Royuk, Crete High School.

Elm Creek: Barbara Keep, Elm Creek High School.

Fremont: John Strand, Fremont Public Schools.

Grand Island: Kaitlyn Forbes, Westridge Middle School; Dee Krolikowski, Grand Island Senior High School.

Gretna: Jeff Depue, Gretna High School.

Halsey: Patricia Johnston, Halsey Elementary, Sandhills Public Schools.

Hastings: Stephanie Barwick, Raymond Watson Elementary School; Christy Kreutzer, Hastings High School.

Lincoln: Kelli Anderson, Elliott Elementary; Shari Bitney, Maxey Elementary; Sandy Dorn, Meadow Lane Elementary; Megan Fleischman, Rousseau Elementary; Kyle Francis-Thomas, Goodrich at Dawes Middle School; Holly Liibbe, Culler Middle School; Molly Orton, Elliott Elementary.

Lindsay: Matthew Hare, Holy Family High School; Marian Wecker, Holy Family High School.

Minatare: DeeDe Sinner, Minatare High School.

Morrill: Traci Patterson, Morrill High School.

Omaha: Melissa Kosch, Harry Andersen Middle School, Millard; Vicki Tomlinson, Westside Middle School.

Scottsbluff: Amanda Cochran, Scottsbluff Senior High School; Sonia Reisig, Scottsbluff Senior High School.

Springfield: Julie Lodes, Platteview High School.

Wolbach: Jody French, Greeley-Wolbach Elementary.

- Lindsay Augustyn, Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education