Shakara Johnson named Alcorn’s first Be Brave, Teach STEM Robert Noyce Scholarship Program recipient

A new scholarship program at Alcorn State University that encourages teaching careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education just awarded its first recipient.

Shakara Johnson, a senior mathematics education major from Hollandale, Mississippi, is the University’s first Be Brave, Teach STEM Robert Noyce Scholarship Program recipient. The scholarship is for $10,000.

The program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, unites Alcorn’s education and psychology, biology, chemistry, and mathematics departments, along with six surrounding K-12 public school districts and Hinds Community College, Utica Campus, to enhance the quality and quantity of STEM teachers in secondary schools.

The program’s aim is to offer undergraduate students annual scholarships to encourage them to enter STEM education careers in high-needs school districts.

The award is a testament to Alcorn’s effort to provide Mississippi schools with quality STEM educators. Johnson feels proud to be a part of Alcorn’s initiative to encourage STEM education in Mississippi.

“It feels amazing,” said Johnson. “I am grateful to know that others see the critical need for mathematics and science teachers in Mississippi’s K-12 schools. It makes me happy to know that someone other than myself wants to shape the future. Alone, we can do so little, but together, we can do so much. It takes a village.”

Johnson looks forward to leveraging her scholarship to connect with seasoned teachers for advice on leading the next generation.

“Receiving this scholarship will put me on pace to enter my career. This scholarship allows me to network with colleagues near and far. They will help me mold tomorrow’s leaders.”

Learning has always brought Johnson joy. She credits her parents for instilling in her the importance of education.

“My parents placed a strong emphasis on education, which helped me choose education as my career path. As a child, I began to look at education not as preparation for life but as life itself. It was instilled in me at a very young age to put my best foot forward. I’ve always been eager to learn, even during my younger years.”

Math became a passion of Johnson’s early in her education. As she progressed in her education, her love for math grew so much that she was inspired to teach the subject in the future. She acknowledges her former math teachers for enhancing her knowledge and skill about the subject.

“I’ve always had engaging, compelling, and motivating math teachers in my elementary and secondary years. As I excelled in all of my math courses, I grew a deeper love for the subject. Math takes me to a place that English, history, or science doesn’t. I love a challenge, and I love to challenge others.

Johnson uses her love for teaching to sharpen the math skills of her students.

“I enjoy giving students a foundation to excel in higher math courses. Whatever they learn in one math course will be needed in another. I know that many students dislike math. I love to give students a different outlook and perspective. Teaching math allows me to make learning fun.”

For more information about the Be Brave, Teach STEM Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, visit Alcorn’s Be Brave, Teach STEM page, or call 601-877-6200.