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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Lt. Gov. Northam Promotes STEM Education at MonarchTeach Event

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam joined about four dozen Hampton Roads science and math educators invited to Webb University Center Friday evening for a networking event to raise awareness about "MonarchTeach."

The collaboration between Old Dominion's College of Science and the Darden College of Education, in its second year, is aimed at producing more STEM teachers for secondary schools. The program is the only one of its kind in Virginia.

MonarchTeach - a replication of the UTeach model out of the University of Texas at Austin - gives prospective STEM teachers practical classroom experience as early as the first semester of their freshman year.

The event was designed in part to invite more local secondary schools to become partners and provide mentors for Old Dominion students who are in the MonarchTeach program.

In his keynote address, Northam, a pediatrician who lives in Virginia Beach, noted the importance of STEM education in the development of a workforce that can meet the demands of high-tech businesses he and Gov. Terry McAuliffe are working to bring to Virginia.

MonarchTeach has several unique features that include early and frequent classroom experience, summer internships, a student organization, a living and learning community in the Ireland House residence hall and committed personal support from MonarchTeach staff.

State funding for MonarchTeach will expire in September of 2016, so raising awareness of the initiative in order to secure other funding sources is critical, said Rich Whittecar, co-director of MonarchTeach.

Visit the MonarchTeach website for more information.