Summer 2015‎ > ‎

Chemistry Scholarships

Niederhoffer Gift Creates Chemistry Scholarships for Teachers to Summer Modeling Workshop

Organized by STEMteachersNYC at Columbia University Teachers College



Fernand Brunschwig, Chairman of STEMteachersNYC, announced that the organization has been awarded new funds for scholarships to a Chemistry Modeling Instruction Workshop this summer. Victor Niederhoffer, an entrepreneur and investor, selected STEMteachersNYC as the recipient of the funds due to the organization’s outstanding 3-year record of growth, high impact, and demonstrated success in STEM teacher professional development at the grassroots. Niederhoffer, a Harvard graduate and University of Chicago PhD, as well as a former intercollegiate and world squash champion, said, “Upgrading science teaching in our schools is essential, and STEMteachersNYC offers teachers a practical and stimulating way to actively engage students through their summer Modeling Instruction Workshops.” Niederhoffer added, “This gift is in honor of my father Arthur Niederhoffer, a Professor of Sociology and Founder of John Jay College. He loved chemistry, and he adored teaching more than anything in life. “

Teachers of chemistry and related subjects can now apply for up to $400 funding towards the $499 cost of STEMteachersNYC’s intensive 3-week Chemistry Modeling Instruction Workshop. The workshop will be held at Columbia University Teachers College, July 21 - Aug 8, hosted by the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, simultaneously with similar workshops in physics.

Criteria. Preference will be given to teachers in NYC public schools. Teachers in charter, religious, and private schools are also encouraged to apply. Criteria for selection of scholarship recipients include the strength of the teacher’s efforts at providing high-quality STEM instruction, the percentage of students eligible for free lunch at the school, and the extent to which the school serves populations which are historically under-represented in STEM professions. Letters of support from other teachers, the principal, and other administrator(s) at the school or district are encouraged and will be considered. Explicit support from the principal for hands-on experiments and for the use of “active engagement” methods, especially Modeling Instruction, will be considered and will significantly strengthen the application. Information about STEMteachersNYC is available at the organization’s website: <>.

Apply Now: Teachers are encouraged to apply immediately by completing the short application form: <>. Info about the workshop is at <>. Teachers who wish to ensure that they have a spot in the workshop, which was completely sold out last summer, should reserve a seat by registering and paying the nonrefundable $50 registration fee at <>.

STEMteachersNYC is affiliated with the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA) and offers Modeling Instruction Workshops using the AMTA’s proven approach. The Modeling Method of Instruction was developed in the late 1980s around the fundamental conceptual models (i.e., knowledge structures) of the sciences. Modeling Instruction helps students learn how to build, test and apply a handful of conceptual models that form the content core of the sciences. These models become the tools students use for making sense of the world. Students of teachers who use Modeling Instruction have been shown to perform one to two standard deviations better on standard measures of conceptual knowledge than comparable students in traditionally-taught science classrooms.

Modeling Workshops. Thanks to 16 years of NSF funding there are over 6000 K-12 science teachers in the US who have learned to use Modeling Instruction during the past 24 years by attending Modeling Workshops in the areas of physics, chemistry, physical science, biology and middle school science. In the course of these 90-hour workshops, teachers practice engaging in the “Science and Engineering Practices” advocated in the Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers do “paradigm experiments” to build conceptual models using multiple representations (graphical, diagrammatic and mathematical), engage in small- and whole-group discussions for collaborative sense-making, and deploy their models to design solutions and solve problems. For more information about Modeling Instruction and the AMTA, go to: <>