The School of Education saw its first five-year dual-degree STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) student graduate in spring 2016. Candice Lombardi, who received her BA/MA in May, is the pioneer of this unique program.
“I’m extremely grateful for all the help and guidance given by such amazing educators throughout this process. It was such an exciting journey, and I would highly recommend students to look into this program. I’ve learned so much, and knowing I was the first success of the program gives me immense pride.”
Hofstra is the only school on Long Island that offers a graduate program that specializes in elementary STEM.
The BA/MA STEM program allows students to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree in less time than if each degree was pursued separately. Unlike similar five-year elementary education programs at other schools that culminate in New York State teacher certification at the end of the fifth year, Hofstra students fulfill the requirements for New York State initial certification to teach early childhood and/or childhood education at the end of their fourth year.
The BA portion of the program is for students majoring in elementary education who wish to have a broad background in the liberal arts with a focus on STEM. Students take science, math and engineering courses, as well as two STEM designated integrative courses — one integrates STEM from a science or natural world perspective and the other integrates STEM from an engineering or human-made world perspective. In their third year, students begin education courses, and they begin graduate courses in their fourth year.
Lombardi was hired as a permanent substitute at Waverly Park Elementary School in the Lynbrook School District, and she works at a BOCES preschool in an extended year program during the summer. As she made the transition from student to educator, she felt well-prepared.
“STEM education presents teachers with the opportunity to allow students to construct understanding for themselves through inquiry,” Lombardi said. “Students engage in planning and justifying their ideas and beliefs while discussing and examining the ideas of their classmates. This introduces students to real-life, authentic science experiences within the confines of a typical classroom. Through studying STEM integration with education, I have grown accustomed to a 21st century view on teaching and learning.”