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Student Opportunities


Applications are available at APPLY as a STEM LA and must be received by April 27, 2021 at midnight for full consideration to the program.

Here are what LAs say about the program...

Join a STEM course redesign team and support your peers' learning this fall!


The STEM Communities Project team and participating faculty are seeking undergraduate students to help improve their peers’ experiences in STEM courses in Fall 2021 and beyond. As an undergraduate Learning Assistant (LA), you will help redesign a specific STEM course with a team of faculty and other students, as well as facilitate student dialogue around challenging content in that course. The current courses being redesigned are: BIO 1330 (Functional Biology); BIO 1331 (Organismal Biology); MATH 2472 (Calculus II); and CHEM 3375 (Principles of Biochemistry).

Why participate as an undergraduate Learning Assistant?

Learning Assistants

As a participating LA, you can…

  • Help current and future STEM students have positive experiences and be successful in a specific course (BIO 1330, BIO 1331, MATH 2472, or CHEM 3375)

  • Deepen your own understanding of STEM course content

  • Gain valuable leadership and communication skills

  • Develop meaningful relationships with STEM faculty

  • Become a member of a supportive community

As an LA, you will also receive…

  • $10/hour for participating in program activities, typically 5-10 hours/week during the Fall 2021 semester
  • Up to an additional $300-400 to help shape the course redesign during a virtual Summer Institute on May 19-28, 2021 (optional but encouraged!)

  • Guidance from the STEM Communities team and participating faculty at collaborative weekly preparation sessions during the Fall 2021 semester (Fridays, 11-1pm or 12-2pm), as well as an August kickoff event (Thursday, August 19)

  • Support for developing your instructional knowledge and skills through a seminar-style STEM pedagogy course for first-semester LAs (Mondays 3:30-5:30pm or Tuesdays 5-7pm)

What does a Learning Assistant do?

Plan with Faculty

Learning assistants (LAs) and their lead instructors meet in weekly preparation sessions to prepare for upcoming classes. LAs contribute by giving input on how students are interacting with the course activities (i.e. what worked well/not so well in previous sessions) and strategizing with the lead instructor about how to deliver the next lessons. In the STEM Communities project, LAs will also work with multiple instructors to plan and iteratively improve on larger-scale changes to the course as a member of a course redesign team.

Learn and Reflect on STEM Pedagogy

Through their LA experiences and the STEM Cognition and Pedagogy course, LAs will have opportunities to evaluate the process of STEM teaching and learning and examine structures and practices that facilitate and/or inhibit student learning. By taking the STEM Cognition and Pedagogy Course, LAs will be able to:

  • identify key theories and findings of STEM education research, including culturally responsive teaching;

  • apply insights from STEM education research to their peer instruction contexts;

  • evaluate cognitive processes that foster individual learning; 

  • examine how students engage within collaborative groups; 

  • describe the systemic nature of barriers to pursuing STEM careers; and

  • identify specific barriers to student success that can emerge in the classroom, educational systems, and professional STEM communities.

Work with Student Groups

LAs guide their peers in small group discussions. LAs facilitate student engagement with course content by eliciting student thinking and ensuring that each group member participates in developing joint understanding.