STEM Learning Assistant Program
A Learning Assistant (LA) is a student who is paid to work with a faculty mentor assisting in a STEM classroom or laboratory with the goals of a) increasing student success, learning, and engagement; b) recruiting and preparing talented STEM majors to consider teaching as a career; and c) improving the quality of STEM education for all students. As they try on teaching, LAs serve as peer models, guiding and interacting with students in class in small learning groups or on an individual basis in partnership with their faculty mentors. LAs have the opportunity to present mini-lectures during class as well as lead study and review sessions for the students outside of class.
- LAs are paired one-on-one to work with a faculty mentor.
- LAs receive pedagogy training and support as they learn strategies to promote discussion and collaborative learning with the students in class. The LAs also share study skills throughout the semester as they work with the students both in and outside of class.
- Learning Assistants receive a stipend for the semester (paid in two installments).
- Semester appointments have an eight hour per week commitment (six hours of direct student support and two hours of pedagogy training and development).
- After the application deadline, selected candidates are interviewed before final assignments are made.
Apply to Be a Learning Assistant
Current Listings and Student Application – updated May 3, 2021
Fall 2021 Course Listings (PDF, ) - Describes the program and provides a listing of current course openings.
Quotes from former Learning Assistants:
- “The goal might have been 'to gain teaching experience' but I gained something different. I gained an experience on how to help others and get involved in their lives to change them.”
- “This program helped me how to think about concepts in different perspectives because each student question comes from a different perspective.”
- “I gained a lot of positive experiences working as an LA. I was able to understand the course much better by explaining it to others. In addition, I was also able to increase my ability in interacting with others.”
- “By far the most important thing I gained was a better understanding of the subject material. I also had a lot of fun and learned a good bit about how to explain concepts from different angles.”
Quotes from students in LA-supported classes:
- “Having someone (the LA) who went through the course successfully helped me set a standard for myself.”
- “The LA makes you feel encouraged and comfortable.”
- “Working with the LA helped me enjoy and understand the class better.”
- “The LA helped me become a better student.”
- “The LA was recently a student in the same course and could thus provide a different/more relatable perspective on the course content.”
- “The LA helped me develop study skills for my future classes.”
Quotes from LA faculty mentors:
- “The LA helped create a sense of community and unity within the class which allowed the students to relax and feel comfortable engaging with the material and asking questions.”
- “My students greatly benefited from having a peer mentor/role model who could connect with them on their level and offer guidance and support.”
- “The LA program is a powerful student-centered program that changes lives.”
LA Program in the news:
Learning Assistant Program Director Dr. Carolyn Schick co-authored a paper in the Journal of Chemical Educationnew window which highlighted how Montgomery College's STEM Learning Assistant program and other LA programs around the country successfully pivoted and adapted to support students remotely beginning in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The STEM LA program was featured in @MontgomeryCollege: Mentoring a New Wave of STEM Teachersnew window.
Watch Learning Assistants supporting students in STEM classrooms and laboratories at Montgomery College.
Come join the STEM LA Program! Become a Learning Assistant!
The Montgomery College STEM Learning Assistant program was developed with the support of a capacity building grant from the National Science Foundation under the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, Award No. 1239965 (2012-2015) and continues to receive support from the Phase I Scholarships and Stipends program, Award No. 1555634 (2016-2021). Additional support has been provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation – Graduate and Transfer Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Talent Expansion Program (GT STEP), Award No. 1161231 (2012-2017) and a grant from the American Academy of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) – TIDES (Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (2014-2017) as well as from internal, and Montgomery College Foundation, and Corporate funds.
Dr. Carolyn SchickLearning Assistant Program Director