Thirteen fellowships have been awarded for admission to Eastern Michigan University as part of the inaugural Michigan class of the W.K. Kellogg-Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship.
The National Fellowship Program specifically recruits college seniors, graduates or career changers with strong backgrounds in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — then provides admission to a master’s degree program at one of the six participating universities: EMU, Wayne State University, Grand Valley State University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Western Michigan University.
Each participant is given a $30,000 stipend, educational training for a three-year teaching commitment at a high-need urban or rural secondary school and a lifelong membership amongst intellectual leaders with the Woodrow Wilson Fellows.
The cohort, lead by Christopher Hiltz of Ann Arbor, will include Michael Adamisin (Northville), Cary Brainard (London, UK/Detroit), Rhea Broughton (Detroit), Amanda Burgess (East Moline, IL), Marissa Fountain-Nelson (Kalamazoo), Nektarios Georgiadis (Milan), Melissa Karjala (Ann Arbor), James Lyden (Dearborn), Erika McBurrows (Detroit), Quinton Myers (Southfield), Carrie Russell (Livonia), John Russell (Baltimore, MD) and Julia Sluchak-Carlsen (Livonia).
By preparing and placing STEM educators in many of Michigan’s most under-served public schools, the fellowship program is determined to provide nearly 101,000 students with the high-quality level of instruction required to contribute to Michigan’s reinvention as the economy and workforce continues to rapidly change.
According to last year’s test results, 16 percent of high school graduates were college-ready. MEAP scores have improved slightly, yet half of 11th grade students failed courses in mathematics and science. Furthermore, these two areas are proven to be the most difficult in recruiting and retaining teachers at high-need public schools, and by 2015, it is projected that 280,000 new math and science teachers will be needed in America’s public school classrooms.
“We need great teachers and great teaching to support our development of the highest quality education in Michigan,” Govenor Rick Snyder said at the announcement of the inaugural class of Michigan fellows last week.
“The teachers in this fellowship program will bring their much-needed expertise in key disciplines to some of our schools in which the need is greatest. We want our students to have every opportunity for success in this global economy. Greater exposure to these key subjects will provide that foundation.”
The 92 individuals selected for this year came from a highly competitive group of 1,500 applicants from a variety of experiences and former careers in math and science-related fields.
“These Fellows are amazing — engineers and zookeepers and medical researchers and astrophysicists, some in mid-career, others just graduating at the top of their classes,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. “They all bring real science and math expertise to the kids who most need strong teachers.”
Hiltz is one of those examples. In 1995 he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in Dearborn and returned in 2003 to earn his master’s degree in engineering management. His past employers include Tesla Motors and Ford Motor Company where he specialized in product creation and development. He plans to remain in southeast Michigan and teach physics with his Master’s in secondary education after completing the fellowship program.
By 2012, Hiltz will be among the 600 elite math, science and technology teachers for the high-need public schools across Indiana, Michigan and Ohio that the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship endorses, decreasing the dramatic shortage of STEM teachers.
Unlike traditional teacher preparation programs based on classroom lectures on the field of education with brief exposure to a practicum — “student teaching” — at the end of the program, the Fellowship promises a unique approach. The development of participants begins and ends with intensive, hands-on classroom experience to prepare candidates in their fields of expertise.
Applications for the 2012 competition will be available on the Foundation’s website in summer of 2011. Fellows will be selected by early spring 2012 and will begin graduate studies in summer 2012. All applications will be accepted online through the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.