Four Engineering Alumni Tapped for Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellows Program | College of Engineering

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Four Engineering Alumni Tapped for Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellows Program

Jun 13, 2016

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, celebrated the State of Georgia’s ongoing commitment to close the achievement gap and provide all students with high quality teachers, as the second class of Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellows was named on June 1, 2016.

Sixty individuals – including five Georgia Tech alumni, four from the College of Engineering - will be part of the second cohort of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program in the state, which will be offered at Columbus State University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Mercer University, and Piedmont College during the 2016–17 academic year. The highly competitive program recruits both recent graduates and career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math—the STEM fields—and prepares them specifically to teach in high-need secondary schools.

“The Woodrow Wilson Fellowship is about putting well-trained, committed educators in not only the fields of highest demand in our technology-driven age, but in the schools of highest need here in Georgia,” said Deal. “STEM education plays a critical role in our state’s competitiveness and future economic prosperity and the most important thing we can do for our students in this field is ensure they have effective teachers. This opportunity for teachers is leading to a brighter future for students as they prepare for the 21st century workforce.”

Two ECE alumnae who will participate in this program are Wanda Harding, who earned her master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1993 and Deidre Paris, who received a M.S. in computer engineering and power system planning in 1994. Sara Turmel, a 2016 bachelor’s in materials science and engineering graduate, and Jill Furstenau, a 1982 industrial engineering major, are also participating in the program. The fifth GT graduate is Michael Fusia, a 2006 bachelor’s in physics graduate.

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship focuses on preparing top-quality educators for many of Georgia’s most underserved public schools.  Each Fellow receives $30,000 to complete a specially designed, cutting-edge master’s degree program based on a yearlong classroom experience. In return, Fellows commit to teach for three years in the urban and rural Georgia schools that most need strong STEM teachers. Throughout the three-year commitment, Fellows receive ongoing support and mentoring.

Through the Teaching Fellowship program, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation will contribute to the University System of Georgia’s initiative to produce 20,000 new teachers by 2020. Woodrow Wilson is administering the program, with in-state coordination by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and support from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. Current project funding is $9.36 million.

The university partners, selected in a statewide review by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, have spent the past year and a half tailoring their teacher preparation programs to meet the Fellowship’s standards for intensive clinical work and rigorous related coursework. All five participating universities received $400,000 matching grants to develop their teacher preparation programs based on standards set by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. For each of the program’s three years, the participating Georgia colleges and universities will be able to enroll 12 Fellows, totaling 180 Fellows over that three-year period.

The Woodrow Wilson Foundation is also partnering with a wide range of school districts across the state on this effort, including Atlanta Public Schools, Banks County School System, Bibb County School District, Chattahoochee County School District, Athens-Clarke County School District, Cobb County School District, Dodge County Schools, Franklin County Schools, Fulton County Schools, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Habersham County Schools, Hall County Schools, Houston County Schools, Marietta City Schools, Marion County School System, Monroe County Schools, Muscogee County Schools, Paulding County School District, Stephens County School System, Union County Schools, Walton County Public Schools, and White County School District.

Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio are currently Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship states. The Georgia program brings the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s total commitment to the Fellowship to more than $90 million nationally. More information on the national program can be found at http://woodrow.org/fellowships/ww-teaching-fellowships/.

Press release originally issued by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Program. For more information about the program, contact Riccards at 703-298-8283, riccards@woodrow.org 

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