Skip navigation links

July 15, 2013

Woodrow Wilson fellows focus on math, science teaching

Michigan State University has welcomed a third group of aspiring science and mathematics teachers who will complete their teacher preparation as W.K. Kellogg Foundation Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellows.

The 11 new MSU fellows, announced today among peers at five other universities statewide, plan to use academic backgrounds and real-world expertise from the math and science fields to become outstanding educators in urban classrooms.

The fellows each receive $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 Michigan’s high-need secondary schools. The program was launched by the Kellogg Foundation in 2009 with $18 million in support and administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton.

The program ultimately will provide more than 100,000 students with the level of instruction they need to contribute and thrive in Michigan’s rapidly changing economy and workforce. Numerous studies have demonstrated that students in high-need schools are significantly less likely to have access to such teachers, particularly in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math).

“The research is clear – the most important factor affecting the quality of a student’s education is the quality of the classroom teacher. Beyond that, effective educators can make a powerful and lasting impact on students in ways that can’t be measured by test scores and report cards,” said Sterling Speirn, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation.

Other campuses working with the Fellows include Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University. These universities partner with local school districts where Fellows learn to teach in real classrooms from the beginning of their master’s work.

Program director Gail Richmond, an associate professor of science education, said almost 100 percent of those who completed the fellowship at MSU are now certified and employed as teachers.

The new cohort began taking courses together on campus this summer and will begin their full-year teaching internship this fall with placements in Detroit Public Schools, Jackson Public Schools and Godwin Heights Public Schools.

They include:

  • Jonathan Bartik from Kalamazoo, degree in economics
  • Justin Daniel, from Lansing, degrees in biology and chemistry
  • Eric David, from Lansing, degree in forestry
  • James Grulke, from East Lansing, degree in parks, recreation and tourism
  • Christopher Klerkx, from Sterling Heights, degree in philosophy and mathematics
  • Tim Langenberg, from Lansing, degree in biology
  • Erin Martin, from East Lansing, degree in chemistry
  • Erin Masko, from Grand Rapids, degree in chemistry
  • Amber Peruski, from Auburn, degree in human biology
  • Zachary Sweet, from Euclid, Ohio, degree in mathematics and German
  • Anqi Yu, from Lilburn, Georgia, degree in biology and physics