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IUPUI enrolling 2012 Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows, who bring extensive STEM backgrounds to high-need classrooms

WW Fellow Eric Sprague speaks to Crispus Attucks students.
WW Fellow Eric Sprague speaks to Crispus Attucks students.


May 14, 2012

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Eighteen accomplished professionals from science, math and engineering career fields will transition to teaching math and science in Indiana schools as 2012 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Gov. Mitch Daniels announced the 2012 class of Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows during a press conference today. A total of 54 Fellows -- top recent graduates and accomplished career changers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or the STEM fields -- will teach in both urban and rural Indiana schools.

“An inadequate supply of qualified people in STEM disciplines is a major national concern," said Uday Sukhatme, executive vice chancellor and dean of the faculties at IUPUI. "High-quality high school teaching in STEM fields is a prerequisite to solving this problem. Through the Woodrow Wilson program and other campus initiatives, IUPUI has become a national leader in the training of highly qualified STEM teachers.”

Each Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow receives a $30,000 stipend to complete a special intensive master’s program at one of four Indiana universities and to defray expenses while transitioning to the teaching profession. The partner campuses are Ball State University, Purdue University, the University of Indianapolis and IUPUI.

The partner universities have redesigned teacher preparation to include time in local classrooms, the way physicians learn in hospitals and attorneys in law offices. Programs also include intensive emphasis on specific teaching approaches for the STEM fields.

“At IUPUI, we have designed our Woodrow Wilson STEM teacher preparation program to reflect teaching as a practice-based profession, much like a medical residency,” said Kathy Marrs, director of the IUPUI Woodrow Wilson Program and director of the Urban Center for the Advancement of STEM Education, also at IUPUI. “Woodrow Wilson fellows at IUPUI complete a master’s degree program that combines a solid academic base, a strong one-year clinical teaching residency in our local urban schools, a three-year new teacher induction experience, and ongoing opportunities such as Project Lead the Way or Special Education dual certification.”

After a year of classroom-based preparation, Fellows commit to teach for at least three years in a high-need Indiana school, with ongoing support and mentoring. The new Fellows, who begin their master’s work this summer, will be ready to enter their own classrooms in fall 2013.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation of Princeton, N.J., administers the teacher preparation program, which has been funded with $15 million in grants from Lilly Endowment and a supplemental $3 million in state support. Daniels has championed the program since its inception in 2007.

The 2012 group of Fellows is the fourth cohort named in Indiana. Of the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows, 98 percent majored in a STEM discipline: 44 percent in the sciences, 33 percent in engineering and technology, and 23 percent in mathematics. Seventeen percent hold advanced degrees.

Teachers from the first two classes of Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows, named in 2009 and 2010, are already working in classrooms around the state, with teachers from the 2011 cohort now ready for their own classrooms this August.

“With some 225 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows to date, we estimate that these teachers will reach more than 23,000 students every year,” says Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. “The Fellows represent a 25 percent annual increase in Indiana’s supply of STEM teachers. Beyond that, the four university partners have changed the way they prepare STEM teachers, and we think that too has a ripple effect for the other teachers they graduate, and for classrooms around the state.”

Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.

The 2012 Woodrow Wilson Fellows who will enroll at IUPUI are:

James R. Brown, an Air Force veteran and professional carpenter and cabinetmaker.
Rhondée Caldwell, a biologist with research experience in neuroscience; and a Girl Scout volunteer.
Anthony Coleman, a computer technician and software programmer, and a Boys and Girls Club youth leader.
Domingo David Jr., a computer science/computer engineering graduate and a student cultural group volunteer.
Roger Edington, an industrial technology and industrial engineering graduate and a Navy veteran with more than 23 years of service.
Daniel Gess, a construction and building systems engineer and an Air National Guard veteran.
John Hoffman, a medical/surgical ward nurse, medical school research lab manager and mentor for at-risk youth.
Gabrielle Ingram, a biologist and a scholar-athlete on the Kent State soccer team.
Blake Nathan, an aeronautics/transportation graduate active in peer mentoring on campus and a former teacher for grade-school children at a child care center.
Kate Schlarman, a geologist and researcher in organic microfossils and a former camp counselor with experience as a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts.
David Skeels, an industrial engineering and business executive with more than 20 years of MBA experience and a developer of “green” power technologies who is fluent in Spanish.
John Skomp, a chemistry graduate with extensive peer mentoring experience who has teaching experience in undergraduate chemistry labs.
Jordan Skomp, a chemistry graduate with teaching experience in undergraduate organic chemistry labs and peer mentoring experience who is an avid cross country runner.
Marie-Therese Smith, a mechanical engineer and computer architect/designer with more than 15 years’ experience in computer manufacturing; she is co-founder of a school robotics program.
Sandra Smith, a geology/geochemistry graduate with experience in field camps. She has served as a campus mentor, camp counselor and volunteer with high-school-age youth.
Krysty-An Spartz, a biologist, farmer and expert in wetland mitigation; a parent of four home-schooled children; and a Sunday school teacher who plays violin and banjo.
Stephen Spyker, an electrical engineer and broadcast engineer; computer/IT director; cabinetmaker; youth pastor; and avid cyclist.
Adam Trebel, an industrial design graduate who volunteers with at-risk high school youth. He is also a volunteer elementary math tutor, woodworker, machinist and digital designer.