2014 Class of W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellows includes seven who will attend Eastern Michigan University

Fellows will prepare to teach science, technology and math in Michigan’s urban and rural schools

by Debra Johnson, Published June 11, 2014


YPSILANTI – A physicist who has worked with superconductors at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a primate zookeeper who did an internship in Kenya and a field geologist who conducted geological mapping in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota will attend Eastern Michigan University this fall as part of the highly competitive W.K. Kellogg Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship.

A total of 43 teacher candidates were awarded the distinguished fellowship, including seven who will attend Eastern Michigan University this fall, four of which are EMU graduates. The announcement was made today at the State Capitol in Lansing by Governor Rick Snyder.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship recruits accomplished career changers and outstanding graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (the STEM fields), who will teach in the state’s urban and rural schools.

Governor Rick Snyder announces the 2014 Class of W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellows

“Michigan needs to develop talent for in-demand jobs so our students are best prepared for long and productive careers,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation should be commended for working to train people, many with experience in the STEM fields, to work in our urban schools, where they will share their knowledge as well as become an inspiration to young students.”

The 2014 Fellows are the fourth class of new teacher candidates to be prepared through the program since the Fellowship was launched in Michigan in 2010. Other participating states include Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey and Georgia.

Each Fellow will receive a $30,000 stipend while completing a one-year master’s-level teacher education program at a participating Michigan university, including Eastern Michigan, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University. These institutions have committed and continue to commit to provide Fellows a full year of experience in local classrooms, as well as specific teaching approaches for the STEM fields—a clinically intensive model still rare in university-based teacher preparation.

Michigan school districts in which the fellows undertake clinical practice include Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Comstock, Detroit, Godwin Heights, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Ypsilanti. These districts partner with the participating universities to offer Fellows practical experience.

Since the program’s inception in 2010, 239 Fellows have been named in Michigan. After their preparation, Fellows commit to teach for at least three years in a high-need Michigan school, with ongoing support and mentoring. The Fellows to date will have a projected eventual impact on the lives of more than 20,000 students each year.

Below are the 2014 Eastern Michigan University Fellows, along with their hometown, educational degrees and noteworthy facts about each recipient:

  • Shannon Bourke, of Pinckney, MI, graduated from Eastern Michigan University 2012, where she studied physics. Noteworthy experience: Physics department graduate assistant; physics tutor; student intern, super conducting materials, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, member, American Association of Physics Teachers; chapter president, Society of Physics Students.
  • Marta Gilson, of Baltimore, MD, received her undergraduate degree in 1987, majoring in mathematics and computer information systems at Siena Heights University. She graduated from Western Michigan University in 1990 with a master’s in biostatistics and received her doctorate from The Johns Hopkins University in 2006 in epidemiology. Noteworthy experience: Independent consultant, statistical and clinical trials; research faculty member, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; university teaching assistant, biostatistics.
  • Anura Hewagama, of Ann Arbor, MI, graduated from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in Sri Lanka in 1985, studying biology and chemistry. He received a master’s from EMU in 1992 in chemistry and a doctorate from Wayne State University in 1999 in biochemistry and molecular biology. Noteworthy experience: Rheumatology research investigator; human genetics/bioinformatics research lab specialist; postdoctoral research fellow; graduate teaching assistant and lab supervisor for undergraduates.
  • Amanda Jones, of Plymouth, MI, attended Michigan State University and received her degree in zoology in 2008. Noteworthy experience: Zookeeper, primate unit; mammal intern, zoological society; intern for two-week field visit, Kenya; executive board member, Zoological Students Association and American Association of Zookeepers.
  • Tatiana Knight, of Ypsilanti, MI, graduated from Evergreen State College in 1994 and studied environmental science. She received her master’s from the University of Cambridge, England in 1997, and postgraduate certificate and diploma in English language teaching to adults in 2000. Noteworthy experience: University lecturer for 7+ years in English as a second language; English instructor abroad 12+years, all levels including elementary and professionals.
  • Betsy Lau, Ann Arbor, MI, graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2010 and majored in chemistry. Noteworthy experience: Graduate teaching assistant; tutor, university-level chemistry, Japanese, mathematics and physics; proficient speaker, Japanese and Cantonese.
  • Jonathan Saylor, Andover, MA, attended Eastern Michigan and graduated in 2006 with a degree in professional geology. Noteworthy experience: Field geologist, 5+ years; project scientist, environmental site assessments; field study participant, geological mapping in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota.

“We take tremendous pride in these Fellows,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which administers the program. “They are accomplished people, who are passionate about the STEM fields and they are deeply committed to young people. They will change countless lives, and the campuses and districts they are working with are changing the way teachers are prepared.”

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship was launched in Michigan with $18 million in support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The organization is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation identifies and develops leaders and institutions to meet the nation’s critical challenges, working through education. For more information, visit the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship homepage

Debra Johnson

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