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State announces first class of Ohio University Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows

Fellows preparing to teach science and math in high-need Ohio schools

State of Ohio Chancellor Jim Petro announced the 2012 class of Woodrow Wilson Ohio Teaching Fellows at a press conference in Columbus on Thursday. The class includes 13 students who will attend Ohio University.

The Ohio University Fellows are:

  • Liberty Armstrong, Piketon, Ohio, 2000 Ohio University graduate in civil engineering

  • Todd Bean, Athens, Ohio, 1999 Ohio University graduate in botany/plant biology

  • Anthony Bokar, Strongsville, Ohio, 2012 Ohio State University graduate in mathematics

  • Blaine (B.J.) Bullock, Jr., Circleville, Ohio, 2007 Ohio State University graduate in anthropology

  • David Chambers, Grand Rapids, Mich., 2009 Grand Valley State University graduate in natural resources management

  • Michelle Cochrane, Columbus, Ohio, 2012 Ohio State University graduate in zoology

  • Brittany Hammonds, Newark, Ohio, 2011 Lake Erie College graduate in biology and mathematics/statistics

  • Erin Litchfield, Delaware, Ohio, 2012 Earlham College graduate in chemistry/mathematics

  • Brooks Purdy, Amesville, Ohio, 2006 Colorado State University in wildlife biology

  • James Rademaker, Strongsville, Ohio, 2012 Ohio University graduate in applied mathematics

  • Kathleen Scott, Lancaster, Ohio, 2010 Wilmington College graduate in mathematics/accounting

  • Tony Tracy, Pickerington, Ohio, 2012 Ohio University graduate in physics

  • Samantha Williams, Cincinnati, 2009 Ohio University master's degree graduate in environmental studies

The Fellows – from cities all around Ohio – have been accepted into the program at seven Ohio colleges as high-quality math and science teacher candidates for high-need Ohio schools.

Ohio University is participating in the Woodrow Wilson Ohio Teaching Fellowship for the first time this year along with the University of Dayton and the University of Toledo. They join John Carroll University, The Ohio State University, the University of Akron and the University of Cincinnati. A map of the participating Ohio universities can be found at www.ohiohighered.org/woodrow.

Ohio University senior James Rademaker explained why he chose to become a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.

"I had always wanted to be a teacher, but ultimately decided to get my undergrad degree in mathematics instead of education," Rademaker said. "I heard about the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship over winter break and figured it would be a good fit, so I applied. I am absolutely ecstatic that I was accepted and especially that I get to not only return, but to also give back to the Athens community."

The Woodrow Wilson Ohio Teaching Fellowship recruits accomplished career changers and outstanding recent college graduates in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (the STEMM fields) who will prepare for math and science teaching positions in the state's urban and rural schools. For a factsheet on the Woodrow Wilson Ohio Teaching Fellowship, visit www.ohiohighered.org/woodrow.

"Education is key to improving the economy in Ohio. We have jobs available in Ohio, many of them in the STEMM fields. We need students trained to fill those jobs," Petro said. "The universities participating in this program realize that invigorating our teacher education programs will help invigorate the way we educate our children in STEMM subject areas. The University System of Ohio eagerly anticipates the difference these new educators will make in focusing more Ohio children on STEMM degree pathways, and ultimately, careers in these vibrant job sectors."

Each of the fellows will receive a $30,000 stipend to complete a special intensive master's program at one of the participating institutions. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation of Princeton, N.J., administers the program. Find more information about the Woodrow Wilson Ohio Teaching Fellowship at www.wwteachingfellowship.org/about_the_program/ohio.php.

The announcement of Fellows comes at the conclusion of a rigorous yearlong application and selection process. The new Fellows, whose master's work is beginning this month, will be ready to teach students in fall 2013.

"There is no more urgent national need in education than to get strong math and science teachers into our schools, especially high-need urban and rural schools," said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. "This year's group of Fellows is impressive – they are passionate about their fields and, most of all, they are committed to helping young people. We are tremendously proud of them, and we're excited to look ahead to their classroom successes. They will change tens of thousands of

Partner universities in the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships have redesigned teacher preparation to prepare teachers in local classrooms, the way physicians learn in hospitals and attorneys in law offices.

Programs also emphasize specific teaching approaches for the STEMM fields. After a year of classroom-based preparation, Fellows commit to teach for at least three years in a high-need Ohio school, with ongoing support and mentoring.

The program is made possible with federal Race to the Top funds as well as commitments from six Ohio funders, including The Cleveland Foundation, George Gund Foundation, Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, GAR Foundation, Battelle Memorial Institute and The Battelle Fund at the Columbus Foundation, plus matching funds provided by the campuses. Additional support for the program came from the state's Choose Ohio First program.

Ohio launched its Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship in March 2010, joining Indiana and Michigan as host states for the program. In each state, a blend of private and public support has been key to the creation of the program, as have gubernatorial leadership and statewide coalition-building.

According to Levine, four to five additional states are in discussion with the Woodrow Wilson Foundation about creating their own programs.

To read the bios of the 2012 Fellows, click here.