Mercer’s Third Class of Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellows Announced at State Capitol

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Woodrow Wilson GTF 2018

ATLANTA – Gov. Nathan Deal at the State Capitol today announced Georgia’s newest class of Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellows, including 12 who will study at Mercer University.

With the addition of this year’s class of 24 aspiring educators, the Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellowship, along with Mercer, Columbus State University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University and Piedmont College, will have prepared a total of 183 teachers to lead STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classes in the state’s high-need secondary schools.

“Every student deserves access to a quality educational environment for academic achievement and success beyond the classroom,” said Gov. Deal. “The seeds of President Wilson’s education and ambition sprouted and bloomed here on Georgia soil, and I’m proud to say we have continued to honor that legacy through endeavors like the Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellowship program. Young minds remain Georgia’s greatest resource, and this fellowship provides high-need schools with devoted and talented educators to teach, guide and inspire the future leaders of our state.”

“The Georgia Teaching Fellowship is a success story when it comes to improving the quality and size of the teacher pipeline,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. “Throughout Georgia, high-need schools now have excellent STEM teachers leading their classrooms, working with teachers and administrators to close the achievement gap and ensure the best STEM education possible for all learners. This was Gov. Deal’s goal when he brought the Woodrow Wilson Foundation program to the state, and I am honored to report that Georgia has succeeded in achieving that goal.”

Mercer’s third class of Fellows are recent graduates or career-changers with strong backgrounds in the STEM disciplines. They include Zachary Alford from Inverness, Florida; David Besson from Canton; Krista Buchanan from Warner Robins; Lorenzo Harmon from Oxon Hill, Maryland; Tyrone Hendrix from Gainesville; Leah Leonard from Atlanta; Sean Satterlee from Youngstown, Ohio; Monica Stanwick from Parkersburg, West Virginia; Daniel Snyder from Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania; Sarah Stuart from Watkinsville; John Wang from Marietta; and Natalia Williams from Stone Mountain.

Leonard (EGR ’13) and Stuart (CLA ’18) previously earned degrees in mechanical engineering and math, respectively, from Mercer. Additionally, Linzi Prpich Bullard (CLA ’18), who earned a degree in math from Mercer, was announced as a member of this year’s fellows class at Georgia State University.

“Each new cohort of Fellows brings new experiences and knowledge to the field of teaching, and this outstanding group of Fellows is no different. They are embracing their diverse experiences to bring them to bear in order to enrich the education of STEM campers,” said Dr. Melissa Jurkiewicz, assistant professor of STEM and science education.

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.

“Our third cohort of Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows completed a weeklong robotics workshop with Dr. Anthony Choi in the School of Engineering and is midway through its first semester of coursework,” said Dr. Sharon Murphy Augustine, chair of teacher education in the Tift College of Education and program director of Mercer’s Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships. “All of the Fellows’ classes are connected to an engineering STEM Camp they are facilitating with middle school students from Bibb, Dodge, Houston and Monroe counties.”

“It is exciting to see the Fellows engaging with this problem-based learning approach to education,” added Dr. Philip McCreanor, professor of environmental engineering and director of Mercer’s Engineering Scholars Program.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation 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 $13.7 million.

The university partners, selected in a statewide review by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, have spent years 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. The participating Georgia colleges and universities administer the program for three years, each enrolling a total of 36 Fellows for a total of 180 Fellows who will contribute to the state’s high-need secondary schools.

The Woodrow Wilson Foundation is partnering with a wide range of school districts across the state on this effort. The Bibb County School District, Dodge County Schools, Houston County Schools and Monroe County Schools are partnering with Mercer in Central Georgia.

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship is also offered in Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio. The Georgia program brings the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s total commitment to the Fellowship to more than $90 million nationally. For more information, visit woodrow.org/fellowships/ww-teaching-fellowships.

About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society. For more information, visit www.woodrow.org.

About the Tift College of Education

Mercer University’s Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University’s three Regional Academic Centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. The College offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Practitioner,” which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. education.mercer.edu

Kyle Sears
Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​