By Tom Ballard
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship (WWNF) announced 62 New Jersey teaching fellows for 2016 — including two College alumni and 15 future College graduate students — during an event held at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., on Wednesday, June 15. Gov. Chris Christie attended the event.
According to the organization’s press release, the fellowship provides an opportunity for recently-graduated teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields to continue their education. Each fellow receives $30,000 to complete their master’s degree based on a yearlong classroom experience. In return, each fellow agrees to teach for three years in the state’s rural and urban school districts that are most in need of STEM teachers.
“Strengthening our educators with high expectations and strong support and training systems can make a life-changing difference for our children,” Christie said, according to the release. “Through the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, we are transforming the way teacher candidates are prepared so they can equip our students with the STEM skills required to succeed in the knowledge-based, global digital economy.”
Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, said that as the state’s economy evolves to focus on more science and math related fields, it is important to place an emphasis on those fields in education now so that students are able to find careers after they graduate.
“New Jersey now stands as a model for how to transform teacher education and ensure a strong pipeline of effective beginning teachers for all schools, particularly our hard-to-staff ones. New Jersey Teaching Fellows are the future of teaching in New Jersey, and we are proud to welcome these 62 teachers into this important effort,” Levine said, according to the release.
Two of the College’s undergraduate alumni — Kodjovi Afanyihoun (’14) and Brianna Farrell (’13) — were named as fellows and will continue their graduate career at the College. Other fellows who will be attending the College to complete their fellowship are Salam Abu-Joudeh, Kelsey Allen, Alexandra Bakerman, DiAsia Brooks, Walter Buhro, Matthew Chioffe, Leah Cocco, Olivia Dambrosia, Vanessa DeHart, Kaitlin Geraghty, Veronica Lopez, Erin Moran and Jamie Quinn.
According to a New Jersey Herald article from Wednesday, June 15, the WWNF’s New Jersey teaching fellowship program dates back to 2014 and is offered to graduates of five of the state’s public colleges — Montclair State, Rowan, Rutgers-Camden and William Paterson universities, and the College. Fellows can be placed across any of the 20 participating school districts in New Jersey, including public schools in Ewing, Trenton, Glassboro and New Brunswick, according to the release.
Applicants for the fellowship must have majored or have a professional background in a STEM-related field, demonstrate commitment to the WWNF’s goals, received an undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university and have a GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, according to the WWNF’s website.
The WWNF was founded in 1945 and is driven to promote and develop the nation’s education in order to meet critical challenges, according to the release.