UC joins national Woodrow Wilson STEM Teaching Fellows initiative

The University of Cincinnati has just kicked off its first class of Woodrow Wilson STEM Teaching Fellows, a nationwide program aimed at getting more math and science teachers in high-need urban and rural schools.

A class of 18 fellows started a year-long, field based master's degree program under the university's teacher education program. The fellows include recent university grads, former educators and private sector professionals looking for new careers. They'll all be mentored by STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) faculty in teacher education as well as in the University's College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Each fellow will be given a $30,000-stipend in return for teaching for three years in high-need urban or rural schools.

"I've been in Cincinnati a tremendous amount of time. I graduated from Morehouse College a lot of years ago - 1977 - which means I graduated before my fellow fellows were born," said Roosevelt Merritts Sr., one of the UC fellows. He is looking ahead to becoming a math teacher. "Kids today need a lot of help, and hopefully, I can make that difference," he said.

The University of Cincinnati was one of the first four schools across the state chosen to offer the program last year. This summer, the program has been expanded to include three more universities: Ohio University, the University of Dayton and the University of Toledo.

"These Fellows are extraordinary people who bring real science and math expertise to the kids who most need strong teachers," Arthur Levine, Woodrow Wilson Foundation president said in a recent announcement about the program. "They are patented inventors and biomedical engineers and statisticians, some in midcareer, others just graduating at the top of their classes. Many come from the same high-need backgrounds as the students they will teach."

Ohio, Indiana and Michigan are the first three states to launch the program. It's funded through a mix of federal, state, and local university and foundation dollars.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Sources: University of Cincinnati, Ohio Board of Regents

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