Program promotes rural STEM learning

From left, Dr. Jeff Connor, Ohio University associate professor of Mathematics and Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program director; Todd Bean, Ohio University Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow; Anthony Bokar, Ohio University Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow; Dr. Ralph Martin, Ohio University professor and WWTF program director; Arthur Levine, WWTF president (PROVIDED)

Ohio University will host 13 teaching candidates during the upcoming academic year to complete a fellowship that has produced several Pulitzer Prize and Fields Medal winners.

OU is joining six other Ohio schools to participate in the Woodrow Wilson Ohio Teaching Fellowships to bring accomplished career changers and outstanding recent college graduates in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine to the area.

OU was asked to join the fellowship after being approached about the success of its STEM program, which aligns with the Wilson program’s philosophy, said Mark Brunton, Communications and Design Manager for the Patton College of Education.

 The STEM program offers training in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Brunton said.

“Really what it’s all about is creating a higher level of STEM teachers in these rural areas and that’s great,” he said. “Those 13 students coming in already have diverse and professional backgrounds,” he said.

OU offers a unique supplement where each recipient receives full tuition along with a $30,000 stipend from the fellowship.

“What sets us apart is that we will place these students in rural schools while other (schools) place most in an urban environment,” Brunton said.

The $30,000 stipend is used to complete a special intensive master’s program at one of the participating institutions, according to the news release.

The recipients have a minimum three-year commitment to teach in rural Ohio.

“The fellowship is going to have a positive impact on our university and even bigger on the communities,” Brunton said.

Applications for next year’s program will begin in the fall, he added.

 “They are all highly educated professionals that want to teach and are taking their knowledge for a minimum of three years.”

The 13 teacher candidates will be completing their fellowships in The Patton College of Education, The Russ College of Engineering and Technology and

The College of Arts and Sciences.

Ohio launched its Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship in March 2010, joining Indiana and Michigan as host states for the program. Four to five additional states are in discussion with the Woodrow Wilson Foundation about creating their own programs, according to the news release.

af234909@ohiou.edu

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