Two newly minted graduates of Lawrence Technological University have won Michigan teaching fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. As teaching fellows, they will receive a $30,000 stipend to complete an intensive master’s degree in education and then teach for at least three years in a high-need school in Michigan.
Michelle Hier and Cari Van Hoorelbeke will both take a specially designed, cutting-edge master’s degree program based on a year-long classroom experience at Wayne State University, which is one of six university partners that work with local school districts where fellows learn to teach in real classrooms from the beginning of their master’s work, just as physicians learn in teaching hospitals.
Van Hoorelbeke is a 2013 LTU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology. She was a University Scholar, a Dean’s List student, a member of the Lambda Iota Tau honor society, and a volunteer camp counselor at Camp Discovery for children with epilepsy.
Hier earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. She was also a camp counselor for children with epilepsy, a swimming teacher/lifeguard at the YMCA, and an administrative assistant for residential housing at LTU.
The fellowship program is designed to provide the level of instruction that students need to contribute and thrive in Michigan’s rapidly changing economy and workforce. Numerous studies have demonstrated that students in high-need schools are significantly less likely to have access to teachers with strong backgrounds in the so-called STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math.
“The research is clear – the most important factor affecting the quality of a student’s education is the quality of the classroom teacher. Beyond that, effective educators can make a powerful and lasting impact on students in ways that can’t be measured by test scores and report cards,” said Sterling Speirn, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation.
The 2013 class is the third group of fellows named in Michigan for this program that was launched by the Battle Creek-based Kellogg Foundation in 2009 with $18 million in support. It is administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, NJ.
“Michigan’s economic future will be driven by the STEM fields,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. “Getting strong math and science teachers into Michigan’s high-need schools means both creating opportunities for the young people who most need them and building the state’s workforce. There’s no greater need in Michigan education today, and we think these fellows will do a tremendous job in helping to meet that need. They are amazing people, and they will change tens of thousands of lives.”