Winthrop University 'O5, biology and chemistry; Western Michigan University '12, biology
Justin's love for teaching has come through experience. After teaching introductory biology and ecology courses for five years as a graduate teaching assistant, Justin volunteered as an adult tutor at a nonprofit center. The center is in Benton Harbor, Mich., and assists low-income adult students wishing to pursue their GED. Whenever Justin helps a student grasp a difficult scientific concept, he feels a sense of satisfaction—and he plans to make teaching his lifelong career.
Michigan State University '13, human biology
As an undergraduate student, Amber worked as a research assistant at Michigan State University's Center for Community and Economic Development. She also worked as an educational assistant for an introductory biology lab at MSU and that allowed her to interact with diverse groups of students. Amber believes the student population found in many low-income schools deserves to have the same highly skilled, knowledgeable educators that are found in suburban schools. She desires to become a highly qualified instructor that aids in leveling the playing field of education—with a goal of providing students with the interest, knowledge and skills they need to further their education.
Michigan State University '07, parks, recreation and tourism resources
East Lansing, MI
After completing his degree at MSU, James worked at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing as an admission supervisor, and then went on to serve at the City of Marshall Recreation Department as a recreation coordinator, where he planned sports and afterschool programs. He returned to become certified to teach high school and middle school science. James wanted to be a teacher because he values education, and hopes to transfer his love for science to his students.
Emory University '12, biology and physics
Prior to becoming a physics teaching assistant, Anqi realized she wasn't 100 percent prepared to tutor students who were in need of help. After coursework in education studies, she learned there are many disconnects between research on student cognition and how students are taught in public schools. Her goal is to bring quality biology and physics teaching to public school classrooms.
Michigan State University '11, chemistry
East Lansing, MI
During her senior year at MSU, Erin worked at the Math Learning Center (MLC), which provides tutoring services to students in low-level courses. Upon graduating, she began working in the MSU's math department as an associate coordinator at MLC. At the end of the academic year, she received outstanding student evaluations. These experiences caused Erin to return to her true passion—tutoring—and helped her realize that she is ready for the challenge of her own classroom.
Michigan State University '13, philosophy and mathematics
Sterling Heights, MI
Christopher's passion for mathematics education was fueled by his four semesters as a teaching assistant for College Algebra and Trigonometry and his experience working on advanced mathematics with gifted fourth graders through the Honors Times Two mentoring program. As a mathematics teacher, he looks forward to leading students in an exploration of abstract structure and its applications to the concrete world of planets and bank accounts. Through the Fellowship, he hopes to better understand the complexities of the educational institution as a social interface between students, teachers, parents, administrators and the surrounding community.
Calvin College '10, biology with biochemistry minor
Tim had planned to major in music education when he arrived at Calvin College, but after working camp jobs and taking an inspiring botany class, he found himself enthralled by the Earth. His volunteer work includes being a student leader for two years with Lansing Eastern High School Campus Life, in which he worked with inner-city students on developing life skills. Tim's path led him most recently to the School of Urban and Wilderness Survival of the Carolinas, where he worked with students on the autism spectrum, planning and carrying out therapeutic outcomes. He also taught biology and English, and plans to use the Fellowship to prepare to teach in high-needs environments.
Saint Mary's College '13, chemistry and math
Grand Rapids, MI
Erin's interest in science was sparked at a young age, when she participated on middle and high school Science Olympiad teams. At Saint Mary's, though her passion was chemistry, she also developed an interest in teaching after working as a tutor and a teacher's assistant in chemistry labs. Also in college, she conducted research in catalysis at the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary's sister school. Erin is excited to combine her love of chemistry and teaching, and she is looking forward to getting students involved in science extracurricular activities—with the hope that more young students will pursue studies in STEM fields.
University of Illinois '10, forestry; Michigan State University '12, forestry
Eric grew up in the City of Chicago on the far southeast side and attended Walter Payton College Prep, where he met many people of diverse backgrounds. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Eric moved on to a master's degree in forestry at MSU. Prior to entering the fellowship, he worked as a forestry technician for various professors at MSU. Eric's parents were both public school teachers in the Chicago and taught him the importance of a good education. It is for this reason that he wishes to provide all individuals with an education that will help them build a strong future for themselves.
University of Michigan '12, economics and philosophy
Jon graduated with an interest in public policy or economics but was reluctant to immediately continue on to graduate school. After working at a community development organization, Jon ended up substitute teaching for a brief period of time. Teaching was a struggle but the moments of success that Jon had with students made him want to pursue education as a career. As a math teacher, Jon hopes to make math approachable and to inspire mathematical curiosity in students.
Ohio State University '13, mathematics and German
A Dean's List student, Zach has served as a youth swim team coach and swimming instructor for special needs children. He has also coached a competitive lifeguard team. For three years, he was a resident advisor for college freshmen. Zach is a marathon runner and assistant vice president of the Ohio State University marathon club.
Xavier University '09, biology, minor in environmental studies
Abigail has promoted and performed stewardship via various internships in the environmental field. It took three years, 125,000 miles on her Subaru Baja and jobs in seven states to realize what she truly values: empowering children. By working as an environmental educator, she had the opportunity to guide and inspire students in sustainability, teamwork and self-confidence. While she only worked with each group of students for a limited time, she found it rewarding to facilitate and observe positive changes in behavior. As a science educator, it is her goal to inspire and challenge students to be aware of and informed about the world around them and provide them with the confidence to apply their knowledge in their day-to-day actions.
Kalamazoo College '11, chemistry/biochemistry
The collaborative nature between professors and students at Kalamazoo College was what inspired Amy to pursue a career in education. While a student there, she also worked as a teaching assistant in several chemistry courses, directed a student dance company and served as an undergraduate researcher investigating early detection of breast cancer. Since graduating, Amy has traveled to the Philippines for a surgical mission and has been working as a math tutor. She hopes to establish a reputation as a teacher who works with her students in a two-way learning environment and is an active member of her school and its surrounding community.
Western Michigan University '10, biochemistry; Michigan State University '12, organic chemistry
Birch Run, MI
Ben found his roots in education as a supplemental instructor for organic chemistry. To him, the understanding of science gives a person a much more wonderful outlook on life and the world we live in. It's not enough to simply accept nature for all its wonder and glory, but necessary to know all of its workings. He loves to share this outlook with his students, and wants to show them the value of a career in science. He believes everyone deserves the highest quality of education and is firmly committed to providing that for his students. Ben also is an avid guitar player and a composer of music.
Brigham Young University '99, molecular biology, Vanderbilt University, Ph.D. '08, cell biology
As an undergraduate, Clinton was a Cancer Research Fellow and a Research Scholar at Argonne National Laboratory where he worked on an anti-biological warfare project. As a Ph.D. student, his dissertation focused on how organelle transport is spatially and temporarily regulated during cell division. He later studied autophagy (the process by which the cell's machinery is recycled) in zebrafish as a post-doc at University of Michigan. His interest in education grew while teaching undergraduate biology at U-M and he soon decided he wanted to share his knowledge with high school students. He believes deeply in active learning and in the power of rapid and repeated assessment to improve retention and learning. Clinton plans to teach biology and chemistry. Outside the classroom, he enjoys gardening, camping and spelunking.
Morehouse College '99, physics; Clark Atlanta University '02, physics
Arima, Trinidad & Tobago
After completing his master's, Damian enrolled in a doctoral program in Applied Physics at the University of Michigan, but later left to work as a research engineer and programmer working on optical inspection and measurement systems. While at U-M, he worked as a graduate student instructor for the chemistry department, leading discussion sections and mentoring other GSIs. It was during this time that his interest in teaching truly blossomed, though plans to pursue teaching were delayed to better match the plans of his wife, who is studying medicine at Michigan State University. Damian is especially interested in using current technology in the classroom to inspire and motivate students to pursue careers in science and technology, for they will be the innovators of tomorrow.
Michigan State University '10, chemistry
Instructor and former teaching assistant, college chemistry; coordinator, academic coaching program; campus chemistry tutor; scholarship recipient; youth mentor; chapter president/service award winner, National Organization for the Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers; graduate of Detroit public schools.
Albion College '10, biology, minor in chemistry
Grand Rapids, MI
In college, Kelyn studied susceptibility of green frogs to bacteria and performed demographical analyses of tanaids living within the intertidal mudflats of Suriname, South America. Upon graduation, she was an intern at the Florida Museum of Natural History where she collected data about sawfish and bull sharks. Her passion for teaching was ignited when she became an instructor at the Newfound Harbor Marine Institute in the Florida Keys, teaching school groups about marine biology and conservation. Now Kelyn wants to inspire students to discover the wonders of science and the amazing opportunities that can become available to them. After the Fellowship, she plans not only to be an effective and motivational educator, but to establish links between the scientific community and her students.
Western State College '07, biology; Michigan State University, Ph.D. '12, plant biology
Matt has always had an interest in education and teaching. Since earning his BA in biology, he has spent the last five years at MSU pursuing a doctorate in plant molecular biology, studying plant defenses against pathogenic bacteria. In addition to his academic studies, he has been coaching youth football in East Lansing for four years. The day-to-day interactions with his team have shown Matt that he can make a much bigger difference in the world and the community by teaching kids than by continuing with basic plant research. Matt is excited to bring his concrete knowledge of biology and his strong motivation to teach to educate tomorrow's innovators.
Michigan State University '11, zoology
Sterling Heights, MI
Rachael discovered her interest in teaching while working as an undergraduate research assistant for MSU Professor Diane Ebert-May, whose work focuses on teaching and learning in undergraduate biology. Rachael also worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant, tutoring students, managing grades and helping in the classroom. After graduation, she became more involved in the Ebert-May lab as a full-time research assistant on the NSF-funded grant, Faculty Institutes for Reforming Science Teaching (FIRST IV). FIRST IV mentors postdocs in teaching undergraduate courses, helping them reform their classrooms and teaching practice to be more learner-centered. Rachael collects and analyzes incoming data from the project and assesses the effectiveness of the program. She is very excited to apply her accumulated knowledge and understanding of teaching practice to the K-12 classroom, and to help prepare students for college and the real world.
Michigan State University '10, human biology
After graduating from Michigan State's Lyman Briggs College, Reed accepted a position in MSU's College of Education working on a research project, the College Ambition Program, that supports high school students' pathway to postsecondary education in the STEM fields. The project focuses mainly on tutoring and mentoring, which sparked Reed's interest in becoming a certified teacher and reaching more students interested in science. He understands the challenges of students pursuing an education in science and wants to contribute interesting and engaging ways of teaching biology to future scientists. He also understands the increasing importance of attending postsecondary institutions and believes he can help students find their pathway to college.
Michigan State University '06, animal science, M.S. '11, comparative medicine and integrative biology
Rochell began college with aspirations of exploring veterinary medicine and scientific animal research. Growing up in the pharmaceutical community of Piscataway, NJ, she was always intrigued by the field of medical research. Throughout her studies in science, she began tutoring prospective medical school students and noticed how well she could explain complex scientific methods and theories. Teaching others is where she found her calling. With jobs in research studies and veterinary occupations, Rochell maintains the balance of raising two children. She is committed to promoting and developing creativity in the minds of at-risk and minority students. Her hopes are to encourage the growth and awareness of self identity by providing the knowledge and insight that allows young students to succeed in the field of science.
University of Arizona '79, management information systems; University of Maryland '09, chemical and life science (M.C.L.F.S.)
Whitmore Lake, MI
Ann is a certified Waldorf high school biology teacher, a certified Montessori elementary and early childhood teacher, and a licensed massage therapist. She has taught in Waldorf and Montessori schools, served as a school librarian, worked in a physical therapy clinic, developed computer-based business systems for corporations and owned her own businesses. Growing up in a military family introduced Ann to the inequality of education in our country. She experienced the disparity in academic rigor determined by the relative wealth or poverty of communities surrounding the schools she attended. Providing her own adolescent daughters with an excellent education has galvanized her commitment to removing financial barriers to high-quality learning. Teaching biology to adolescents in Michigan urban schools will be her contribution.
Grand Valley State University '10, mathematics and biomedical sciences
Grand Rapids, MI
Ben intended to pursue a career in medicine but postponed those plans thinking he might enjoy graduate school in the hard sciences. He accepted a position doing research in a biochemistry lab, studying cell signaling and cell regulation, the summer before his last semester of college. Meanwhile, he married his wife, who was pursuing a master’s in education. Since then the documentary Waiting for Superman and other sources of information about education “dealt a swift kick of reality” that has inspired him to think about a different career path. Ben has a passion for Christian service and Africa, where he hopes to teach among other places in the world. He knows he loves learning and wants to share the same love with students of the next generation.
Michigan State University '11 physics, minor in mathematics
Physics teaching assistant; tutor in high school geometry, algebra, trigonometry, physics; Honors College student, University Distinguished Scholarship recipient, five semesters on dean’s list; member, leadership team, Spartan Christian Fellowship.
University of Florida '06, animal sciences
Originally from Bogota, Columbia; former temporary teacher of high school biology and earth/space science; volunteer teacher’s aide; college math and physics tutor; former manager/supervisor in industry and sales, fluent in Spanish.
Michigan State University '08, forestry
Greg worked as an assistant in the MSU Forest Biogeochemistry Lab, traveling to different forests in Michigan with researchers. After graduation, he was a procurement forester for a paper corporation. The company’s sustainable forest management practices aligned with his personal beliefs, but his favorite part of the job became educating private land owners about the process. He later worked as a nature camp counselor, blending his love for the outdoors, natural resources and a newfound desire to work in education. Since returning to MSU as a post-BA teacher candidate, Greg has also been involved in educational outreach through MSU Extension and projects in local schools. He looks forward to becoming an engaging and entertaining educator that inspires intrinsic motivation in his students.
Michigan State University '11, human biology, minor in bioethics
Ian was hired as a 'learning assistant' through Lyman Briggs College while at MSU. His sophomore year was spent teaching the chemistry lab and, during his last two years, he led the recitation for the lecture course. It was that job that really hit home and demonstrated his love of teaching. Ian believes today’s students are constantly bombarded with information and can get bored very easily. That’s why his goal as a teacher will be to create a class atmosphere where students can have fun and take a real interest in their learning. He enjoys computer gaming, and is an "avid film geek."
Alma College '07, biology, minor in chemistry
Matt entered college knowing he wanted to become a doctor but after volunteering in hospitals realized medicine wasn’t for him. After graduation, he became a laboratory technologist at Dow Chemical. Although the lab work was engaging and the project was worthwhile, he still felt like something was missing. He joined a bird research team in Texas, served as outdoor education coordinator at a YMCA camp and finally worked on a Maryland DNR program that gets inner city teens into city and state parks. The chance to forge relationships with kids showed Matt that his greatest service can be in the classroom. He knows if he I can help young people better understand the world they live in through science, they will be better equipped to handle challenges of the future.
University at Buffalo '11, chemistry
Battle Creek, MI
Stephen initially developed his love for chemistry as a student at the Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center. Now, the WKKF-WW fellowship program will help him make the leap from chemist to certified teacher in Michigan. An Eagle Scout, Stephen has always had a willingness to help others and it was through that desire that he found his longing to teach. He hopes to be as inspiring to his students as his teachers were to him growing up. Additionally with his interest in music, languages and travel, he would like to be involved in extracurricular activities where he can play an even bigger role in his students' lives.
Michigan State University '09, mathematics
Grand Rapids, MI
William graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and an Actuarial Science specialization. While attending college, he tutored high school students and other college student co-workers. After graduation, he became a certified substitute teacher and went to work in schools with the hope of working on his full teacher certification and eventually obtaining a classroom of his own. In the near future, he looks forward to teaching mathematics to high school students. His goal is to be a lifetime learner and keep passing his knowledge down to high school and maybe college students.