Topic: Teachers College

May 5, 2010

In fall 2011, 20 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows from Ball State will help fill the need for more math and science teachers in Indiana classrooms.

The fellows include recent college graduates who majored in science, technology, engineering or math (called the STEM fields) and professionals changing from careers such as engineering, banking, developing computer games and nursing.

The 2010 fellows will begin their year-long master's work this summer, and each will receive a $30,000 stipend. Fellows then make a commitment to teach for at least three years in a high-need Indiana urban or rural school that has committed, along with the partner university, to provide ongoing professional support and opportunities for continued study.

William Kassis of Terre Haute, Ind., is coming to Ball State after more than 15 years in banking. A former accounting supervisor, he earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Indiana State University in 1996, and plans to bring practical applications from the corporate world to math course work.

"I hope to make positive impressions on growing minds," he said.

Kassis is among 80 future Indiana teachers announced May 5 by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Nearly a quarter of the fellows have advanced degrees, and nearly half are changing careers after having been out of college for five years or more. Approximately 16 percent are minorities.

Ball State is one of four universities in Indiana to pilot the program. Provost Terry King said the university's participation in the initiative is another indication of its leadership and innovation.

"Ball State was founded as a teachers academy, so our campus always has been a place where the training of educators has been important," he noted. "Throughout its history, the university consistently has explored new methods for training teachers and school leaders such as establishing the only Indiana laboratory school and providing Ball State students with interdisciplinary immersive learning experiences that have them solving real-world problems."

The fellows initiative is funded by a Lilly Endowment grant of more than $10.1 million. The state is providing an additional $3 million to extend the program.

"Indiana's students are not learning nearly enough math and science to succeed in this world," said Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. "They need to be taught by people with true mastery of the subject matter, and in the Woodrow Wilson Fellows, our kids will have America's most knowledgeable math and science teachers sped to the classrooms that need them most."

The Woodrow Wilson Foundation chose Indiana in December 2007 as the first site for its new national fellowship for high school teachers. The program is intended to help overhaul teacher education and encourage exceptionally able candidates to seek long-term careers teaching the STEM fields in high-need classrooms.

"We are proud that this program continues to attract outstanding new teacher candidates to work with Indiana's students," said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. "Last year's fellows are already demonstrating extraordinary skill in the classroom. These new teachers will change thousands of lives — and the Indiana schools that are working with them are changing the face of teacher preparation."

Sara B. Cobb, Lilly Endowment vice president for education, added, "Lilly Endowment is pleased that the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation selected Indiana as the first site of this promising new approach to encourage talented individuals to become teachers. Early indications are that this program is producing teachers who are enthusiastic and creative — and who have expertise in their STEM disciplines. Indiana students in high-need urban and rural schools will be the beneficiaries of this knowledge."

Here are Ball State's 2010 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows:

Shannon Anderson
Muncie, Ind.
Undergraduate college, class and major: Ball State, '08, biology, minor in chemistry
Biologist with internship experiences with marine mammals at Dolphin Quest Oahu and the Indianapolis Zoo; has worked with Girl Scouts and the 4-H program; maintains affiliations with the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA), American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK), and as a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) open-water diver.

Kristen Bildhauser
Michigan City, Ind.

Saint Mary's College, '09, mathematics, minor in music
Dean's list student, awarded the Presidential Scholarship for Academic Excellence and the Milko Jeglic Award for Achievement in Mathematics; also participated in the Valparaiso Experience for Research by Undergraduates in Mathematics (VERUM); co-authoring a paper published in Involve: A Journal of Mathematics.

Danielle Dabler
Muncie, Ind.

Ball State, '10, physics and creative writing, minor in astronomy
Honors College Scholar and supplemental instruction leader at Ball State University; research assistant for the Indiana Space Grant Consortium; community assistant/tutor in astronomy, Latin, and sociology; enjoys freelance writing and serves as prose editor for Ball State's literary magazine The Broken Plate.

Kaleigh Felisberto
Delaware, Ohio
Ohio Wesleyan University, '10 (expected) chemistry, minors in history and Spanish
Dean's list student; teaching assistant in chemistry for the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences; recipient of the President's Environmental Youth Award; historian for a campus Women in Science group; role model, friend, and leader for high school students through Young Life.

Cynthia Hairston

Purdue University, '94, industrial engineering
Mathematics instructor at Ivy Tech Community College; previous experience as a program coordinator and industrial program manager for the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs and Indiana Department of Commerce, Energy Policy Division, respectively; formerly personnel actions specialist in the Army Reserves; maintains involvement with technology associations and councils.

Phillip Heilers
Ferdinand, Ind.

Ball State, '06, chemistry, minor in biology
Substitute teacher with experience as a Ball State teaching assistant and supplemental chemistry instructor; participated in research projects through the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, National Science Foundation, and Ball State's Department of Chemistry; active in campus math and science organizations; Eagle Scout.

Jessica Hoffman
Guilford, Ind.
Purdue University, '09, wildlife
Dendrology teaching assistant for the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, previously serving as a mentor, student council member, and ambassador for the same; currently a Wildlife Society member and vice president of the Recreational Fishing Club.

William Kassis
Terre Haute, Ind.
Indiana State University, '96, mathematics
Former accounting supervisor with more than 15 years' experience in the banking industry; "I hope to make positive impressions on growing minds" by bringing practical applications from the corporate world to math course work.

Jessica Lade
Muncie, Ind.

Manchester College, '09, biology
Formerly involved in the Cadet Teaching program, with a love of biology and the sciences; aims to "make learning a fun experience" for high-need students and to have an impact on their lives; leadership roles in residence halls; work with the Boy Scouts of America.

Sheryl Makowski
Bluffton, Ind.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, '79, nursing
More than 20 years' experience in nursing; substitute teacher and Operation Wellness instructor for a YMCA summer children's camp; program director for a middle school fitness walking program biweekly throughout the year; Girl Scout leader and active PTO member.

Sean O'Sullivan
Maumee, Ohio

Trine University, '09, computer engineering, minor in mathematics
Game developer and tester for Artix Entertainment; honored as a People to People Student Ambassador; Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.

Rhoda Owolabi

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, '10, biology
Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholar; participant in the national conferences of Undergraduate Research and Midwest Crossroads Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP); active with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, Project Open Hand (Atlanta), and the H2H Study Abroad Program in the Dominican Republic.

Maureen Pappas
Westfield, Ind.

Purdue University, '04, radiological health sciences, minor in biological sciences
Veterinarian's assistant; former health physicist intern at the Indiana University Medical Center; former tutor in chemistry, geometry and algebra; active in college science and engineering organizations; 4-H volunteer.

Stephen Pugsley
Alexandria, Ind.

Purdue University, '81, chemical engineering
Engineer of more than 20 years; substitute teacher and assistant coach for Academic Skill Bowl; involved in various community bands, Purdue alumni organizations, and the Nature Conservancy

Cean Rench
Hartford City, Ind.
Northeastern Illinois University, '06, applied mathematics, minor in economics
Substitute teacher with work experience in social positions ranging from a human resources consulting firm to a mental health care facility; formerly a competitive athlete and captain of his tennis team.

Ashley Schinker
Muncie, Ind.

Ball State, '10, chemistry
Dean's list student; research experience through Ball State's Chemistry Research Immersion Summer Program; active with the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society and Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education; volunteer, Great Achievers After School Program.

Robert Schretzman
Oak Park, Ill.

Dominican University, '10, chemistry
Member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the American Chemical Society; president of the Dominican University Chemical Society; former presenter and planning assistant for the UNITE Science and Math Program; volunteer tutor and mentor for Chicago Hopes, serving disadvantaged K-5 students.

Consuelo Snow
Fort Wayne, Ind.

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, '95, biology
Graduate college and degree: Colorado State University, PhD in genetics and molecular biology
Adjunct instructor for microbiology, anatomy and physiology at Brown Mackie College; postdoctoral fellow at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne; substitute teacher for science and Spanish in the Fort Wayne Community Schools.

Scott Whitsitt
Fishers, Ind.

Bradley University, '87, electrical engineering
Graduate college and degree: DePaul University, MBA with concentration in strategic management
Owner of TLA Resources, a consultancy in technology and market planning; experience in engineering, focusing on industrial field work, sales, and marketing, as well as in business, and technology management; volunteer for youth programs and homeless shelters through faith-based organizations, and with Indy Reads as a reading coach for adult students; vocalist and voice actor.

Jennifer Wielbruda
Fishers, Ind.

University of Tennessee-Knoxville, '96, chemical engineering
Former engineer specializing in processing, sales, and accounts management; recent experience as a human resources specialist, cycling instructor, and preschool activity leader for the YMCA.

By Kim Rendfeld