Three alumni among Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows

June 11, 2010

Three Indiana State University alumni have been selected as Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows for 2010: Bridgette Drake, Doreen Jones and William Kassis, all of Terre Haute.

Each of the Fellows will receive a $30,000 stipend and enroll in a master's degree program that provides intensive clinical preparation for teaching math and science in the urban and rural high schools that most need strong teachers. Upon completion of their degrees, they will teach for three years in high-need Indiana schools. These schools have committed to provide continued professional support and opportunities for ongoing study.

"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."

Drake, a 2009 graduate of Indiana State with a degree in life sciences, will attend Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She participated in research at the Indiana University Molecular Structure Center. She is also the recipient of the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leader Award a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

Jones, a 1986 graduate with a bachelor's degree in life sciences, will attend the University of Indianapolis. She also holds a master's degree in life sciences from Indiana State. She is a registered nurse with experience in research and laboratory settings. At Indiana State, she served as a supplemental instructor and tutor. She was also the student coordinator for Twenty-First Century Scholars, providing counseling, mentoring and community support to students in grades 7-12.

Kassis, a 1996 graduate with a degree in mathematics, will attend Ball State University. He is a former accounting supervisor with more than 15 years of experience in the banking industry. By being a Fellow, he hopes to bring practical applications from the corporate world to math coursework.

They will begin their master's work this summer, enabling them to teach in their own classrooms in fall 2011.

Drake, Jones and Kassis were among 80 recipients chosen from a pool of 505 applicants from around Indiana, as well as former Hoosiers and residents of neighboring states. A group of Indiana-based selectors screened all finalists by reviewing applications and writing samples, observing sample teaching and conducting personal interviews.

In December 2007, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation selected Indiana 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 teacher candidates to seek long-term careers teaching science, technology and math in high-need classrooms.

"Indiana's students are not learning nearly enough math and science to succeed in this work," said Gov. Mitch Daniels. "They need to be taught by people with true mastery of the subject matter."

The goals of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship initiative include transforming teacher education, placing strong teachers into high-need schools, attracting the very best candidates to teaching and cutting teacher attrition and retaining top teachers.

The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment provided a grant of more than $10.1 million to support the program, and the state has provided $3 million in funds to extend the program.

The next round of applications for the Fellowship opens in June 2010.


Contact: Beverly Sanford, vice president for communications, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, 609-945-7885 or sanford@woodrow.org

Writer: Lana Schrock, media relations assistant, Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or lschrock1@indstate.edu