Organizations like the W.K. Kellogg Foundation are working to enrich the educational experience for public school students in economically depressed urban areas. WKKF’s Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship is one such example of that work. The program has won national attention as a model non-profit partnership between universities and their local communities.
In a recent conversation with Stephen Henderson on Detroit Public Television’s “American Black Journal, ” Detroit-based Alicia Lane, DeAndre Smith and Damon Gatewood explain what motivated them to forgo higher-paying, “easier” teaching positions to become Woodrow Wilson fellows. All three felt a need to give back by inspiring inner-city students to engage with STEM subjects, while Gatewood was specifically influenced by his own positive experience as a student in the WKKF-supported Detroit Are Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP).
The fellowship matches Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education students from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Wayne State University with high-need public schools in Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. For a minimum of three years, fellows will take part in an exemplary, intensive master’s degree program in education, while working in high-needs middle and high schools that are typically hard to staff.