Twelve Woodrow Wilson fellows to enter STEM teaching pipeline at Kennesaw State

KENNESAW, Ga. | Jun 30, 2017

Gov. Nathan Deal announces third cohort preparing to ease critical need

Woodrow Wilson fellows
A new cohort of Woodrow Wilson fellows at Kennesaw State

Twelve recent grads or career changers among the 63 newest Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows will pursue graduate degrees at Kennesaw State University, where they will prepare to teach STEM subjects at Georgia schools. Gov. Nathan Deal announced the new class of fellows June 29 at the State Capitol.

The 2017 cohort of aspiring teachers will join 159 previous recipients of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship who are now teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes in the state’s high-needs secondary schools.

“The Woodrow Wilson Fellowship is about putting well-trained, committed educators in not only the fields of highest demand in our technology-driven age, but in the schools of highest need here in Georgia,” Deal said. “STEM education plays a critical role in our state’s competitiveness and future economic prosperity, and the most important thing we can do for our students in this field is ensure they have effective teachers. This opportunity for teachers is leading to a brighter future for students as they prepare for the 21st century workforce.”

For the academic 2017-2018 academic year, the fellowship program is hosted at Columbus State University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Mercer University and Piedmont College. It is designed to prepare top-quality educators for many of Georgia’s most underserved public schools. 

The fellows starting at Kennesaw State this fall are:

  • Darby Bagwell, Grayson, Ga., a 2017 Georgia College grad in mathematics;
  • Mars Berwanger, Houston, Texas, ’16, Georgia Institute of Technology, electrical engineering;
  • Carol Bowe, Hyde Park, Mass., ’17, Bryn Mawr College, physics;
  • Sara Brumbaugh, Kenova, W. Va., ’17, Marshall University, applied mathematics and education;
  • Jennifer Callison-Bliss, Littleton, Colo.,’16, Montana State University, biology;
  • Luke Green, Calhoun, Ga.,’17, Shorter University, ecology and field biology;
  • Rena Ingram, Augusta, Ga., ’14, Fort Valley State University, chemistry;
  • Nidhi Loomba, Kennesaw, Ga., ’97, Georgia State University, biology, and M.S. ’99, organic chemistry;
  • Diane Overton, Smyrna, Ga., ’94, University of Notre Dame, mathematics;
  • Katherine Thornton, Suwanee, Ga., ’14, University of North Georgia, biology;
  • Starrissa Winters, Atlanta, Ga., ’09, Spelman College, biology and biochemistry; and
  • Jessica Wise, Marietta, Ga., ’05, Kennesaw State University, English, and M.A., ’09, University of West Georgia, English.

Each fellow receives $30,000 to complete a master’s degree program based on graduate coursework and a yearlong classroom experience. In return, fellows commit to teach for three years in the urban and rural Georgia schools with the most need for strong STEM teachers. The program provides ongoing support and mentoring throughout the three-year commitment.  At Kennesaw State, the fellows’ academic program is coordinated by the Bagwell College of Education and the College of Science and Mathematics.

The fellowship program, administered by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation with in-state coordination by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) and support from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, is part of the University System of Georgia’s initiative to produce 20,000 new teachers by 2020. Current project funding is $13.7 million, with the five university partners each receiving $400,000 in matching grants to develop their teacher preparation programs based on standards set by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. The participating Georgia colleges and universities have each enrolled approximately 12 fellows annually over the three-year period. 

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit