Gov. Snyder announces Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Fellows

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
Photo of a WMU sign.

Eleven of the 43 teaching fellows will attend WMU.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—During a June 11 ceremony in Lansing, Gov. Rick Snyder introduced this year's W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellows, including 11 who will attend Western Michigan University to become master science teachers in Michigan high-need secondary schools.

A total of 43 outstanding teacher candidates were named at the event. They include a longtime engineer who mentors new mothers, a physicist who has worked with superconductors at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a scientist studying environmental toxins in low-income communities, and many others. The WMU-bound fellows include an aerospace engineer, a microbiologist, a specialist in equine veterinary medicine, an entomologist and an interpretive naturalist as well as several recent college graduates.

Recognizing outstanding graduates in STEM fields

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship recruits accomplished career changers and outstanding recent college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—the STEM fields. The 2014 fellows are the fourth class of new teacher candidates to be prepared through the program since the fellowship was launched in Michigan in 2010.

"Michigan needs to develop talent for in-demand jobs so our students are best prepared for long and productive careers," Gov. Rick Snyder said. "The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation should be commended for working to train people, many with experience in the STEM fields, to work in our urban schools, where they will share their knowledge as well as become an inspiration to young students."

About the fellowship

Each fellow will receive a $30,000 stipend while completing an intensive master's-level teacher education program at a participating Michigan university. In addition to WMU, the other universities involved are Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. These institutions have committed and continue to commit to provide fellows a full year of experience in local classrooms, as well as specific teaching approaches for the STEM fields—a clinically intensive model still rare in university-based teacher preparation.

Michigan school districts in which the fellows undertake clinical practice include Ann Arbor, Bangor, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Comstock, Detroit, Godwin Heights, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Ypsilanti. These districts partner with the participating universities to offer fellows practical experience.

Since the program's inception in 2010, 239 fellows have been named in Michigan. After their preparation, fellows commit to teach for at least three years in a high-need Michigan school, with ongoing support and mentoring. The fellows to date will have a projected eventual impact on the lives of more than 20,000 students each year.

"We take tremendous pride in these fellows," said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which administers the program. "They are accomplished people, they are passionate about the STEM fields, and they are deeply committed to young people. They will change countless lives, and the campuses and districts they are working with are changing the way teachers are prepared."

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship was launched in Michigan with $18 million in support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Other participating states include Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey and Georgia. In each state, gubernatorial leadership and statewide coalition-building have been key to the creation of the program, as has a blend of private and public support. Several additional states are in discussion with the Woodrow Wilson Foundation about creating their own programs, said Levine.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

W.K. Kellogg Foundation logo.

The foundation focuses its efforts in areas where children face significant barriers to success.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, the foundation works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans. Internationally, they are in Mexico and Haiti.

To learn more about the foundation, visit

About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation of Princeton, New Jersey identifies and develops leaders to meet the nation's most critical challenges. In 1945, the foundation was created to meet the challenge of preparing a new generation of college professors. Today Woodrow Wilson offers a suite of fellowships to address national needs, including the education of teachers and school leaders.

To learn more, visit

W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellows bound for WMU

Brittany Adams of Kalamazoo

Western Michigan University '13, biomedical sciences

  • University-level teaching assistant, biology/human physiology.
  • Recipient of summer research award including middle-school science teaching internship.
  • Mentor, Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow.
  • NCAA Division I Gymnast.

Irene Burch-Travis of Detroit

Western Michigan University '13, biochemistry

  • Tutor, math and science.
  • Assistant child care provider, daycare.
  • Teaching assistant, Western Michigan Biology Department.
  • Laboratory technician, ensuring product quality.
  • Vice president, organization for foster youth in higher education.
  • Co-facilitator, First Year Seminar at Western Michigan University.

Julianne Fischer of Wyoming

Michigan State University '08, animal science; University of Kentucky '14, M.S., veterinary science

  • Adjunct college faculty, equine health care.
  • Graduate research assistant.
  • Conference assistant, International Conference on Equine Infectious Diseases IX.
  • Assistant editor, journal on equine science.
  • Adjunct instructor, equine and sport studies.

Raven Fisher of Detroit

Kalamazoo College '14, mathematics

  • Math tutor abroad in Ecuador.
  • Civic engagement scholar, hiring tutors to assist low-income students.
  • Literacy tutor, elementary level. 
  • Counselor, math camp for seventh and eighth grade. 
  • Chapter president, Black Student Organization.
  • Recipient of Women’s Council Scholarships, awarded for outstanding achievements.

Daniel Houvener of Marquette

Northern Michigan University '13, biology

  • Research assistant, biology department.
  • Field research assistant, mammal research expedition in Canada.
  • Biology lab assistant, community college.
  • Member of nature club, environmental science group, and birders group.

Daniel Keto of Kalamazoo

Michigan State University '91, biological sciences

  • Interpretive naturalist and director of camp programs in Michigan nature center, 18+ years.
  • Nature center liaison, creating educational materials for grade school science programs.
  • 2011 Master Front-Line Interpreter Award recipient.

Ezra Piller of Kalamazoo

Western Michigan University '08, biology; Western Michigan University '12, M.S., biology

  • Substitute teacher.
  • Ecology graduate assistant.
  • Field research technician in entomology at the University of Notre Dame, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • WMU Biology Club president.
  • Study abroad student, tropical biology in Belize.

Bailey Steely of Richland

Western Michigan University '13, biomedical sciences

  • In-home caregiver, specials needs children.
  • Volunteer, animal shelter.
  • Member, area running club.
  • Church musician/band member.
  • Volunteer, Sunday school education.

Alexander Stephens of Portage

Western Michigan University '13, chemistry and psychology

  • University research assistant, chemistry laboratory.
  • University teaching assistant, psychology and chemistry.
  • Teacher and mentor, campus rape prevention and education organization.

Mallory Westmoreland of Portage

Western Michigan University '08, mechanical engineering

  • Aerospace project engineer in private industry, 5+ years.
  • Chapter president, engineering honor society.
  • Head coach, area running club for girls.
  • Elementary-level coach, creative problem-solving competition.
  • Volunteer, Special Olympics softball.
  • Participant in nanotechnology research program in Brazil.

Katelynn Woodhams of South Haven

Coe College ’06, biology; University of Wisconsin '13, Ph.D., microbiology

  • Adjunct instructor, general biology and microbiology lab.
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow.
  • Teaching assistant.
  • Tutor, 7+ years, university, high school, and elementary level.
  • Postdoctoral researcher.
  • Published author, numerous peer-reviewed publications and abstracts.