Ewasek Selected for Woodrow Wilson Fellowship
Andrea Ewasek of Livonia is one of 92 selected for the inaugural class of W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship recipients. Ewasek, who graduated from Northern Michigan University in April, receives a $30,000 stipend to complete an intensive master's education program at Wayne State University.
The fellows represent promising educators with strong backgrounds in science, technology and engineering and mathematics. Each recipient makes a commitment to teach for at least three years in a high-need urban or rural school in Michigan.
A biology major at NMU, Ewasek obtained extensive laboratory and field experience, and presented at several conferences. “I’m particularly interested in genetics and science at the cellular level,” she said. “After I complete my master’s, I will be teaching biology to high school students in Detroit.”
The fellowship selection was based on academic achievement, community service, leadership and teaching skills. At Northern, Ewasek was a member of the NMU Honors Program and Superior Edge. She also volunteered at a domestic violence shelter and was a Girl Scout Brownies leader.
“The competition for these fellowships is extremely high, but Andrea is a very creative thinker,” said Judy Puncochar (Education), faculty adviser to Ewasek's NMU Campus Girl Scout student group. “I was told the evaluators of her lesson said that she gave the best lesson they had ever observed.”
During the lesson portion of the competition, Ewasek chose to teach the concept of what causes the season in the Northern Hemisphere, having the audience sketch their ideas, discuss and demonstrate the changing seasons with body movements and Styrofoam balls. She had them sketch what the equator looks like from the sun’s perspective during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer and winter.
“Going into the interview process, I thought I had a good lesson and hoped it was enough to give me an edge to win one of the fellowships,” said Ewasek, who also had to write an essay and complete an interview as part of the competition. “I’ll miss being at NMU – I love Northern and living in Marquette – but I’m thrilled to be given this opportunity. I’ve always wanted to get a master’s degree.”
The 2011 competition had about 1,500 applicants.
“These fellows are amazing. They all bring real science and math expertise to the kids who most need strong teachers,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. “They learn to teach in real classrooms from the very beginning, just as doctors learn in hospitals. They’re prepared to succeed in teaching as a long-term career. They’re going to change the face of teaching, and they’re going to change tens of thousands of lives.”