‘Fellows’ make career change to teaching math and science

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The rising unemployment rate is prompting scores of job seekers to contemplate a career change. But following through often is easier said than done.

Not so for many winners of a new scholarship to promote teaching math and science in "high-need" schools. The 59 recipients of the first round of Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships were announced May 8 at a press conference at Gov. Mitch Daniels’ office.

Of those, 85 percent are switching professions. They include former industrial engineers, a former pharmaceutical saleswoman, a former government wildlife specialist and a scientist from the Indiana University School of Medicine. The fellows will receive $30,000 to attend a one-year teacher training program at IUPUI, the University of Indianapolis or Purdue University.

They then must teach in an urban or rural public school for three years. Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, in New Jersey, started the program in Indiana using a $10 million grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. The goal is to address a shortage of science and math teachers and improve the quality of instruction in those areas.

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