Britons Receive Teaching Fellowships

Albion College graduates Melanie Kapolka, ’11, and Kristen Karczewski, ’09, are among the first 92 recipients of the W.K. Kellogg-Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship.

According to the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, “The three-year fellowship is awarded to promising educators with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Fellows receive $30,000 to pursue a customized master’s degree program that prepares them to teach in high-need urban or rural secondary schools in seven local districts across the state.”

Kapolka, a biology major and chemistry minor at Albion, is pursuing her master’s degree at Western Michigan University. A member of the honorary biology organization Beta Beta Beta, Kapolka was a teaching assistant in the introductory biology lab at Albion as well as a summer camp counselor and swim instructor.

Kapolka, who said she used Albion’s career development office for guidance when considering the path for her life’s work, is excited to be a member of the inaugural class of Woodrow Wilson Fellows in Michigan.

“We get to help shape the program and influence our own learning,” Kapolka said.

Kapolka has already started taking graduate-level classes at WMU. In the fall, she will be in a public school classroom working with a mentor teacher three days a week while still taking classes toward her master’s degree. She will complete her student-teaching placement in the spring of 2012, and then she is guaranteed to interview for positions in Benton Harbor, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo.

Karczewski was a product of Albion’s dual-degree engineering program. A physics major at Albion, she went on to complete her course of study in civil engineering at the University of Michigan. Karczewski will complete the coursework for her master’s degree at U-M.

An AmeriCorps member serving at Warren E. Bow Elementary and Middle School in Detroit, Karczewski served as a math tutor in Albion’s quantitative skills center and as a probability and statistics professor’s assistant at U-M.