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Engineering alums earn prestigious fellowship

May 24, 2010

Two Arizona State University alumni who earned degrees in engineering are among recipients of prestigious teaching fellowships designed to foster innovation in teaching and in the education of teachers.

Moira McSpadden and Shamar Thomas are among 80 new Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows – considered the “Rhodes Scholars” of teaching.

They will each receive a $30,000 stipend and enrollment in a master’s degree program for intensive clinical preparation for teaching math and science in urban and rural high schools most in need of strong teachers.

McSpadden, now a resident of Garland, Texas, graduated from ASU in the early 1980s, studying industrial technology and microelectronics engineering technology, and earning two undergraduate degrees. She later earned a master’s degree in information systems from Northeastern University.

She has been employed as a business analyst in the areas of process engineering and quality assurance. She will pursue her master’s degree in education through the fellowship program at Purdue University.

Thomas, now a resident of Louisville, Ky., graduated from ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering in 2008 with a bachelor’s of science degree in aerospace engineering.

He as has interned with Honeywell and US Airways/America West Airlines, and was in Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps.

Through the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, Thomas will pursue a dual certification in engineering technology and computer education as well as special education at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The Indiana Fellowship is part of a national Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship initiative. Plans are for the program to expand to possibly all 50 states in coming years.

Among other goals, the program seeks to bring the strongest candidates into teaching, and attract well-educated teachers to high schools, especially to bolster math and science programs.

The two ASU alumni are among “truly stellar teacher candidates who will make a real difference in students’ lives,” said Constance K. Bond, vice president for Teaching Fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

To learn more, see the foundation’s press release.