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College of Wooster Graduate Sarah Smith-Polderman Receives Prestigious Woodrow Wilson Fellowship

UPublish story by Libby Fackler

WOOSTER, Ohio — Sarah Smith-Polderman, a resident of Cleveland Heights and recent graduate of The College of Wooster, has been awarded a teaching fellowship by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. She plans to use the $30,000 award at the University of Cincinnati, where she will be attending a special intensive master’s program that will prepare her to teach math and/or science in a high-need Ohio school.

A mathematics major, Smith-Polderman was a tutor for high school and college math, president of the campus chapter of the Student Mathematical Association of America, and a volunteer for middle and high school classrooms while at Wooster. She was named to the Dean's List, inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and received an Elizabeth Sidwell Wagner Prize in Mathematics and Computer Science. She also earned honors on her Independent Study project, Wooster’s nationally acclaimed senior capstone experience.

Woodrow Wilson Ohio Teaching Fellowships are awarded to outstanding recent college graduates in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (the STEMM fields). Since the inception of the program in 2010, 219 Fellows have been named in Ohio. After their preparation, Fellows commit to teach for at least three years in a high-need Ohio school while receiving continued support. This year's class includes 77 new Woodrow Wilson Ohio Teaching Fellows, 71 of whom will start their Fellowships this summer. They will enter their own classrooms in fall of 2014.

"These students represent the best and brightest teachers in Ohio, and are reflective of the advances that Ohio is making in the STEMM fields," said Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey. "Their efforts as Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows will impact not only their own futures, but also the futures of thousands of students in our high-need schools."

The program is made possible with federal Race-to-the-Top funds as well as commitments from six Ohio funders: The Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, the GAR Foundation, the Battelle Memorial Institute, and The Battelle Fund at the Columbus Foundation. Additional support for the program comes from plus matching funds provided by the campuses and the state's Choose Ohio First program.

The College of Wooster is America’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research. Wooster offers an excellent, comprehensive liberal arts education, culminating in a rigorous senior project, in which each student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor to conceive, organize, and complete a significant research project on a topic of the student’s own choosing. Through this distinctive program, every Wooster student develops abilities valued by employers and graduate schools alike: independent judgment, analytical ability, creativity, project-management and time-management skills, and strong written and oral communication skills. Founded in 1866, the college enrolls approximately 2,000 students.

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