These Mercer students will teach STEM in Bibb schools and get a big reward

Nine Mercer University students who are on track to graduate with a master’s in STEM teaching in 2021 will have the cost of their tuition and teaching certification waived upon completing a three-year commitment to teach for Bibb County schools.

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, in its fifth and final year, awards $20,000 per fellow to complete a cutting-edge master’s degree program involving yearlong classroom experience.

The following Mercer students were among fellows announced by Gov. Brian Kemp Wednesday at the state capitol:

Jamie Hurd Baggett from Fayetteville, North Carolina

Laurice Chao from Arcadia, California

Rodney Davis from Cleveland, Ohio

Alexa Gatson from Atlanta

Brianna Harris from Chicago

Adam Landin from Albany

Alec Powers from Thomson

Erik Sylvain from Jackson

Akinmayoaw Akinkunmi from Douglasville

Columbus State University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University and Piedmont College all have participated in the fellowship program that started in 2014. Each school received matching $400,000 grants to develop teacher preparation programs tailored to meet the fellowship’s standards, according to a news release from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

The foundation partners with school districts across the state including state including Bibb County schools, Dodge County schools, Houston County schools and Monroe County schools.

Though it is the final year for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, Mercer plans to continue on with a new program of its own.

Starting next summer, five Mercer master’s of art students with a focus on STEM education will commit to three years of full-time employment as a teacher of record in a Bibb County middle or high school.