Two Emory graduates named Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows in Georgia

By April Hunt | Emory Report | Aug. 3, 2018

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2018 Emory graduates Lorenzo Harmon and John Wang were selected for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, which recruits top aspiring educators to teach science and math in high-need rural and urban schools.

Two 2018 Emory University graduates were among 24 aspiring educators recently selected for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship in Georgia.

Gov. Nathan Deal named John Wang and Lorenzo Harmon to the fourth class of the program, which recruits and prepares the nation's brightest recent graduates to teach in middle and high school science and math classrooms.

The award comes with $30,000 to complete a specially designed master’s degree program based on a year-long classroom experience. In exchange, recipients commit to teach in a high-need urban or rural school for three years.

Harmon, who earned a master’s degree from the Candler School of Theology this spring, had previously worked as a tutor and substitute teacher.

Wang, who graduated in May from Emory College of Arts and Sciences with a dual degree in economics/mathematics and quantitative sciences, credits his involvement with the IDEAS Fellowship for sparking his interest in teaching.

IDEAS promotes the liberal arts and sciences on campus, something Wang hopes to encourage as a teacher. He plans to be a high school math teacher but hopes to expand into teaching statistics and more.

“More than mastering a narrow skill, I want to encourage a general interest in learning,” Wang says. “Math can be a great starting point for understanding different perspectives.”

Wang and Harmon have already begun their master’s program work at Mercer University. They will be student teachers this fall.

The highly competitive fellowship also recruits career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math to become STEM educators.

The program has graduated 159 teachers since 2014, helping to improve the quality and size of the state’s teacher pipeline, says Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

“Throughout Georgia, high-need schools now have excellent STEM teachers leading their classrooms, working with teachers and administrators to close the achievement gap and ensure the best STEM education possible for all learners,” Levine says.

In addition to IDEAS, Wang served as president of the Beta Science Club and was involved with She’s the First, a nonprofit that sponsors girls’ education in low-income countries, and Emory Arts Underground.

Wang, who earned the inaugural Emory College Alumni Board scholarship for his academic excellence and overall accomplishments at Emory, worked as an intern this summer at the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta.

Harmon, who earned his undergraduate degree at Howard University, also received several academic awards during his Emory tenure. In addition to working in the classroom, he also served as a student youth pastor.