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On March 26, Tom Junod and Charles McNair made their appearance on Mercer University’s Macon campus to talk about writing, share their struggles and success stories and to introduce a technique of blending fact and fiction in writing.

Hosted by the Center for Collaborative Journalism, the event was open to all Mercer students and the Macon community.

Junod, a writer for Esquire Magazine and winner of several awards, has written journalism pieces that involve aspects of fiction in order to, according to Junod, enhance the truth about the characters presented. While Junod advocates the incorporation of fiction into pieces that were previously regarded as a strict nonfiction outlet, he does not stray away from the truth. He said, “Because the power of stories is so great, you have to get it right because the damage can be so great.”

As a fiction writer, McNair has published two books and is currently working on a third. He additionally serves as Books Editor for Paste magazine. McNair also believes in multiple uses of fiction and said, “We use fiction to explain things that can’t be explained.”

The title of the event, “The Truth is in the Telling,” was reflected in the views, anecdotes, and concepts presented by both Junod and McNair. McNair stated the main concept of the event: “If you want the truth, read fiction.”

Tim Regan-Porter, the first director of Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, directed and coordinated the speakers’ appearances. He said, “I really wanted to bring some of the best writers around to share their wisdom and just be inspiration for students and writers in the city.”

In order to advertise to such a large audience from both the Mercer and Macon community, the event was directed by the CCJ’s Regan-Porter. As a founder of Paste Media Group, Regan-Porter said, “I’ve known Charles for about 10 years now as a great guy and a great writer,” as McNair is the books editor for Paste Magazine.

“Tom is an icon to writers everywhere,” said Regan-Porter. He continued and said that as an Atlanta native, he is especially important in Atlanta and the state of Georgia. After separate contacting and planning, “they decided to do something together,” said Regan-Porter.

The reason behind inviting writers Junod and McNair, said Regan-Porter, was that CCJ students, other Mercer students, and the Macon community has an opportunity, “to hear good writers, their tips and their struggles [which] is always enlightening and entertaining.” He continued and said, “I really just wanted to bring some of the best writers around to campus to share their wisdom and be an inspiration to students and to writers in the city.”

“I hope it is valuable to the community in general, both at Mercer and in Macon,” said Regan-Porter at the conclusion of the event.  He continued and said, “It’s good affirmation that it’s hard to write, anybody who writes probably struggles with the same issues.”

The discovery of truth, subjective and objective writing, and even a satirical song mark the writers’ presence on Mercer’s campus. While closing, Junod said, “Some of our greatest stories are fictional stories. The shelf life of fiction lasts a lot longer than nonfiction because, somehow, made up stories get to the truths that stories of fact cannot.”

Gary Wall, Annika Singh and Matthew Yin were invited to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), which is a program that accepts groups of individuals who make a “commitment to action.”

According to the Clinton Global Initiative University website, the program is based off the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative. The program is meant to bring together different world leaders to take action on global challenges. Former President Clinton started the program in 2007.

“The Mercer Prosthetics and Orthotics Club applied to CGI U in November 2013 and was selected in the early acceptance pool in January 2014 for its commitments to prosthetic care in Vietnam and Haiti,” said Gary Wall, the president of Mercer Prosthetics and Orthotics Club (MPOC).

Mercer University has had a significant impact on prosthetic care in Vietnam. Since 2009, over 800 patients have been fitted with the Mercer prosthetic device through the Mercer On Mission program.  This year, Mercer will fit its 1000th patient with its device.

“Walking on two legs is a pivotal part of our existence as humans and one that is often overlooked. Now take a second and imagine if your mobility was taken away from you after stepping on a landmine in a field or losing a limb in a motorbike accident hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital,” said Wall. “Then imagine knowing that you will never be able to walk again because you cannot afford a prosthetic device. When I fit a prosthetic on a patient, many whom have not walked in 5, 10, sometimes 20 years, their face, their demeanor, their non-verbal enthusiasm says it all.”

“This initiative is in line with Mercer’s long-term plan to make the Vietnam prosthetic program sustainable. On the institution level, Mercer was acknowledged as a Clinton Global Initiative commitment maker in 2009 and was recognized personally by former President Bill Clinton,” said Wall. “It is important to distinguish this latest CGI U acceptance. The CGI U commitment was done on the student level through the Mercer Prosthetics and Orthotics Club, and is a commitment that is separate but complimentary of the previous CGI commitments.”

Wall began his involvement with the Mercer On Mission program the summer of 2012 when he went to Vietnam with about 18 other Mercer students on Mercer On Mission. That summer, the team fit 205 patients over a three-week period that was a large increase in numbers over the previous years.

It was after this summer trip that Wall and six other alums founded MPOC to encourage more participation in Mercer On Mission, advocate and fundraise, teach prosthetic manufacturing and fitting to new students. The group also wants MPOC to increase awareness about amputees and prosthetics. MPOC encourages the idea that orthotics can be a career choice for those with majors involving health care or bio-medical engineering.

On March 21 to 23 MPOC president Gary Wall, senior vice president Matthew Yin and director of events Annika Sinha traveled to Phoenix, Ariz., to attend the CGI U conference hosted by Arizona State University.

At the conference, the group had the chance to network with other student innovators, businessmen and women, CEOs and individuals who are the founders of various nonprofit initiatives. The group attended several lectures that were about topics such as entrepreneurial education, the use of social media to advance your commitment, financing your commitment and the future of higher education.

The team also presented its commitments at the CGI U exchange, a large science-fair-like event where selected commitment makers showcased their commitments. “We also were able to attend large plenary lectures featuring the likes of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton; Arizona senator and former republican nominee for president, John McCain; founder of the Barefoot College Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy, Manal al-Sharif; a women’s rights activist from Saudi Arabia who helped start a women’s right to drive campaign in 2011, and Jimmy Kimmel,” said Wall.

“In the future, the club will continue to advocate for the great experience that MOM [Mercer On Missions] Vietnam is,” said Wall. We are committed to continuing to fundraise for orthopedic supplies and medication used by Dr. Ha Van Vo in clinic through community outreach and philanthropy events.”

Humans vs. Zombies is an event that will be coming to Mercer University’s campus from April 7 to 10. Students will take on roles of humans or zombies and will act out the scenario of a zombie “plague.” This is the second annual Humans vs. Zombies event and is put on by the Residence Hall Association (RHA).

Humans vs. Zombies event was hosted last year by the Merterwood Hall Government. Some of the members then went on to create the RHA on campus, who is hosting the event this year. Last year’s event was taken well by participating students and was considered an overwhelming success and RHA decided to repeat the event.

“Humans versus Zombies is a week-long game that focuses on providing a fun method of stress relief to students before finals. Throughout the game, zombies will seek out humans to quench their hunger. Humans in turn will have to defend themselves from zombies using only paper-based materials,” said the public relations contact for the RHA, Leslie Graham. “The game plays out like a giant, more awesome game of freeze tag, where humans can ‘stun’ zombies; but if a human is tagged, they are converted to the zombie ranks.”

During the Humans vs. Zombies event there will be different “battles” between the zombies and surviving humans, activities and organized opportunities for “humans” to create tools that will aid them in the game.

The event starts of with a “Humans Self Defense Workshop.” This is a chance for  humans to meet and create tools to help defend themselves against the “zombies” they are trying to avoid.

The next activity is a game of Capture the Flag. “The stakes are high as humans and zombies face off between Cruz Plaza and the Historic Quad. The winning team will be given three power ups that will last for the next 24 hours,” said Graham.

The second to last day will have an event called the “Escort Mission” that is focused around a story about a character named Sasha Zlatojev. “Sasha Zlatojev, the daughter of renown biochemist Susannah Zlatojev, is frantically searching for the cure that her mother invented to defend humans against the zombie plague. Her latest research has indicated that the cure is still somewhere on Mercer’s campus. Join the remaining humans to defend her as she tries to recover her mother’s last works,” said Graham as she describes the story around one of the game’s activity.

On Thursday, the last day of the event, the activity planned is the “Final Battle,” where the game wraps up and the remaining human players try to fight and survive against the zombie players.

“When students register at hvzsource.com/mercerhvz they will automatically be enrolled as a human. Randomly selected humans will become “OZs,” or original zombies, and will be notified before the start of the event,” said Graham.

After students registered they are encouraged to come by the Connell Student Center between March 31 and April 6 to receive the supplies they need to start the game.

 

The American Marketing Association (AMA) chapter at Mercer University held its annual AMA Day on March 26.

“AMA Day is an annual event when Mercer’s AMA chapter brings in professionals to talk about the field of marketing,” said Dr. Steven McClung, associate dean of faculty and research at the Stetson School of Business and Economics. “It’s a panel forum with guests in the marketing profession. Each year, the panel is developed around a theme. Last year was ‘Social Media Marketing,’ and we had social media marketers from several businesses including Google. This year’s theme is local sales, and we’ve invited people from Macon and Atlanta businesses to talk to our students about the role of local sales and marketing.” The four panelists for this year’s AMA event were Yolanda Latimore, Jim Skesavage, Joanna Hemleb and Tom Comerford.

Latimore is the sole proprietor of Like Water Publicity, an advertising and booking agency. The majority of work for this agency comes from placing media buys in an average of 18 markets across America, including her hometown of Macon. Other demands for this business involves creating marketing and publicity plans for customers.

In addition, she books artists, bands and speakers for all type of functions. Much of her experience in advertising, booking and marketing blossoms from apprenticeship and employment with companies such as Clear Channel, Roberts and Murray Communications.

Skesavage is director of marketing, principal and a member of the management team at Atlanta Capital Management Co., LLC. With over 30 years of professional experience, Skesavage has served in a variety of marketing and client service roles. Before joining Atlanta Capital in 2002, he was director of client service and product management, a global partner and member of the management team at Invesco Capital Management. Skesavage acts as chairman of the American Society for Competitiveness. He serves on the board of visitors for the Stetson School of Business and Economics at Mercer University, and the advisory committee of the John Early Society at Loyola University Maryland.

He was past president of the board of directors for the Association of Investment Marketing Sales Executives. Skesavage has served on the boards of Zoo Atlanta, the Florida Public Pension Trustees Association and the Alumni Association for the Stetson School of Business and Economics at Mercer University. He has also participated on the program committee for the Southern Employee Benefits Conference.

Hemleb and Comerford are the lead sales team for Macon’s Fox24 and ABC16 television. They are experienced veterans in television sales.

“The American Marketing Association is a great organization to join for anyone who has an interest in marketing, sales or business in general,” said Daniel Quintanilla, senior and president of Mercer’s AMA chapter. “We’re really trying to reach out, and we’ve partnered with AMA Atlanta, which is one of the top five AMA chapters in the country.”

“This coming year, we want to enter the competition,” said McClung. “We want to start getting a team to go to regionals, which is a big step. It takes a lot of people and a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding for the students who get involved because they’re in front of people who hire.”

Mercer’s AMA chapter mission is to provide members with the knowledge, skills and connections needed to develop networks, resumes and a bright future. It is also an outlet for creativity and innovation. AMA is part of an international organization comprised of 40,000 professional marketers in more than 600 chapters across more than 100 countries. Students can open doors for a career in marketing through membership in Mercer’s AMA chapter.

 

Friends of Tattnall Square Park has been working for over two years to restore the historic park that is just across the road from Mercer University’s Macon campus. Though treasurer Jennifer Look says that their work is always ongoing, for the first time in almost a hundred years, the park’s infrastructure has been completely renovated.

“It started over trash,” said Chair Andrew Silver about the origins of Friends of Tattnall. Silver is also a professor at Mercer.

When complaints were voiced about a lack of maintenance in the park, Friends co-founders Corrie Merricks and Jill Moody Vanderhoek, along with Silver, stepped up to make some changes. Since the group’s birth in 2001, the Friends have planted 215 new trees, installed trashcans with quotes and added time capsules into the pillars at the historic entrance to the park.

A TARDIS-shaped Little Library will also be featured at Tattnall, though it is separate from the Friends group. The Little Library is one of Look’s personal projects, she said, and the first unveiling will be on April 17 at the dog park. “It’s about getting people to share stories and build community. If you have a book you love, and you want to share it with your neighbor, come put it in the library,” said Look. The TARDIS-shaped library is one of the many that will be built.

The libraries will provide book plates that allow donors to explain why they think that the book should be read by people in the community. The TARDIS inspiration came from the carpenter of the libraries, who is going to install 18 bookshelves.

The quote-covered trashcans is another project that Friends of Tattnall recently completed, which involved not only students from Alexander II, who wrote essays about why they loved nature, but also Mercer students. A class taught by Dr. Craig Coleman was responsible for framing the quotes, and the trashcans have gained the attention of not only the city of Macon, but also Atlanta, which is now putting up similar works in its city.

In regards to current projects, Look said that a new water fountain is on its way, courtesy of the Medical Center of Central Georgia. The Friends group hope that the installation will increase the number of people exercising in the park.

Other improvements include boulder benches, as well as benches that are rooted into the ground and a stump circle that provides seating where there was none before. The pavillion was also a project that the group took on, repainting the structure with four different colors and putting in 1,000 volunteer hours before it was completed.

“We’ve raised tens of thousands [of dollars] with private donations, but we’ve attracted hundreds of thousands of grant money through the Knight Foundation,” said Silver. “They really acted as a catalyst to our organization. … About $2.3 million either has been or will be put into this park within the next few months.” Silver said that Friends of Tattnall Square Park has accomplished a lot more than other Friends Of organizations would have accomplished in 10 or more years time.

Mercer itself has contributed some to the projects. The student-led Friends of Tattnall Square Park, led by president Sarah Reid, has hosted events such as poetry readings and frisbee tournaments, as well as occasionally working in conjunction with the neighborhood Friends group.

As part of their senior design project, a group of student engineers is working to improve the drainage in Tattnall by installing a rain garden. Mercer has also helped with the recently implemented irrigation system, which may not be needed untill next year, says Silver, due to all the rain this year.

“There’s a good possibility that in the next two years, it will feel like a totally different park,” said Silver. “Our number one concern is that we would like to see Macon look to their parks and celebrate them and understand how important they are economically. We brag on our parks, but we don’t do much to help.”

 

Thursday night, Mercer University’s Student Government Association held a question and answer session for the candidates running for the office of SGA president and vice president next year. This year is different, however, from years previous—there is only one ticket.

Current senators and committee heads Joey Wozniak and Victoria Conley are the only representatives who have stepped forward to run for office. In the session, Conley mentioned how the two were disappointed when they heard they would have no competitors.

“We wrote our campaign plan as if we were running against others,” said Conley, who also said that the two began preparing their campaign last semester. Wozniak said that they worry about the legitimacy of their campaign being questioned, but that the two have taken steps to combat that. “We’re gathering endorsements from friends, co-workers, so that people will believe in us,” said Wozniak.

The “WozCon” platform consists of three tiers, titled with alliterations to make them easier to remember. University Unity, the first tier, mainly focuses on using the Mercer app, which is still in development, to connect the university through providing useful information to students and facilitating conversation between departments, faculty and students.

The two hope also to strengthen service, leadership and success with programs like President’s Council, which Wozniak says they are pushing for during their administration. President’s Council would consist of representatives from all of the different schools, such as the Townsend School of Music, the Stetson School of Business, etc. The representatives would meet with Wozniak and Conley before their meetings with President William Underwood, so that the two would be able to better represent the desires of the campus.

The second tier of their platform is titled “Building Bridges,” which focuses on getting more involved with the Macon community, as well as increasing alumni outreach and campus development. One specific project that Wozniak mentioned was putting in a crosswalk between the new admissions building and Greek row, where tour groups often walk.

“Our giving rate is horrible,” said Wozniak in reference to the alumni part of the tier. Now that Mercer is in the spotlight from beating Duke, Wozniak said that the opportunity should be capitalized on. “Mercer alumni know we’re in the news; we’ve been featured by New York Times and Washington Post.” The two hope to connect alumni back to Mercer in order to increase connections and also to link students to possible career opportunities.

The last tier of the platform includes Amplified Athletics. Wozniak and Conley are looking to develop unity amongst the different support groups at the games, such as the dance team, Mercer Maniacs and pep band. When one student brought up the concern that she felt unwelcome when trying to join Mercer Maniacs, Conley responded, “We know how you feel.” However, Wozniak said it was important to note that the group was in its infant stage, having just started this year, and that steps were being taken to make sure the group would not become too exclusive.

Another specific program the two hope to develop is the Paw Points program, originally established by the Davis/Lovett administration one year year ago. Since the program was new this year, Wozniak said that there was some confusion as to who was going to handle the program, but it’s something the two “intend to spend the summer on.”

Presidential election polls open Monday at 9 a.m., and close the next day at 5 p.m. Wednesday, senator qualifications will be available for those wishing to sign up for SGA senator.

Mercer recently named Gary J. Simson as senior vice provost for scholarship at the Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law. Daisy Hurst Floyd will take Simson’s previous role as law dean until a new individual is found.

As senior vice provost for research and dean of graduate studies, Dr. Scott Davis named Simson as the new senior vice provost for scholarship at the Mercer school of law in Macon. Davis said, “I am pleased that Gary Simson has agreed to lead this new initiative in the Provost’s Office.” Davis also said that Simson will serve as a key role in Mercer’s focus on cultivating scholarship among junior and established faculty expands.

Davis said that his efforts in recruiting Simson for some time on this role were stalled by Simson’s desire to fulfill his responsibilities in completing “the law school’s re-accreditation process before accepting these new responsibilities.”

Before his appointment as senior vice provost, Simson was previously a professor of law at Mercer Law and has been with the law school as dean and Macon chair in law since July 2010. Davis said Simson is “a nationally regarded legal scholar and has an excellent reputation for mentoring young faculty in the development of their scholarship portfolios.”

President William D. Underwood said that Simson’s service as dean for the previous four years has made a number of important contributions to the law school. Underwood said that during Simson’s Mercer tenure, he has “recruit[ed] outstanding faculty, improv[ed] the school’s facilities and enhanc[ed] career services, which has resulted in Mercer Law School having one of the best placement rates in the country for its graduates.”

Floyd will take Simson’s position serving as a temporary dean of law until a national search for an individual can fill the role. Floyd is currently a Mercer School of Law professor. Floyd previously served as Mercer’s dean of law from 2004 until 2010.

On Floyd’s acceptance as temporary role as dean of law, Davis said, “We are fortunate to have an experienced dean like Daisy Floyd to step in and provide leadership at the law school.”

“Because of her experience and track record, the law school will continue to flourish while Gary Simson brings his knowledge and expertise in the area of scholarship to the entire University,” said Davis.

Simson began his career in 1971 when he received a B.A. summa cum laude from Yale College majoring in Spanish literature. He obtained his J.D. in 1974 from Yale Law School, also serving as the editor of The Yale Law Journal.

Simson began teaching after his one year spent clerking for Judge J. Joseph Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was hired at the University of Texas School of Law in 1975 and was later promoted to full professor in 1977.

In 1980, Simson began teaching faculty professor of law at the Cornell Law School for 26 years. While there, he served as associate dean for faculty development for three years from 1997 until 2000 and as associate dean for academic affairs for four years from 2000 until 2004.

He left Cornell Law School in 2006 for the position as dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-Baker and Hostetler professor of law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio. He was there for four years, leaving to take the position as dean of the Mercer Walter F. George School of Law in 2010.

More information can be found on Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law’s website or on the press release by Kyle Sears at Mercer News on Mercer University’s website.

Mercer University’s Walter F. School of Law will host its 2014 Law Day luncheon with judge Guido Calabresi, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, scheduled to deliver the keynote address. The event will be held Friday, March 28, at 12:30 p.m., in Hawkins Arena inside the University Center on the Macon campus. Calabresi’s presentation is titled, “Faith in Law and Faith in People.”

Calabresi was appointed United States Circuit Judge in July, 1994, and entered into duty on Sept. 16, 1994. Prior to his appointment, he was dean and Sterling Professor at Yale Law School, where he began teaching in 1959 and is now Sterling Professor Emeritus and Professorial Lecturer in Law. Judge Calabresi received his B.S., summa cum laude, from Yale College in 1953, a B.A. with First Class Honors from Magdalen College, Oxford University, in 1955, an LL.B. degree, magna cum laude, in 1958 from Yale Law School, and an M.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University in 1959.

A Rhodes Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif, Judge Calabresi served as the note editor of The Yale Law Journal, 1957-58, while graduating first in his law school class. Following graduation, Judge Calabresi clerked for Justice Hugo Black of the United States Supreme Court. He has been awarded some 40 honorary degrees from universities in the United States and abroad, and is the author of four books and more than 100 articles on law and related subjects.

The Law Day theme is “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.” Established in 1958 by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Law Day is designed to strengthen the public’s understanding of the American justice system. Though the national observance of Law Day is generally May 1, many law schools, including Mercer Law School, publicly recognize it earlier in the spring semester due to the heavy academic demands in May.

During the event, Mercer Law School will recognize two alumni for their outstanding contributions to the legal profession: Thomas P. Bishop, CLA ‘82, LAW ‘85, Outstanding Alumnus Award; and Deryl Dantzler, CLA ‘64, LAW ‘81, Alumni Meritorious Service Award.

Following the luncheon, three events will take place at the Law School. The Hugh Lawson, III Moot Court Competition, an annual intra-school 1L competition, will be held in the Moot Courtroom at 3 p.m.

The luncheon is $25 for alumni that register before March 18 and $35 at the door. Registration is available online or by contacting Leslie Cadle at cadle_l@law.mercer.edu or (478) 301-2180.

Mercer University Associate Professor of technical communication Dr. Pam Estes Brewer has recently been chosen for the Society for Technical Communication’s Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2014. When asked how she felt about receiving the award, she said, “I was dancing in the halls.”

The award honors the distinguished teaching career of Gould, who brought many students into the technical communication profession. The award is given to the teacher who proves that his or her excellence resides not only in the classroom, but also outside, even beyond the graduation of the student.

The award will be presented to Brewer at the annual Society for Technical Communication Summit, held in Phoenix, Ariz., from May 18-21.

Brewer is a recent addition to the School of Engineering, having joined the faculty last year. According to Dr. Helen Grady, chair of the Department of Technical Communication, “[Brewer’s] reputation for teaching excellence is well deserved.”

“This is a really significant award in our field—in technical communication—and teaching is at the heart of everything I do,” said Brewer. “I love to teach, and so an honor that says, ‘Hey you’re doing a great job at that’ means the world to me.”

When asked how she approaches teaching, Brewer said that she relies on a largely experiential style. She allows her students to perform the tasks of the classroom in “real and engaging contexts” and then reflect on and learn from those experiences. She has been a teacher for over two decades, and said that the switch from a college of arts and sciences to the engineering school has made her undergo a process of “bring[ing] together who I am as a teacher with who I am  within the school.”

Brewer is currently working on a book looking into the communication experiences of virtual teams. “Virtual teams,” Brewer said, “are teams, of course, so they have a lot in common with any other team.” They are teams who do most, if not all communication through the technological interface.

Technology, Brewer says, creates a screen. What Brewer is looking into are the research methods, tools and techniques that would help people be more effective in the international virtual teams.

One such method is metacommunication, or talking about communication expectations. Sometimes people, according to Brewer, don’t take the time to do that, and doing so online could be “a tremendously powerful tool.”

An example of this would be time turnaround. It would be wise to communicate if one person thought a good turnaround time was 24 hours, while another thought 48 hours was a good turnaround time.

When asked what she loved about teaching, Brewer said, “Almost always, the classroom is a pick-me-up for me. Going to the classroom, it’s a reminder of why I do what I do. It makes a difference, and I believe it does.”

 

Mercer University was recently named one of five institutions to be selected to participate in the Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellowship. The Georgia Partnership is supporting the program for Excellence in Education.

Mercer is becoming part of the newly developing initiative that will work toward increasing the supply of teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and change how they are taught to maximize efficiency.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation exists to help identify and develop leaders and institutions to go up against some of the nation’s critical challenges. The Foundation has an array of programs that help support the development of more than 21,000 leaders, including teachers, scholars and businesspeople.

“Initially founded in 1945, the foundation was formed to give fellowships to World War II veterans wanting to return to college after their military career.  Over the years the fellowship program expanded, adding thousands of fellows and many went on to have impressive careers – 14 Nobel Laureates, 35 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Pulitzer Prize winners and hundreds of other distinguished individuals,” said the project director of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, Melissa Cruz.

Today, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation seeks to build upon its name of excellence while maintaining its historic roots and working to help improve the achievement gap between Americans that is set by race and income.

“The Foundation has oversight of the Fellowship and will initiate the recruitment and selection process of the fellows,” said Cruz.  “The Foundation will also provide guidance and administrative support to the universities throughout the many years of the programs. The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship seeks to attract talented, committed individuals with backgrounds in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—into teaching in high-need secondary schools.”

“We will develop an innovative curriculum to prepare graduate level students with undergraduate degrees in science, math and engineering for careers as teachers,” said university President, William Underwood. “Working in partnership with regional school districts, we will then enroll Woodrow Wilson Fellows who will complete this masters level program, with significant stipends provided by the Foundation and University, and commit themselves to careers as outstanding K-12 teachers.”

Each university participating has a dedicated university faculty member, a program director, who will oversee the Teaching Fellowship. The university program director will work with Fellows to ensure that they are successfully progressing and growing. Part of the program directors’ influence includes aiding Fellows as they develop strong relationships with colleagues in the schools Fellows will become teachers.

The university program director continues to work with Fellows once they become certified teachers, earn their master’s degree, and begin teaching full time. They aid in their transition into the classroom and with any challenges they may face in their careers.

Mercer University will be part of several universities in the exclusive program to continue efforts to strengthen teaching programs across the country.