OWU grad picked as teaching fellow


Nathan Chaffee of Macedonia, Ohio, an astrophysics and music double-major at Ohio Wesleyan University, has been selected as a 2015 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellow.

As part of his fellowship, Chaffee, who graduated from Ohio Wesleyan in May, will receive a $30,000 stipend to attend Indiana’s Ball State University, where he will participate in a specially designed one-year master’s program.

The Wilson Fellows program recruits both recent graduates and career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math – the STEM fields – and prepares them to teach in high-need secondary schools. Chaffee received one of only 49 Wilson Fellowships awarded in Indiana this cycle. After he earns his master’s degree, Chaffee will teach for three years in the Indiana schools that most need strong STEM teachers.

Of his fellowship, Chaffee said, “It is a great honor, and I want to use this opportunity to touch as many lives as possible around me.”

“OWU has helped me toward this fellowship,” Chaffee said, “because the faculty has taught me that effective teaching changes the lives of individuals and helps them succeed. I want to follow in their footsteps and become the best teacher I can be.

“Being both an astrophysics and music major has allowed me to study with a diverse range of teaching styles and people. I have learned that individual attention and care to the student is necessary to help the growth and motivation of the student.”

As part of his OWU experience, Chaffee combined his love for both the arts and sciences by serving as president of the Society of Physics Students and by playing piano in the Park Avenue Jazz Ensemble and percussion in the OWU Wind Ensemble.

Chaffee credits Ohio Wesleyan physics and astronomy professor Robert Harmon with helping him to discover the Wilson Fellowship. Chaffee said he realized his passion for teaching during the summer before his junior year while he was working for Cleveland’s Great Lakes Science Center. At that point, however, he was not able to add or switch to an education major and still graduate on schedule.

“This is when I began talking to Dr. Harmon,” Chaffee said, leading to his learning about the Wilson Fellowship. At Ball State, he will pursue a master’s in science education with licensure in physics and chemistry.


Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by Ohio Wesleyan University.

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