Alec Powers, ’19, was one of nine students in the state, who was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp recognized him Aug. 14, 2019. Powers will receive $20,000 to complete a specially designed, cutting-edge master’s degree at Mercer University.
With his undergraduate degree in math, Powers credits his professors, especially Dr. Rachel Epstein, assistant professor mathematics, for giving him the confidence he needed in the subject.
“Not only did I learn a lot about math from Dr. Epstein, but I also learned a lot about teaching from observing her,” he said. “She made sure all of her students had the opportunity to be successful in her class. I hope I can do the same when I become a teacher.”
Powers teaches at Westside High School in Bibb County. And, just like his Georgia College professors, he looks most forward to helping students understand math and preparing them to be successful.
“My goal is to have a positive impact on my students,” Powers said. “I think everyone desires to have a quality education and feel like they matter. I will make sure I stay proficient in mathematics, so I can always teach correct information. I also plan to show my students that I care about them.”
In its fifth year, the highly competitive, year-long Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellowship is made possible by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The foundation recruits both recent graduates and career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and prepares them specifically to teach in high-need secondary schools for three years.
“Five years ago, the Georgia Teaching Fellowship began its work to help close the state’s achievement gap and to ensure the best STEM educators possible for all learners,” Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Rajiv Vinnakota said. “We are proud of the nearly 200 educators who have been part of this program to date and applaud Governor Kemp, our university and K-12 partners and the Woodruff Foundation for their collective commitment to improve the quality and size of Georgia’s teacher pipeline.”
During his time at Georgia College, Powers was a math tutor, math club treasurer; men's ultimate Frisbee club president, undergraduate researcher, GC’s mathematics scholarship recipient and a Sara Nelson Scholarship awardee.