Clayton Jacques ’19, a biology major and Hispanic studies minor from Newburyport, Mass., has received a Woodrow Wilson Foundation fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in education at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa., with the goal of becoming a certified teacher in Pennsylvania.
The Woodrow Wilson fellowship is a competitive program that “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,” according to the program’s press release.
“I was attracted to this fellowship because it was specific to STEM majors,” Jacques says. “It’s important to bring a science background into the classroom.”
Jacques is one of 24 Woodrow Wilson Fellows in the program’s first cohort in Pennsylvania. Fellows receive a $32,000 scholarship toward the master’s program, which incorporates a year of experience in the classroom, and agree to teach for three years in high-need Pennsylvania schools. The program has graduated more than 1,200 teachers in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio.
Jacques says he was drawn to teaching as a profession because of the difference teachers have made in his own life. “I’ve always really admired my teachers, and I’ve had some really constructive experiences in the classroom, in high school and at Dartmouth,” he says.
As an undergraduate, Jacques participated in the biology foreign study program in Costa Rica and Little Cayman Island. “Studying abroad was a really amazing experience,” he says. “I got to go to the tropics and study all these organisms. It was inspirational. As a teacher, I want to try to bring some of that energy and real-world presence to the classroom.”
Jacques interned with Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth (SEAD), a program sponsored by the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact that is aimed at encouraging students in under-resourced high schools to pursue college. He spent a term at Raymond High School in Raymond, N.H., mentoring sophomores in academic and college preparation skills.
“That experience was eye-opening to me. It showed me what it’s like to work in a public high school,” he says. And it motivated him to want to continue making a difference in under-resourced schools, he says. “It had its challenges at times, but it was good for me to have an idea of what I’m getting into. I felt like, yeah, I can do this.”
To learn more about how to apply for Udall, Goldwater, and other scholarships, visit Dartmouth’s Fellowship Advising Office.