When Lance McCoy ’13 walked into the classroom on the first day of school and saw a sea of young faces looking at him, “my stomach rolled and my hands perspired.” It was his first day on the job as a Baltimore Education Fellow.
McCoy and four other recent Krieger School graduates make up the first cohort of a program designed to support undergraduates who want to make a difference in urban schools. Each year, five full-tuition scholarships in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Hopkins’ School of Education are given to newly graduated Krieger School students. The fellows spend the days as interns-in-residence, teaching at the Henderson-Hopkins School, a joint venture in East Baltimore between Johns Hopkins and Baltimore’s public school system. This partnership school aims to redefine elementary education through personalized learning, and the fellows will spend the entire academic year working there. When school ends for the day, the fellows head off to their graduate classes at the School of Education.
“The most unexpected thing that I’ve come across is how much effort and planning goes into each day,” says fellow MyShawndria Ward ’13, who graduated from the Krieger School with a triple major in history, political science, and Spanish. “I did not know what to expect initially, but I knew as long as I was positive, it would be a great year. I have not been disappointed.”
In addition to full-tuition support, the Baltimore Education Fellows receive a $20,000 stipend, and they will be eligible in one year for Maryland certification and to be hired in Baltimore City Schools.
“I wanted a career where I can work directly with students while simultaneously working on their behalf,” says Miranda Baxendale ’13, who majored in political science with a minor in Africana studies. “Being a Baltimore Education Fellow is giving me the training and preparation necessary to have a direct, positive impact on students.”
According to Mary Ellen Beaty-O’Ferrall, associate professor in the Department of Teacher Preparation at the School of Education, the fellows program was created in response to an increasing number of Krieger School undergraduates who are interested in urban education reform. “These are students who want to frame their undergraduate research experience to be engaged in identifying creative solutions to education’s greatest challenges.”
Despite his nervousness on the first day of teaching, Lance McCoy—himself a product of Baltimore City Schools—says the fellowship is an ideal way for him to “learn while giving back.” McCoy was at the Krieger School as a Baltimore Scholar, a Johns Hopkins program that gives full tuition to Baltimore city applicants who are accepted into the university.
For Richmond Castillo ’13, the program will provide a second graduate degree. While at the Krieger School, he pursued a dual BS/MS degree in cellular molecular biology. “I knew I wanted to be involved in education, and this program interested me because it involved Hopkins’ School of Education but also had an internship aspect in a Baltimore city school.”
Before they even applied to the program, all of this year’s fellows say they knew they wanted to pursue careers in education.
Maria Ontiveros ’13, a psychology major with a Writing Seminars minor, says she has always loved working with children. “Before my senior year at Hopkins, I taught summer school to second- and third-graders. It was a great experience, and I began to consider teaching as a possible career.”