The Daily Gamecock

USC student earns national fellowship

Madison Miller receives award for prospective teaching career

Fourth-year mathematics student Madison Miller will be graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences this semester with up to $150,000 to jump-start her future career as a teacher.

Miller, a Capstone Scholar and group exercise instructor at the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center, is one of 37 math and science students across the country to receive the 2011 Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Fellowship Award. Established by Metrologic Instruments founder Harry Knowles, the award provides community and financial support for exceptional future math and science instructors.

Miller is the 10th student and eighth mathematics student from USC to receive the national fellowship. Math education professor Ed Dickey, who advises scholarship applicants, said this achievement reflects on the quality of the math and science programs in conjunction with the College of Education.

“We have a good national standing,” Dickey said. “It’s really a testament to the quality students that are coming through USC.”

Dickey said Miller is one such quality student, maintaining a dedication to and passion for teaching despite current pressures in her field to pursue research. As a Knowles fellow, Miller will receive compensation for her entire teacher education, as well as mentoring and a yearly stipend for classroom materials, technology and community professional development.

Previous fellows in math from USC have continued their education in South Carolina and gone on to work at regional high schools such as Dreher, Lexington and Brookland-Cayce. However, Miller will be breaking tradition and moving closer to her home in Howard County, Md., to attend the University of Maryland for her Masters in Education.

Miller said she had been inclined toward teaching since middle school, but an internship in her senior year of high school confirmed her career choice. She has experience through formal internships and practicum at Dreher High School, informal practice as a tutor at Waverly Community Center and St. Martin de Porres Catholic school and as a University Supplemental Instruction leader. After returning from her scholarship interview in Philadelphia, Miller has found further inspiration from the innovation of her fellow future teachers.

“I love teaching kids of all ages, but it’s not an easy job,” Miller said. “You’ve got to be persistent and think outside the box. That’s just what I saw from everyone I met [through the fellowship]. It’s exciting to learn about how people are finding creative ways to teach and how kids are benefiting.”

Miller was assisted in her application by the Office of Fellowships and Scholarship programs. She encouraged any student interested in teaching to search for fellowship opportunities in order to gain a new perspective.