2011-2012 Fellow Bios
Roosevelt Merritts, Sr. is married to Arletta Merritts, and have 6 children, 12 grand-children, and 1 great-grand-child. I was always pretty good in mathematics in high school, and ended up majoring in the same in college. My most influential mathematics teacher in high school was Mr. Green. The most influential force in my life is Jesus Christ. I am a Deacon at the Greater Bethlehem Temple Apostolic Church (as well as choir member, van driver, and participates in outreach ministry). I needed another opportunity in life, and the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship presented one to me. My goal is to not only be an effective mathematics teacher, but also a positive role model for my students. By the way, I am truly a ’People Person’.
I’ve been interested in math and science for as long as I can remember, which is probably why I chose to pursue Finance and then Biomedical Engineering as my focus for my undergraduate studies. When I began to consider a career in education I started to think of the teachers that have made an impact in my life and one in particular stood out, Dr. Jeff Johnson at University of Cincinnati. He had a way of explaining complex subject matter in a way that was easy to understand and he also held each of us to high standards. He always encouraged us to participate in class and often asked questions that made us think about the material more in-depth and see it from different perspectives. I like to express my creativity in a number of ways, one of which is playing soccer and I have been fortunate enough to be able to play professionally for the last 12 years. I’m looking forward very much to being a part of the inaugural Woodrow Wilson Fellows and working to increase the mathematic aptitude of our youth.
I was fortunate to have two outstanding mathematics teachers. My first, in high school, was a military fighter pilot who decided to teach at the end of a successful career. He was unconventional as a teacher, and a bit ostracized. He challenged me to think for myself, and pulled me aside to teach me calculus, something not available then as a class. My second great teacher was a university department head who devoted his own time to offer individual instruction to foster a serious interest in mathematics. I would love to have the opportunity to “give back” as these two educators did for me. I enjoy working with youth and showing them that they are surrounded by mathematics, physics, and science in their everyday lives.
My hobbies include woodwork and leatherwork, and I find that working with my hands provides a nice balance to the abstract world of mathematics.
As long as I can remember, I have been interested in life science. As a child, I was always fascinated by dinosaurs, plants, and the human body. In high school, I took nearly every biology elective offered. The best biology teacher I had was for an Advanced Placement Biology class. She was so enthusiastic about the subject and knowledgeable in not only biology, but chemistry and physics also. Mrs. Weitzel took time out of her weekends to help us study for test and was always wiling to listen to any problem we were having, school related or not. I aspire to have her compassion and passion for teaching. My creative outlet is music arrangement and composition. I work on many different types of pieces from minuets to multi-instrument arrangements.
I am interested in teaching math because of the problem solving and logical thinking techniques that students in math learn, not only for high school, but also for application in the rest of their lives. Also, I feel that with a teacher that is enthusiastic and excited about engaging students in the material, math does not have to be the boring, dry subject that students traditionally expect. I express my creativity through humor and music, and, as a former collegiate football player, enjoy instruction and expression through movement. I have been inspired by my former high school teacher and mentor Joanne Allsop, and wish to emulate the excitement for my subject and compassion for my students shown by Denison University professors Dr. Karen Graves and Dr. Lew Ludwig.
My name is Brooke McCullough and I am excited to be part of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship at UC. I am originally from Youngstown, Ohio but I have come to love Cincinnati as I have completed my undergraduate degree in biology here. I have had some amazing teachers throughout my schooling and have always looked to them as role models. I hope to emulate my favorite teachers by using creativity, humor, and innovative lesson plans to make my classroom a great place to learn. In my spare time I enjoy drawing and ‘crafting’ and hope to use these skills to visually represent higher level learning objectives.
As a life-long mathematics student I have always been compelled to ask the question, “Why?” In the search for that deeper understanding, I have been fortunate enough to have guidance from many inspiring teachers and professors. Studying mathematics does not come without its struggles, and those educators provided the spark that fueled me to not only pursue a career in math, but to use my knowledge and experiences for education. To be given the opportunity to provide that same spark and encouragement to students in need in a subject that I truly enjoy is a special and exciting opportunity.
Let me preface this by saying that I am not the most neat and orderly person, but what sparked my interest in chemistry was that there were rules that made everything neat and orderly. Because these principles in place were solid, you could build upon them like Legos to explain larger, every day phenomena–something I couldn’t do with English or reading. Teaching was always something I had thought about doing but never actually imagined. The event that truly fueled my desire into motion was an email from a college professor, Dr. Nicole Cartwright-Kwiek, suggesting me to look into the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. As a student, Dr. Kwiek was a great teacher because she was fair, challenging, relevant, approachable, and funny. So, now that I have been given this gift to teach, she is also who I want to emulate. I want to teach because I’ve always wanted to help kids see what they cannot see for themselves—whether it be in the classroom or the real world. Too many times students turn away from science because they cannot see the relevance it plays in their lives, but I believe with the help of the fellowship and my fellow mentors and fellows, I can change their minds.
What really sparked my interest in education was participating in an internship as a strength coach at a local high school. It was not just the sports aspect, but also working with the kids and seeing their progress, knowing that I directly had an influence on their gains. I chose Life Sciences because I felt that my medical and health sciences background best corresponds with biology. I have had many great teachers along the way, but most recently my college kinesiology professor, Dr. Herrmann, has had the most influence on my career choice. He keeps his students involved in the learning process and does not just present the information to them, which for a college professor has become very rare. I hope to take different characteristics of all of my previous educators to become a very interactive and knowledgeable teacher to my future students.
My name is Katelin Jarman, and I grew up in a small rural community in southern Ohio. I was inspired to teach by many teachers throughout both my elementary and high school career. My first grade teacher was the first teacher I can recall inspiring me. While in high school I decided to cadet teach for my 1st grade teacher, and through doing so I witnessed the compassion which she had for teaching. In high school, I was inspired by my FFA advisor and librarian, as they encouraged me to be active in extracurricular activities and set an example for the groups in which I held leadership positions. I was active in numerous science based organizations. Growing up on a small family farm, I understood the importance of science in our everyday life. In college I grew an interest for chemistry and biology through both animal science classes and life science classes. Although I was very interested in science, science was not a subject which came easily to m – I spent many hours studying and learning science material. One of the reasons I want to teach is that I know how hard science can be for some individuals. Being able to relate to my students is a way in which I will incorporate creativity into the classroom. I would be creative by relating science matter to students’ lives so they understand both the importance and impact science has in our daily lives.
Hi! My name is Amy Gunderman and I am a recent graduate from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. I am very excited to use my Biology degree and share my love for science with my future students! I first became interested in teaching in the fall of my junior year of college through my involvement in a variety of different tutoring programs in inner city Cleveland. I then worked with a fellow John Carroll student to start The Hope of Tomorrow, a mentoring program that pairs John Carroll Students with John Marshall High School students from inner city Cleveland. In addition to spreading my passion for science, I really want to teach because I believe that everyone is entitled to a high-quality education. Education is the one thing that frees you – the one thing that no one can take from you.
I am interested in teaching physics. I’ve always been interested in finding out how the world works, especially mechanically, so physics is the natural choice. My high school Latin teacher played a big role in me becoming a teacher. He is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and seeing the way he influences his student’s lives inspired me to try and do the same. I’ve always had a passion for helping others learn. I’ve been coaching football and track for 5 years, and loved it, so teaching seemed to be the natural transition. I think my creativity comes through in my dry humor. I like to keep things loose, and I am very easy going. Because of this, I feel like I will keep my students at ease.
My two favorite classes in high school were calculus and physics. As soon as I started these classes my junior year, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career that involved both. Later, during my last year of undergraduate studies, I would return to my high school and speak with my calculus teacher, Mr. Dillon, about my desire to become an educator. He could see my excitement and passion for teaching and encouraged me to become a math teacher. I want to be a teacher so I can spread my love and learning and my love for mathematics and engineering to students through project based learning. As a teacher, I hope to emulate Mr. Dillon and my high school physics teacher, Mrs. Klein. They are excellent teachers, with a passion for their subject and a true desire to reach out to their students. Five years after my graduation from Strongsville High School, they are both still encouraging me and interested in my education and future career.
I majored in Management Information Systems at Wright State University. Although not a mathematics major, math was my favorite subject in high school. I especially enjoyed geometry and proving theorems. My best teacher, the one I remember learning the most from, was Mr. Barhorst, for Algebra II. However, Mr. Ulliman my Introduction to Business teacher was my inspiration to go into teaching after seeking a business degree. His background in business and accounting did not appear traditional to teaching but the experiences he shared were real and not always from a book. I have been teaching adults for 7 years now, and although I started teaching because it suited my schedule and because I knew the subject area, I found that I really liked it. I could be creative, use my own experiences, and relate one subject area to another. In addition to having teachers that inspired me I have students that inspire me to keep going as well. It’s those students that really appreciate what you share with them and teach you as much as you teach them that keep you going year-after-year. In my first year it was Jerimie Mueller and Debbie Parsley that really gave their all in class and then you knew it was worth all the hard work and Nancy Parks as recently as my last class that in the midst of changing careers gave me the assurance that a change such as this one could be really good. I’m married with 3 daughters, 2 in high school so I’m sure that will add an additional element to this experience. Every Thursday I’ll be racing home to work as advisor to the high school Glee Club so I look forward seeing them grow as well as my upcoming class.
Teaching science is something I’ve considered since my sophomore year in high school. I had Mr. Mattox for Biology that year. In my senior year, he was my teacher for Botany and I also took chemistry with Mr. Bramble. I owe the two of them for my love of science. I want to inspire that love of science in the next round of students, as well as teach them the responsibility and self-discipline that college will require of them. Making science interesting and fun for students is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing, and this program has enabled me to do this.
I have always loved science. It is interesting to me because it allows me to be able to know how and why things work the way that they do. You can look at science on the very surface of things, or go as deep as you would like, uncovering new layers as you go. While in high school, I had an excellent math and physics teacher who showed an unparalleled love for her students and a desire to see them succeed. She was able to also make the subject material fun and exciting. Her care for students and creative abilities are what I would like to emulate as a teacher. Through tutoring and mentoring local high school kids, I realized the great need to have teachers just like her. This helped to spark my interest in choosing to become a teacher.
During my tenth orbit around the sun, I had the chance to view a binary star system at the Cincinnati observatory and have been fascinated by our universe ever since. The Physics teacher who taught me Newton’s Laws and the Math teacher who taught me how to integrate a polynomial helped me take my understanding of the natural world to the next level. I was also influenced profoundly by the History teacher who taught me the folly of the Treaty of Versailles and the English teacher who taught me why Thoreau went into the woods. These teachers struck me as fundamentally genuine people who truly enjoyed their work. Ultimately, knowing them led me to pursue a career in teaching: I wanted to live genuinely as well, to share what I have learned about our universe while continuing to learn more, and, hopefully, to inspire my students to find a passion of their own and pursue it relentlessly.