The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN foundation offers teaching fellowship

Komal Achhnani, 21, and Christine Musgrove, 24, stand outside Santa Susana Hall, which houses CSUN’s graduate math department. Photo Credit: Elano Pizzicarola / Staff Reporter

CSUN’s National Science Foundation is offering college graduates an opportunity to participate in a teaching fellowship program. It is aimed at funding, training and supporting participants’ journeys toward earning a math-related master’s, with a goal to nurture them as future teachers.

The program offers students two paths: earn a master’s degree in Mathematics or in Mathematics Education.  A five-year plan is set accordingly to each emphasis, but both focus on earning a single-subject teaching credential, gain real experience as a full-time teacher and continue teaching while working on the degree.

During the course of the program, the fellows will receive $65,000 in stipends and salary supplements over the five years. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act fund the program.

Only two students participated in the program last fall, Komal Achhnani, 21, and Christine Musgrove, 24. Both said  the perks that are included with the fellowship have allowed them to pursue their goals.

“Without the fellowship, I wouldn’t be able to get my teaching credential,” said Musgrove, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in Spring 2009. “If I wasn’t given this opportunity, I wouldn’t be able to afford tuition or rent while student teaching.”

Kellie Evans, a CSUN math professor and coordinator of the program, said she has made it her personal mission to get more qualified math teachers in the public school system. Her vocation has enabled her to do so.

“I’ve been advising for students many years,” she said. “(The fellowship) is a good opportunity for us to support more students.”

A second cohort will be accepted for the upcoming academic year and applications are now being received. Priority deadline is scheduled for April 1.  Eight students will be selected.

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. They need to have passing scores from the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET),  Mathematics Subject Matter Exams Part I-III; GRE Subject Matter or Praxis exams may be used instead. Also, they must satisfy admission requirements for CSUN’s credential program and its master’s degree program qualification.

Supplemental applications materials and information are available via the math department’s website.

For prospective applicants, current fellows offer words of wisdom.

Achhnani said that interested applicants should consider that program is rigorous and they should seek advice from peers before making the decision.  She said she researched the options and found the pathway suited her interests best.

“Teaching allows me to influence the lives of so many students at an age where they are amendable to change,” Achhnani said. “I want to provide these students with the same guidance and benefits that I received from my parents and teachers.”

Fellow Musgrove encourages those considering the program to follow through with the application process.

“You get paid to go to school and pursue your dream,” she said. “This fellowship will set you up with some amazing contacts and you will build relationships and bonds with others in your field.”

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