Jessica Thomulka presents her poster from the 2016 Experiential Education Awards ceremony, presented by The Career Center.
Three Seton Hall alumnae have been selected as 2016 Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows. Jessica Thomulka ’16, Becca Dambrosia ’16 and DiAsia Brooks ’12 were among only 62 fellows across New Jersey selected to the highly competitive program.
The prestigious Woodrow Wilson New Jersey Teaching Fellows program is part of a statewide effort to encourage committed and talented scholars with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) backgrounds to teach in some of New Jersey’s secondary schools in high need. Each fellow receives a $30,000 stipend to complete a specialized master’s program in one of the program’s five partner universities, and in return, commit to teaching for three years in one of the urban or rural schools that are most in need. The program also includes a strong mentorship component so that the Fellows receive the support and guidance necessary for successful completion of the program.
The Seton Hall alumnae who won fellowships this year all demonstrated a strong focus in STEM from the beginning. Both Jessica and Becca received support from Seton Hall’s Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship Program , with Jessica being the program’s last four-year scholar (the funding is now available only to students in their sophomore year and up), while Becca received research funding for two summer semesters.
During her time at Seton Hall, Becca, a chemistry major, participated in a number of research opportunities/programs -- most noticeably her long-term participation in Professor Wyatt Murphy’s lab beginning her freshman year. She learned about the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship after realizing she had a desire to be a teacher. This led her to Seton Hall’s Career Center, where she came across the application for the Fellowship. She plans on becoming a chemistry teacher and is currently pursuing her master’s at The College of New Jersey.
Jessica, a chemistry and philosophy major, began her research in Professor Sergiu Gorun’s lab and was supported by grants for several summers. While at Seton Hall, she took classes through the University Honors program and also minored in legal studies in business. Jessica learned of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship through a recruiter at a career fair held at Seton Hall and was moved to apply because she “realized that becoming a teacher would be my ideal profession. The Fellowship attracted me because it allows me to further my own education and get hands-on classroom experience.”
Jessica credits Seton Hall with emphasizing the concept of servant leadership, which helped her on her path to receiving this Fellowship. “Seton Hall instilled in me a passion for servant leadership, and I am honored to carry out the values associated with the University.” She is also grateful to the Career Center for helping her develop and polish her resume and interview skills. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at Rowan University and looks forward to a future as a STEM teacher.