Madison West teacher awarded fellowship

Helen Yan, who received a fellowship prize, said she hopes to set a good example for many of her students in STEM classes. 

Image By: Courtesy of Knowles Science Foundation

Madison West chemistry teacher and UW-Madison grad Helen Yan won a teaching fellowship earlier this month, distributed by the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation.

The KSTF, which has awarded over 250 fellowships to the most promising teachers around the country, “seeks to improve STEM education by building a stable, sustainable cadre of networked leading teachers” according to Ebony Freeman, communications and development manager at the foundation.

Broken up into three phases throughout the first five years of teaching, the fellowship helps talented new teachers to identify their strengths in the field and develop professional connections.

On top of this, the fellowship also awards its members with stipends, funding for professional development, grants for teaching materials and leadership opportunities.

Yan received her master’s degree in inorganic chemistry in 2011.

In her first year of teaching at Madison West High School, Yan said she hopes her fellowship will help her encourage students to pursue careers in the STEM field and to “demonstrate that [succeeding in chemistry] is something all of her students are capable of.”

Yan noted that because chemistry classes are the first courses that college STEM students take, it is especially important to leave a positive impression on students early in their education.

Moving forward, Yan said she is hopeful that Madison-area schools will try to improve the STEM learning experience.

Yan also said one way to achieve this goal is for counselors and teachers to “set a good example by being positive about students and their abilities in science classes.”

This article has been updated Oct. 28 at 7:33 p.m. to clarify language on the number of phases of the award and who else won the award.

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