Erika Bland and Matthew Wilson, teacher credential candidates at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School, were named Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Fellows. The KSTF Teaching Fellowships, a five-year program, supports, sustains, and inspires exceptional young men and women committed to making a difference as science and mathematics teachers in U.S. high schools. The program provides financial support for tuition assistance, grants, and professional development; professional support in the form of meetings, mentoring, and resources; and a strong, like-minded community of outstanding professional teachers. Fewer than 250 Knowles Fellowships have been awarded since 2002; this year only 32 fellows were named nationwide and only 10 were for life science. Two of those 10 are the fellows from the Gevirtz School.
Erika Bland is a Noyce Scholar and Matthew Wilson is a Tuohy Scholar in the Teacher Education Program at UC Santa Barbara.
The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation was established in 1999 by Janet H. and C. Harry Knowles to cultivate and support exemplary science and mathematics high school teachers and develop the next generation of leaders in education.
Erika Bland graduated from UCSB with a Bachelor's in Aquatic Biology, but her main focus and passion has always been marine science and ecology. She began teaching outreach marine science while at UCSB, and continued to do so following graduation at the Marine Science Institute in Redwood City, CA. She absolutely loved the excitement brought about by hands-on experiences in the field, and began pursuing a teaching career to bring these memorable experiences into the classroom. Bland feels so fortunate to have the support and guidance of her advisors and fellow student teachers, and is honored to be accepted as a part of the Knowles community. She is so grateful for the opportunity this fellowship will provide to work with experienced, knowledgeable teachers and scientists to help her improve her own practice.
After graduating from UCSB in Biology and English, Matt Wilson worked as a freshwater ecologist at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (UCSB), studying aquatic insects in Sierra Nevada streams. He went on to earn an M.S. in Wildlife Biology (Freshwater Ecology) from the University of Montana, where he taught as a graduate teaching assistant. He enjoyed this teaching experience so much that he decided to pursue education as a career. Wilson feels lucky to be working with fantastic advisors and peers in the Teacher Education Program. He values teacher collaboration and self-reflection and sees this fellowship as a terrific opportunity to establish these practices in his first few years of teaching.