Kate Miller, a May 2011 graduate of the University of Michigan Physics Department and winner of the Writ & Mary Cornwell Prize, has been awarded Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship (KSTF). The five-year, $175,000 fellowship will support her studies in the Master’s in Education program at the University of Pennsylvania and through her first years as a high school science teacher.

Kate Miller is one of 34 beginning high school teachers in the United States to win the award this year. The highly competitive five-year KSTF Teaching Fellowships, among the most comprehensive in the nation, were awarded to a diverse group of early-career teachers.

“We cannot improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education without recruiting and keeping excellent STEM teachers in the profession,” said Dr. Nicole Gillespie, KSTF’s Director of Teaching Fellowships. “The 34 new Fellows join a growing cadre of exceptional KSTF teachers whose knowledge, commitment and leadership are transforming math and science education from the inside.”

In college, Kate worked on an academic coaching project with students in U-M introductory physics courses and was president of the U-M Society of Women in Physics. At U-M, Kate also became interested in physics education research, writing an honors senior thesis exploring the gender gap in performance of students in U-M introductory physics courses.

“The public needs to recognize the exceptional teachers - those who are well prepared in their content AND have extensively studied the art of teaching and learning,” said Miller.

Her mentor Physics Professor Tim McKay said, “Kate worked hard during her time at Michigan to build content expertise in physics, extensive experience with teaching and assessment, and a deep appreciation of the importance of dealing with each student as an individual. I think she will become an exceptional high school teacher – the kind who changes lives.”

The 2011 recipient of the U-M Physics Department's Wirt and Mary Cornwell Prize, Kate looks forward to “conveying physics to my students in a way that would reignite their innate curiosity about seemingly mundane events.”

Kate is the second U-M Physics graduate to receive a Knowles Fellowship. The first was Erin McCamish, who also won both the Cornwell Prize and Knowles Fellowship when she graduated in 2007. Erin is now a successful high school physics teacher in Lansing, New York.