Locations | A - Z Index | Directory | Calendar   Search Icon
University Home
University of Idaho logo

2011 Wright Fellowship Students


Wright fellows

Anticipating four semesters of intense learning, 10 new Wright Fellows arrived on campus June 13 to begin their first summer study session that will ultimately earn them a master’s degree in education. This elite group of teachers, chosen for their experience, success, and passion for teaching, will complete their degree programs in 2012 and join the ranks of other Wright Fellows who are now making a positive difference in their schools and districts.

Few teachers have the time or the funds to pursue a graduate degree, thus, the Wright Fellowship program is designed to assist teachers in getting their degrees while still teaching. The Fellowship also provides $10,900 per student each year – a big incentive to apply. A new cohort of nine to ten teachers is selected each year from a competitive application pool and begins it’s first summer semester on the Moscow campus in concert with the previous year cohort, which is finishing up its final semester.

Most Wright Fellows agree that earning a master’s degree will inevitably improve their teaching, as well as their potential for personal growth and increased pay. Amanda Holland, an elementary school teacher in Boise, says, “My desire to continually improve both personally and professionally has brought me to the U of I to pursue my master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. I am looking forward to being inspired by the practice of others in my profession, learning how to better my own instruction, and learning how to be a better teacher leader.”

University of Idaho alum Thomas Wright created the Wright Fellowship to help teachers realize their full potential. After teaching and publishing educational books for years, he dedicated his life to philanthropy. Each year he provides the funds for a new cohort of teachers to earn their master’s degree, and over the past 11 years has helped more than 100 teachers earn graduate degrees.

This year marks the tweflth year of the Wright Fellowship. In 2009, the College of Education hosted a 10-year reunion for the Wright Fellows on the Moscow campus. During the celebration, Tom Wright met Wright Fellows and heard numerous emotional testimonies from them about the impact their Fellowships have had on their teaching. Most Wright Fellows say their master’s degree has had a profound affect on their teaching and leadership abilities. New cohorts begin planning their research projects soon after they arrive on campus, which most often includes hands-on projects within their own schools, benefiting their students, their schools, and other teachers.

“I am hoping that, through my coursework, I will gain further knowledge about how to effectively teach children in poverty,” says Tonya Hansel of Idaho Falls. Hansel teaches at Bridgewater Elementary in Boise – a school with a high population of children in poverty. “The Wright Fellowship has provided me the opportunity to enhance my career and abilities as an educator in Idaho. Being chosen for this program is truly an honor.”

The 2011-12 Wright Fellows cohort includes Tonya Hansel of Bridgewater Elementary in Idaho Falls, Nicasio Usabel of Jordan Valley High School in Oregon; Amanda Holland of Shadow Hills Elementary in Boise; Mary Jackson of Lewiston Senior High School; Rachele Asbury of Mountain Home High School; Nathan Whatcott of Kellogg Middle School; Carolyn Jensen of Russell Elementary in Moscow; Jennifer Antoniette of Skyway Elementary in Coeur d’Alene; Shawn Tiegs of Nezperce High School in Nezperce; and Jason Huff of Moscow High School.

For more information about the Wright Fellowship, visit www.uidaho.edu/ed/handsonexperience/wrightfellowship, call 208-885-6772, or email msaul@uidaho.edu. Applications open in the spring.