Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Helps Chemistry Student Pursue Life-Long Dream

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

With his recent acceptance to the University of Michigan as a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow, Anthony Tedaldi ’13C, ’14G is about to fulfill a childhood dream. “I’ve wanted to be a high school teacher since I was seven years old,” he said.  

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship recruits individuals with backgrounds in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and trains them to teach in high-need secondary schools in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and New Jersey. A high-need school is defined as having “a variety of challenges in helping students achieve academic success.” The program has attracted individuals from varied walks of life, including current undergraduates, recent college graduates, midcareer professionals, and retirees. At Michigan, Tedaldi will earn a master’s degree in secondary education and will teach in a high-need school in the Ann Arbor area.

A Brooklyn, NY, native, Tedaldi earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. John’s and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in the field. He will graduate from the University this May. He credits his current success to his professors, saying, “They have such passion for what they do.” He applied for the fellowship with encouragement from Alison Hyslop, Ph.D., associate professor and chair, Department of Chemistry.

 “When the fellowship announcement came across my desk, the first person I thought of was Anthony,” Hyslop said. “He embodies St. John's values of excellence and service, and he’ll undoubtedly inspire students to succeed and enjoy science.”

Tedaldi, an adjunct special lecturer of chemistry at SJU, believes that successful teachers must synthesize book smarts and people skills.  “People who hate science didn’t have relatable science teachers in high school,” he said. “I hope I can change that when I get to Michigan.”    

Tedaldi knew he wanted to attend SJU after taking an SAT course on the Queens campus while in high school. “I admired the teachers who taught the prep class, the campus was beautiful, and the people were warm,” Tedaldi said. “I only wanted to apply to St. John’s.”

His three-year program at Michigan begins June 16. After one year of study, he will begin teaching in a secondary school. Tedaldi has been awarded a $30,000 stipend and plans to teach for at least three years in a high-need school. After completing the program, he’ll become a lifelong member of the network of Woodrow Wilson Fellows, who are recognized as intellectual leaders in the STEM teaching fields throughout the country.

Tedaldi recalls that early in his days at St. John’s, a photo taken of him at freshmen Orientation was posted on the University’s home page. “With this story, my time at St. John’s will end on the website, too,” he said. “It’s bittersweet.”