NHS biology teacher selected as Kenan Fellow

Published 10:00 am Saturday, May 11, 2024

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Casey Lewis Schulte, a biology teacher at Northside High School, has been named a 2024 – 2025 Kenan Fellow, one of 38 educators chosen from North Carolina public schools. The announcement was made by the Kenan Fellows Program at North Carolina State University on May 7.

Schulte’s selection into this fellowship is part of a broader initiative that immerses K-12 educators in industry and research settings, transforming these experiences into educational resources for their schools and communities. This summer, Schulte will collaborate with the Volt Center in Craven County, focusing on clean energy technologies like photovoltaic cells and wind power.

“The opportunity to partner with the Volt Center is not just about the professional development but the immense potential it brings to our students at Northside,” said Schulte. She emphasized the importance of providing practical and lucrative career pathways for students, especially those not pursuing four-year degrees.

Schulte, who was first introduced to the Kenan Fellows during her graduate studies, described the application process as highly competitive and rigorous.

“I believe I was one of 38 selected out of 300 applicants,” recalled Schulte. 

The process included obtaining recommendations, writing essays and engaging in a series of interviews.

“The application opened in the fall,” noted Schulte. “I had to get letters of recommendation and then, if you make it to the semifinal round, you go through an interview process with the industry partners you could potentially work with.”

As a Kenan Fellow, Schulte will spend three weeks this summer working directly with industry experts. Beyond the hands-on experience, she will develop projects and community outreach initiatives that other teachers across the state can use. 

“It’s about building a community that advocates for educators and connects us across North Carolina, no matter where we are located,” she added.

Schulte’s motivation for pursuing this fellowship is deeply personal and driven by her desire to enhance STEM education opportunities for her students, including her own children. 

“I want Northside High School to be known for its STEM education,” explained Schulte. “I’m doing this for my children and all the other kids who deserve these opportunities.”

Following her onboarding in June at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) in Cullowhee, Schulte will undertake her fellowship at the Volt Center. This will be the beginning of what she hopes will be a transformative experience not just for her but for the entire educational community she serves.