A physics teacher at South Warren High School is among nine science, technology, engineering and math teachers from across the country named 2019-20 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows.
Matthew Bryant, who has been teaching at SWHS for five years, is part of a group that will spend 11 months serving in a federal agency or U.S. congressional office in Washington.
“I feel like I have a lot of responsibility, but I’m also super excited to do it and looking forward to all the adventures as a result,” Bryant told the Daily News, adding that he feels humbled by the opportunity and honored to be chosen.
Now in its 29th year, the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program allows teachers to use their classroom knowledge and experiences to shape national education program or education policy efforts.
Although he isn’t yet sure who he’ll be working with, Bryant said he’s preparing to work in a congressional office and is planning for interviews with the offices of several lawmakers. His work will focus on education issues related to the science, technology, engineering and math fields.
According to the program’s website, fellows spend their time applying their classroom knowledge and experience to national education program or education policy efforts. Once their experience is finished, they return home with a national network of education leaders and programs and a better understanding of challenges in STEM education.
The fellowship program is managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, with sponsoring agencies including the National Science Foundation, the Library of Congress and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Currently in his 19th year as a teacher, Bryant said he’d thought about applying for the fellowship for years. The rigorous application process required him to write several essays and letters of recommendation, one of which was written by South Warren High School Principal Jenny Hester.
“We are so proud of Mr. Bryant for being selected as an Albert Einstein Fellow,” Hester told the Daily News in an email. “We know that the experiences of our educators have a direct impact on the teaching and learning that takes place in their classroom. I have no doubt that when Mr. Bryant returns, our students will benefit from the knowledge and experiences Mr. Bryant is afforded through this program.”
Going forward, Bryant said he feels humbled to essentially be representing STEM teachers across the country. Through the experience, he wants to grow as a physics teacher, learn how government works from the inside and bring that experience back to his students.
“I’m hoping to bring back all kinds of ideas for the classroom to use,” he said.