Teaching Fellows organization kicks off the new year with ten freshmen members

The University of South Carolina Aiken Teaching Fellows organization welcomed 10 new freshman members for the 2023-2024 school year on Wednesday, Aug. 23.

The program, which is in its eighth year, is designed to offer students a unique opportunity to become instructional leaders. Fellows can participate in several professional learning opportunities, seminars, workshops, conferences, and more.

"The program is highly competitive," said Dr. Tim Lintner, program director. "The accomplishments that our teaching fellows have achieved in seven years are staggering. Our students are exceptional, and they represent our university so well."

Calayah Williams is a sophomore early childhood education major and says she loves how close all the members are. "We are a crazy family," she said. "We get hands-on experience our first year."

During the reception, the freshmen introduced themselves by their name, major, and with a creative nickname chosen by Lintner. It's a tradition that started eight years ago with the first cohort of fellows.

"Over the years he's always given us nicknames," said Maggie Hemm, a senior in the program. "Mine is "Mag Pie," which is easy because my name is Maggie. He just comes up with them to make it more of a family feel."

Over the past few years, the fellows have achieved numerous accomplishments, from members being part of prestigious campus organizations like Chancellor's Ambassadors to being recognized with the First-Year Teacher of the Year award. Some members have even continued to become forever fellows following graduation.

Lindsey Calhoun, a 2019 graduate with a degree in early childhood education, was once a teaching fellow. She's now a Montessori Lower Elementary teacher in Charleston, SC at Montessori Community School. Before that Lindsey served in China with the Peace Corps teaching college students English, then South Korea teaching at an English immersion kindergarten. "Teaching Fellows prepared me by showing me how to work hard, stay organized, be a leader, and follow my dreams," she said.

Lindsey's nickname was "John C." after John C. Calhoun because her family is related to the late former vice president of the United States.

Freshmen fellows have a lot to look forward to this semester, such as the annual Freshman Experience where members take the freshmen out to dinner and an escape room. "We started this tradition about five years ago and absolutely love it," Lintner said. "It's all about collaboration, problem-solving, and building community."

The program provides a $24,000 scholarship/loan over four years for up to 200 outstanding high school seniors.

USC Aiken is one of only twelve institutions in the state identified as a Teaching Fellows institution. Members at USC Aiken are expected to actively seek and hold leadership positions. They're also required to complete the Leadership USC Aiken Certificate program, which offers structured on-campus and community-based leadership opportunities.

For more information about the Teaching Fellows Program, contact Dr. Lintner at tlintner@usca.edu or 803-641-3564. 

For more information, contact Angela Saxon, Angela.Saxon@usca.edu