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The Woodrow Wilson Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color



If you are interested in the WW-RBF Fellowship, you must be nominated by a participating institution. Learn more here about how to seek a nomination. The nomination period is now closed.

As of fall 2014, for the first time, white students no longer comprise the majority of public school students in the United States—and yet recent studies (Ahmad and Boser, Ingersoll) suggest that just 18 percent of the nation’s teachers are teachers of color, and that teachers of color leave the profession at higher rates than their white counterparts. The nation’s growing population of students of color needs teachers of color as role models and guides. The goal of the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund (WW-RBF) Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color is to help recruit, support, and retain individuals of color as K-12 public school teachers in the United States.

Fellowship Details

Without enough good teachers, urban and rural young people are systematically denied promising futures at a time when the jobs capable of supporting a family require a minimum of a high school diploma and the highest skill and knowledge levels in history.

Funded through a $5 million grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the WW-RBF Fellowship offers support for teacher candidates of color to complete master’s degree programs in education and become excellent educators who ensure student success in high-need schools.

In 2015, the WW-RBF program will name eight (8) Fellows. To date, between the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Fellowship program has supported 434 Fellows. The 2010 Fellows class was the first selected under the administration of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

The Fellowship includes:

  • a $30,000 stipend to apply toward the cost of a master’s degree at a participating graduate program
  • preparation in a high-need public school
  • mentoring throughout the three-year teaching commitment
  • guidance toward teaching certification
  • lifelong membership in a national network of Woodrow Wilson Fellows who are intellectual leaders

The Commitment
As part of their commitment to ensuring the success of students in high-need schools, Fellows teach for at least three years in an urban or rural school district. Continuation as a teacher of record is contingent on the Fellow’s completion of the master’s degree and obtaining appropriate teaching licensure.


The Fellowship program seeks to expand the pool of outstanding candidates teaching in urban and rural schools by recruiting exceptionally able arts and sciences majors for whom teaching is a new career option. A qualified applicant should meet the following requirements:

  • • be a self-identified person of color in his/her senior year of undergraduate preparation
  • • be nominated by an eligible nominating institution
  • • demonstrate a commitment to the program and its goals
  • • have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
  • • expect to attain a bachelor’s degree by June 30, 2015
  • • have substantial background in the arts and sciences and high academic performance with a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale (negotiable for applicants from institutions that do not employ a 4.0 GPA scale)
  • • not currently be in a teacher preparation program that leads to initial teacher certification.

If you have questions about these criteria, or feel that your situation requires special consideration, email Audra M. Watson.

Contact Us

Please email the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships staff if you have further questions.

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