John Holcomb (MS14) Named Knowles Science Teaching Fellow

John Holcomb (MS14) Named Knowles Science Teaching Fellow

John Holcomb

John Holcomb, an August 2014 graduate of the Master of Science in Education Program (MSEd), was named a teaching fellow through the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF). Selected from a pool of more than 180 applicants, Holcomb is one of 32 exceptionally talented, early-career science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers to be awarded a 2014 KSTF Teaching Fellowship.

KSTF seeks to improve STEM education by building a cadre of networked leading teachers, who are trained and supported as leaders from the beginning of their careers.  The KSTF Teaching Fellows Program — the Foundation’s signature program — offers stipends, funds for professional development, grants for teaching materials, and opportunities for leadership development and mentoring through a comprehensive five-year fellowship.

This fall, Holcomb will begin his first year of teaching at UIC College Prep in Chicago, where he will teach biochemistry to seniors. A native of Mahtomedi, Minnesota, Holcomb is committed to teaching science to high school students in the U.S.

“I applied for a Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship for the ongoing support and resources that it offers brand-new teachers like myself,” says Holcomb. “KSTF is powerful because it brings together individuals whose passions represent a host of science, math and engineering disciplines. Being around other fellows means that I am continually exposed to new ideas and methods for helping my students understand that science is interconnected and indeed relevant to their daily lives.”

Holcomb had a specific reason for wanting to be trained as a teacher through SESP. When he was younger and intimidated by math and science, Holcomb received inspiration from three talented calculus, chemistry and physics teachers. “I owe these individuals for the academic successes I experienced in college and graduate school. Today I am a science teacher not only because I love solving math and science problems, but also because I want to be a teacher who students fondly remember as playing a role in their success,” he explains.

“I chose Northwestern’s MSEd program for its stellar reputation and because I knew it would put me on a path to do just that.”

The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation was established by Janet H. and C. Harry Knowles in 1999 to increase the number of high-quality high school science and mathematics teachers and ultimately, improve math and science education in the United States. KSTF teaching fellowships are awarded based on the potential to develop content knowledge, exemplary teaching practices and the qualities of a teacher leader.

Applications for 2015 KSTF Teaching Fellowships are now being accepted. Details about the application process can be found at

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 4/7/16