Grantville resident and former Newnan High School student Rebecca Dyes is one of two Georgians to receive a five-year fellowship in biology from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) valued at $150,000.
A 2011 KSTF recipient, Dyes is currently completing a graduate degree in microbiology at Georgia State University and will graduate in summer 2012.
Dyes majored in biology and minored in chemistry at Clayton College and State University. As an undergraduate, Rebecca worked at the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety research laboratory, assisting on dairy cattle research projects and with oyster collection along the Georgia coast. After graduation, Dyes worked for the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture, Food Microbiology and Food Safety Laboratory, helping ensure that Georgia’s food producers met proper regulatory guidelines, according to KSTF.
KSTF in its consideration for the awarding the fellowship said Dyes has loved science and animals from a very young age, volunteering at different nature and animal rehabilitation centers during her time at Newnan High School. The first person in her family to pursue a four-year college degree, Dyes initially had doubts about her ability to succeed. Her teachers convinced her otherwise.
“I had excellent teachers who encouraged me to pursue bigger goals. It was my science teachers who motivated me to pursue college in the first place.” said Dyes, adding that she hopes to put her degree in microbiology to work in Georgia’s public school system. “I hope to encourage students to pursue their goals and show them the many ways that science applies to their everyday lives.”
Dyes’ commitment to her family also figured in to the fellowship award.
“The fall after her graduation, Rebecca’s 14 year-old cousin was placed in foster care. To keep the family together, Rebecca took on the challenge of giving him a permanent home. In an effort to be more involved in her young cousin’s life, she began tutoring him and his friends. At the same time, she volunteered with youth group projects in her church. These experiences inspired her to become a teacher,” said KSTF spokesperson Milena Perez Schmidt.
The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) 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. The KSTF Teaching Fellowship, the Foundation’s signature program, awards exceptional young men and women with a five-year early-career fellowship, empowering them to become master teachers and leaders in education.
KSTF awarded its first four Teaching Fellowships in 2002. To date, there are 190 Teaching Fellows and alumni nationwide across 40 states. Since the program’s inception, KSTF Fellows have impacted more than 150,000 students.