Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart

Fellowship Placement: National Science Foundation
Hometown: Manassas, VA

Michael Stewart is a Secondary Science teacher from Prince William County, Virginia. Michael is a seven-year veteran of public education in Virginia, most recently teaching at Unity Reed High School in Prince William County Schools. Michael is fully certified to teach every science in the state of Virginia and has experience teaching: International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), General, and Active Physics, General and Special Education Chemistry, General and Special Education Earth Science, and General Biology. Michael has taught science to all secondary levels: Freshmen through Seniors.

Originally hailing from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Michael earned his Bachelors of Science in Biology and Bachelors of Science in Psychology from West Virginia University, in 2012. Following graduation Michael worked within the Pathology Department at Ruby Memorial Hospital and at a veterinary clinic in Morgantown, WV. Michael then pursued and earned his Masters of Arts in Secondary Science Education from West Virginia University, in 2016.

Upon earning his Masters, Michael moved to Virginia to begin teaching at West Springfield High School in Fairfax County Public Schools. After three years, Michael transitioned to Unity Reed High School in 2019. Central to transferring schools was Michael’s desire to bring strong science-, and, especially, Physics-pedagogy to underserved and under-represented student populations; Unity Reed High School continues to serve a highly diverse student body. The limited diversity of many scientific fields is widely recognized across educational and scientific communities, and Michael aimed at using his teaching career to benefit diverse students.

While teaching at Unity Reed High School, Michael sought to address the schools extremely limited Physics-pedagogy and widespread student-avoidance of the Physics curriculum. Michael independently evaluated Unity Reed High School's entire collection of scientific laboratory equipment to identify opportunities to improve student learning experiences and teacher pedagogy. Michael then pursued and was awarded thousands of dollars in grants for new and improved equipment. Of particular note, Michael was awarded $5,000 from the Toshiba America Foundation in 2020. In 2021, Michael built the curriculum for and taught IB Physics 1; this was the first time in over a decade that IB Physics, or any advanced physics course, had been offered at Unity Reed High School.

In addition to improving Physics pedagogy, Michael consistently worked to inform students about their STEM career options and higher education pathways. Michael particularly encouraged his young women and minority students towards the Physical Sciences, Computer Sciences, and technical programs and opportunities offered at local community colleges. On a personal level, Michael is a highly enthusiastic, optimistic, and engaged person who is deeply focused on building creative solutions to our local, national, and global problems. Michael operates under the perspective that: Within every challenge exists opportunity. Now entering the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educators Fellowship at the National Science Foundation, Michael is aiming to maximize upon this opportunity to explore and benefit the dynamics of STEM-accessibility to under-represented groups and women, the major challenges facing American Public Education and America’s community of public-school teachers, and our global challenge of Climate Change.