Two Wellesley College Juniors Win 2006 Rockefeller Fellowships
for Aspiring Teachers of Color

For immediate release:
April 28, 2006
Arlie Corday

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Wellesley College juniors Julia Curtis-Burnes of New York City and Melanie Carter of Champaign, Ill., are among the 25 college juniors from across America to be selected for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's 2006 Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color. Each fellow receives up to $22,100 over a five-year period that begins this summer and ends after completion of three years of public school teaching.

The daughter of Elaine Carter of Champaign, Melanie Carter attended the University of Illinois Laboratory High School. At Wellesley, she is an economics major and an education minor and has been elected as president of Ethos, the black student union. She has been a College Government Senator for two years and sits on the Board of Trustees Investment Committee.

“I have been extremely lucky to have had teachers that have encouraged my dreams,” Carter said. “The Rockefeller Brothers' Fund Fellowship will enable me to continue their legacy by giving me the opportunity to inspire a new generation of young people.”

Julia Curtis-Burnes, the daughter of Ruth Curtis and Bill Burnes of New York City, is majoring in peace and justice studies with a concentration in environmental issues in urban development. She worked as an intern at the New York Botanical Garden while still in high school and has conducted research on environmental health as a fellow at the Mount Desert Island Biological lab in Maine.

Last summer she was a Boston Environmental Justice Leadership Fellow with the Environmental Careers Organization, interning with the Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition. This fall she coordinated an environmental justice teen advocacy group in Dorchester, Mass. Through the "Wellesley in Washington" Program, she will work as an intern this summer for the Watershed Protection Division's Environmental Education and Outreach Programs.

“I think the key to educational equality is getting youth exposed to as many opportunities as possible, so that they are able to develop well-rounded interests,” said Curtis-Burnes. “I am and will always consider myself a public school kid. When I was in elementary and secondary school, I remember how influential my teachers and mentors were who encouraged me to get to where I am today. I would love nothing more to do the same for other youth, and I am so pleased and honored that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has given me that chance.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, by 2014, an estimated 50 million children will be enrolled in public schools across the nation. More than half of them are expected to be students of color. Yet, today, only 10 percent of U.S. public school teachers are people of color.

" With the profound demographic shifts in public classrooms across the U.S., the Fellowships address the need for more people of color in the teaching profession," said Miriam Aneses, director of the Rockefeller Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color.

Incoming Fellows are required to complete a summer project between their junior and senior years. Planned jointly by Fellows and their mentors, the projects provide students with direct teaching experience with children or youth. Projects are presented at a summer workshop, which will be held this year from Aug. 3-6 in the Washington, D.C. area.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to