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Ward stands with two NOYCE grant members, (Left to right) Black Hawk Community College Assistant Professor Jake Winters, NOYCE Scholar and recent graduate Megan Ward and WIU Assistant Professor of Education Jose Pavez.
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New Mercer County High School Science Teacher Credits WIU for Academic and Professional Success

June 11, 2024

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL - - A new chapter begins for Western Illinois University graduate Megan Ward as a science teacher at Mercer County High School in Aledo. Ward attributes her academic achievements and teaching preparedness to the faculty and experiences gained at WIU.

Reflecting on her journey, Ward feels gratitude for the professors who played transformational roles in her educational development.

"I was very fortunate these past few years at WIU," Ward noted. "I had many memorable professors who pushed me to be the best learner I could be, which ultimately has helped me teach and push my students during student teaching."

Among these influential educators was Biological Science Professor Shawn Meagher, whose genetics class was impactful for Ward.

"Dr. Meagher is one professor who pushes his students to learn the most and be their best learners," Ward said.

She also thanks the entire science department, including Biological Sciences Professor Sue Hum, Physics Professor Kishor Kapale, Biological Sciences Senior Instructor Mari M. Aanenson and Biological Sciences Professor Richard Musser.

"These professors imparted knowledge and modeled effective teaching methods that I now implement into my teaching," Ward said.

The teaching department at WIU also played a role in shaping Ward's confidence and teaching skills.

"I cannot thank my supervisors and teachers enough for all of their support and advice these past few years. Lisa Litchfield, Michael Sheerin and Kristen Barclay have all been incredibly supportive," she noted.

Special recognition was given to Mathematics Education Associate Professor Robert Mann for his support throughout the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (NOYCE) Scholarship process.

"Although I did not have the opportunity to take a class with Dr. Mann, his support has been incredibly helpful. This scholarship allowed me to graduate debt-free, which would not have been possible during my final semester," Ward said.

Megan will join the faculty at Mercer County High School this fall, a placement that felt like home from the start.

"I was fortunate to have been placed at Mercer County High School during my student teaching. The school reminded me of home, especially since I moved 90 minutes away to start living with my fiancé. The faculty, administration, students and community have all been amazing," Ward said.

Following the conclusion of her student teaching, Mercer County High School offered Ward a position as a science teacher, an opportunity she eagerly accepted.

"I am honored to be the newest science teacher at Mercer County High School. I am grateful for everything I learned at WIU and for everyone I met there," Ward concluded.

For more information on WIU's NOYCE scholarship opportunities, visit For more information on WIU's Education programs, visit

Posted By: Lexi Yoggerst (
Office of University Communications & Marketing