MAT Alumni

MAT Alumni

Meet some of the Alumni of the Public Elementary and Secondary concentration.

Public Elementary and Secondary Alumni

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Mayan Baram, Hebrew '18

My name is Mayan Baram, part of the MAT/Delet program.Mayan Baram I have lived in three different countries and have traveled multiple paths to arrive to this exciting point in my life. I was born in Russia and lived there through my teenage years. At that time it was a very strict society. As a teenager I moved to Israel with my family. I was amazed by the diverse Israeli culture. I managed a successful career as a retail manager in a drugstore chain. Moving to Boston made me rethink my values and priorities. I started to work at a day school as a Hebrew language teacher and ther I feel that I have found my vocation. I applied to the MAT program in order to become professional teacher. I’m passionate about passing my knowledge and life experience to my students. I hope they will share my enthusiasm of learning new languages.

Update: Mayan interned at Striar Hebrew Academy in Sharon, MA and her research was entitled "Reading Comprehension in Hebrew Class." After graduating from the MAT program, Mayan will be returning to Striar Hebrew Academy to teach.

Jessie Brunett, Secondary English '18

My name is Jessie Brunett. I'm part of the Secondary MAT - English Concentration. Jessie Brunett I graduated with a bachelor's degree in English at Adams State University in Colorado. Before deciding on Brandeis I have lived in three different states, gaining experience in communication, management, and leadership. I believe it is important to know who you are, and what you stand for because as a teacher you can bring all of your experiences, and learning curves to the table in order to see eye to eye with future students. I have worked in a shoe store, I have been a manager at a high-end retail store and I have produced blog posts for a fashion brand in Los Angeles. My goal is to teach with intent in discovering English as a way of expressing creativity. To help inspire students that literature and writing are outlets to understanding the world around us, others, and ourselves, and I have committed to Brandeis to accelerate that passion.

Update: Jessie completed her internship at Waltham High School teaching English to freshmen and sophomores. Her original research was entitled "The Sound of Engagement: Sparking Culturally Relevant Beats with Hip-Hop Music and Student Engagement."

Beth Defossez, BA/BS-MAT '18

I'm Beth, and I'm a rising senior in the BA/MAT elementary program. I'm majoring in Education Studies,Beth Defossez and minoring in elementary education and anthropology. I'm also the captain of the varsity track team at Brandeis. Brandeis' emphasis on social justice in teaching really resonates with me. I'm passionate in the belief that all students deserve to be listened to and supported, while receiving high quality education. I love working with children, as they never cease to provide me with new, unique ways of looking at the world. I'm excited to continue my studies at Brandeis in the MAT program, and continue to grow my skills as a teacher.

Update: Beth interned at Bishop Elementary School in Arlington, MA. Her research was entitled "Making Math Fun: Effects of Whole-Class Engagement Strategies." After graduation from the MAT program, Beth will continue working at Bishop Elementary School as a fourth grade teacher.

Rafi Diamond, Secondary English '18

Rafi Diamond is part of the BA/BS MAT Program-Secondary English concentration. Rafi DiamondHe is a senior, in the process of completing a BA in English. Rafi has spent a majority of his extracurricular time as a leader in both Hillel at Brandeis and the Undergraduate Theater Collective. These experiences provided him with the creative and leadership outlets to promote spaces which celebrated community and excellence. He found directing especially rewarding as a means of cultivating the artistic potential in his peers. He sees teaching as an extension of this drive. Especially as a secondary English teacher, he knows that he will have the chance to illuminate theater, literature and art for his students and drive them to find the meaning and the tools to express themselves in this work. He hopes that the MAT program will help him to empower his students to find what inspires them and to teach them to advocate for their individual pursuit of knowledge.

Update: Rafi completed his student-teaching at Framingham High School and his teacher research was entitled "Talking About Talking."

Tommy Gao, Secondary Chinese '18

My name is Tommy Gao. I am from Tianjin, China. Tommy Gao I am currently a part of the BA/BS Secondary MAT Program with a concentration in teaching Chinese language. I am also pursuing a bachelor's degree in Business. I have always been interested in making a difference in the classroom and was initially doing the elementary minor program. Upon learning about the MAT in Secondary Chinese, I became interested and switched to the secondary program. Now, my goal is to to educate those who have interest in the Chinese language and culture as a high school teacher in the U.S.

Update: Tommy interned at Boston Latin School and his research was entitled "Teaching Chinese to the Chinese: Heritage Learners in a Language Classroom." Tommy has accepted a position teaching at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Georgia.

Kiana Khozein, Secondary Mathematics '18

I recently graduated from Brandeis with a B.S. in Computer Science (with honors)Kiana Khozein and minors in Classical Studies and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Before enrolling in the MAT program, I worked as a web developer, primarily working on apps for special education. I have always been interested in teaching, holding various mentorship and tutoring positions in math and computer science since high school. Both my project history as a web developer and my passion for teaching stem from a deeper, personal conviction to affect a net good on the world; I consider the quote “Work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship” to be a personal credo, and aspire to live my life by it. I chose the Brandeis MAT program because I felt that it would prepare me to be the best teacher I could be - not only an expert in my subject, but a tool for training young minds to hold dear the principles of equality, justice, and radical social change.

Update: Kiana interned at Waltham High School and her research was entitled "Guiding Discovery: An Analysis of Inquiry Based Learning in Secondary Mathematics." After completing the MAT program, Kiana will be teaching mathematics in a middle school in the San Francisco Bay area.

Rachel Kriegsman, Public Elementary '18

Rachel Kriegsman is a current BA/MAT student at Brandeis University.  Rachel KriegsmanRachel has worked at the Museum of Science in Boston for the past 6 years.  Her work with children at the museum was instrumental in her decision to pursue a career in teaching.  In particular, her favorite part of working at the museum is exposing the children to something new and watching their faces light up when they realize that they understand the subject matter.  It is her hope that she will be the type of teacher that encourages students to become lifelong learners and caring individuals.   

Update: Rachel did her student teaching at Cabot Elementary School in Newton, MA and her research was entitled "Let's Get Moving: The Impact of Movement Breaks in a First Grade Classroom.Rachel has accepted a first-grade teaching position at Ashland Public Schools.

Xiaoting Lyu, Secondary Chinese '18

I transferred from Northeastern University in China to Brandeis in my junior Xiaoting Lyuyear where I majored in International and Global Studies and Education Studies. I have experienced culture shock and also met wonderful people here. The academic atmosphere at Brandeis is something that encouraged me to stay in this institution and continue my studies as a MAT student. I know the impact teachers can have on their students and, as a future teacher, I am willing to become one who can give students an enjoyable learning experience. As a Chinese teacher, I know that I am not only teaching the language but also Chinese culture, something I am also passionate to share to my future students. I believe my 14 months MAT experience will be unforgettable!

Update: Xiaoting interned at Weston High School and her research was entitled "Improve Reading Comprehension in a Mandarin Class: The Use of Graphic Organizers." Xiaoting has accepted a position teaching at a public school in Kansas City, Missouri.

Steven Magenheim, Public Elementary '18

I am originally from Washington D.C. I graduated from the Pennsylvania State University, Steven MagenheimCollege of Earth and Mineral Sciences in May 2015 with a degree in Energy, Business, and Finance. After graduation the spark wasn't there to enter the business world, but the spark was there to enter the classroom. I began teaching at Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Center in Kensington, MD. While teaching, I have gained practical experience that has solidified my desire to pursue a career as a licensed educator. I have chosen Brandeis' MAT program because it aligns closely with my desired educational goals and aspirations. I wanted a program that was based on preparing quality educators who are inspired, creative, determined, and dedicated.

Update: Steven interned at Horace Mann Elementary School in Newton, MA. His original research was entitled "Four Frames: My Guide to a Successful Elementary Math Class." After graduation, Steven will be moving to the Washington DC area to teach fourth grade at Milton Jewish Day School.

Katherine Quinn, Secondary Physics '18

In my PT days (pre-teacher), I received a BS from Caltech in Geophysics, a PhD from MIT in Geophysics,Katy Quinn a post-doc at NASA/JPL, and had an awesome career as a research scientist at Atmospheric and Environmental Research in Lexington. I believe science compels you to be both a lifelong learner and a lifelong teacher. Science is by its nature collaborative, and how can I pass on my research findings or collaborate with other scientists if I can’t effectively share my work? So I’ve always felt that sharing my passion for science is part of the essence of doing science. I'm so excited to be coming to Brandeis, to learn the best ways to teach. I can't wait to start teaching and raising up a new generation of scientists and lifelong learners.

Update: Katherine did her student teaching at Framingham High School and her research was entitled "Homework in a High School Physics Classroom: Links to Grades and Engagement." She will remain at Framingham High School as a full-time teacher upon graduation from the MAT program.

Abigail Rothstein, Secondary English '18

Abigail newly graduated from Brandeis University (’17) with a Bachelor of Arts in Education Studies Abigail Rothstein and minors in Environmental Studies and Social Justice & Social Policy. During her undergraduate career, Abigail worked in a variety of school environments—including Stanley Elementary as a Jewish Big Sister, Lemberg Children’s Center as an Environmental Curriculum Intern, and at the Children’s Defense Fund's Freedom School as a K-2 summer teacher. Abigail is committed to the goals of social justice as displayed through her research and extracurricular activities. As an MAT student in the Secondary English track, Abigail is looking forward to using literature as a vessel for empowering and challenging her students. She is looking forward to getting a greater glimpse of the structural issues in American society by working in an underserved community. Abigail hopes to be a lifelong learner and teacher, eventually pursuing a PhD or Master’s in Urban Education.

Update: Abigail interned at Brown Middle School in Newton, MA. Her original teacher research was entitled "Scaffolding for Social Justice." After graduating, Abigail will be venturing to Washington DC to teach at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.

Kirsten Vickey, Secondary Chemistry '18

Before joining the MAT, I was studying at Brandeis in the graduate program for Biochemistry and Biophysics. Kirsten VickeyWhile in undergrad, I spent a lot of time as a Teacher's Assistant, Study Group Leader and Tutor, which made me realize how much I loved teaching. Chemistry is a particular love of mine as it is a subject I initially really struggled with, but one of my chemistry professors really helped me understand the subject and I think that the struggle makes me better able to teach the subject than others. I hope that through this program, I will get more practical teaching skills for high school students and will develop a network of like-minded colleagues who are committed to education.

Update: Kirsten completed her internship at Newton South High School and did her teacher research on "Aligning Assessments with New Standards: Group Assessment in High School Science." Before even finishing her student-teaching, Kirsten was offered a full-time teaching position in the Newton Public Schools.

Lilian Wang, Public Elementary '18

Lilian is rising senior at Brandeis University and is part of the BA/BS-MAT Program.Lilian Wang As an undergrad, she is majoring in Education Studies with a minor in Teacher Education, Elementary concentration. Ever since she was young, she has dreamed of making a difference in the world in a classroom of her own. She believes that education is the key to creating a more just, peaceful, and better future, and is fiercely passionate about working towards that goal. Brandeis has given her a place where she can strive for that goal alongside her coworkers and mentors who are just as passionate as she is. Her time here has not only taught her much about the current education system and the need for reform, but also about herself as a future educator and lifelong learner. She is excited for what the MAT Program will continue to teach her and is looking forward to the day when she will enter the world, equipped with all that Brandeis has given her, to make a difference in whatever ways she can.

Update: Lilian completed her student teaching in a first-grade classroom at Cabot Elementary School in Newton, MA. Her teacher research was entitled "The Power of Music: A Reflection on the Use of Music in the Classroom and Its Effect on Student Behavior."

Junyao Wu, Secondary Chinese '18

I received a Bachelor of Education in Chinese from the University of Macau and foundJunyao Wu my academic mission and career objective in the field of foreign language education. Over the past two years, I have been teaching Chinese as a second language to undergraduate students at Texas Tech University. I also earned a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Texas Tech University. I am very excited to become part of the MAT program and learn forefront pedagogies and practices in secondary education.

Update: Junyao completed her internship at Brown Middle School in Newton, MA. Her research presentation was entitled "Electronic Writing in Middle School Chinese Class." Now that she has graduated, she will be teaching at a public school in Kansas City, Missouri.

Drew Baker, Secondary Mathematics'17

I graduated from Clark University in 2012 with a degree in economics and a minor in theater arts. BakerSince graduating, I've worked at an educational supplies retailer, a bank, and (most recently) a nonprofit social service organization. I have been studying education policy part-time at Boston University's School of Education, and I decided that I could make the greatest impact from within the classroom. I look forward to becoming a teacher who will help students in becoming not just great learners but great people as well.

Update: Drew interned in Christa McAuliffe Charter School in Framingham. His research was entitled "Independent Math Engagement." After completing the program, Drew was offered a teaching position as a math teacher in Chelsea.

Witney Christie, Public Elementary'17

Witney is a Brandeis senior majoring in African and Afro-American Studies with a minor in Education Studies. WitneyOn campus she has been President of the Brandeis Black Student Organization (BBSO) and co-founded the BeSO Educated 101, an initiative created to inform low income and minority youth at Waltham High School about post-secondary opportunities. Witney's passion for urban education began in high school during her time with To Our Children's Future with Health, a non-profit program dedicated to providing West Philadelphia elementary and middle school students with academic and health-based enrichment programs. Her dedication to becoming a teacher was solidified as an Elementary Numbers Teaching Specialist at B-Safe, a summer program committed to preventing the loss of academic skills among low income and minority youth in the Boston Area. Witney's philosophy and pedagogical theory centers around interactive curricula and an inclusive classroom culture in order to make an impact on students' lives. She is extremely honored to be a part of 2016-2017 Public Elementary cohort and looks forward to how the BA-MAT program will prepare her to be the best teacher.

Update: Witney interned in The Cambridgeport School in Cambridge. Her research study was entitled "Keeping 1st Graders Interested in Learning." After graduation, witney was offered a teaching position at Graham and Park in Cambridge. 

Julia Goldberg, Public Elementary'17

Julia is in the BA/MAT program at Brandeis, majoring in sociology and minoring in teacher’s education. JuliaShe has always had a passion for teaching. Through assisting in classrooms and working with children ages preschool-middle school, Julia has found a high reward in helping to bring children to discovering new knowledge. Her work in classrooms in Boston and mentoring in a low-income housing community in Waltham has also instilled in her the importance of ensuring that
marginalized groups of students feel valued and are given the tools to be successful. She is excited to continue to explore through the MAT program how to teach all children, from any background, in ways that allow them to gain the skills they need to feel successful and to achieve.

Update: Julia interned in Boston Teachers Union School. Her research study was entitled "The Two R’s of Stopping Classroom Disruption: Responses and Relationships." After graduation, she was offered a position as an assistant teacher at Needham Public Schools.

Rachel Dillon, Secondary English'17

A rising Brandeis senior, Rachel Dillon is pursuing the dual BA/MAT degree with majors in English and Creative Writing and an MAT concentration in Secondary English. DillonRachel has taught in a variety of creative settings, most notably as a poetry instructor at the Sudanese Education Fund's Saturday Bridges Program and as a teaching intern at Writopia Lab in Manhattan. Alongside her passion for teaching writing, Rachel also loves the practice of writing, and was accepted to the Prague Summer Program for writers in 2014. She will complete her Creative Writing Honors thesis, a manuscript of poems, in Spring 2017. Rachel is honored and thrilled to gain more formal teaching instruction and experience through the MAT program, and to continue doing what she loves most: empowering students to foster a love of reading and writing, through which they can develop self-confidence and a critical consciousness.

Update: Rachel interned in Framingham High School. Her research was entitled "Freshman Reflections: Creating Critical Consumers in the 9th Grade English Classroom (and Beyond!)." After graduation, Rachel decided to teach English at a performing arts school in New York.

Allie Hecht, Public Elementary'17

As an undergraduate student at Brandeis, I developed a love and appreciation for the university. AllieBeing a varsity athlete, a reunion coordinator, and an UDR, I have had the opportunity of meeting different and amazing people on this campus. Through all of these extracurriculars, I have learned how to be patient, a team player, and both a leader and supporter when the time is needed. All of these characteristics are important for teaching. From a very young age I knew I wanted to become an educator. Brandeis has provided me with this opportunity and I could not be more grateful. Now, as a graduate student, I hope to develop a better understanding of the field. I also want to learn new and fun strategies to teach with. Lastly, having the opportunity to continue my studies at Brandeis is important to me, and I cannot wait to demonstrate what I learned at Brandeis in my future classroom.

Update: Allie interned in Bishop Elementary School. Her research study was entitled "Let's Get Moving!" After graduation, Allie was offered a position as a Special Education Teacher at Revere Elementary School.

Yanqiu Hou, Secondary Chinese'17

I am a mid-career professional with rich work experiences in NGO's and private sector, with an education background in both arts and sciences. YanqiuI grew up in Beijing, however, I have spent most of my adult years in the U.S. and Switzerland to study and work. These personal experiences have truly shown me how education can shape people’s future, and I realize that teaching will allow me to give back to society to positively and directly impact the future of our world. Understanding and respecting cultural diversity can help prevent or even resolve some of the conflicts that society is facing these days. I am determined to help students learn Chinese, and I hope that this will potentially lead to a better understanding of the culture and the people. I believe that the MAT program at Brandeis will prepare me to enter the teaching profession by providing the right training in pedagogy and by building teaching proficiency through the field internship. A meaningful and rewarding chapter of my life is ahead of me.

Update: Yanqiu interned in Bigelow Middle School. Her research was entitled "Is Technology a Silver Bullet for Teaching & Learning Chinese?"

Laura John, Secondary History'17

Laura John is from Nazareth, PA and received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania where she studied archaeology and wrote a senior thesis on ceramic revivals in the Southwestern United States. Laura JohnShe received an M.A. in Anthropology at Brandeis where her thesis focused on representations of the national past and of local identities in various folkways and state museums in Scotland. At Brandeis she taught in the Writing Program and English Language Programs for several years before deciding to make the transition into teaching middle school history. Laura’s passion for teaching stems from her own love of history and her desire to help students enter a meaningful conversation about their world. She is excited to be a part of the MAT program and looks forward to developing and sharing with her future students the kinds of classes and projects that sparked her own lifelong curiosity.

Update: Laura interned in John McDevitt Middle School, Waltham. Her research study was entitled "Increasing Student Engagement in a Social Studies Classroom."

Sarah Maillet, Secondary Physics'17

My name is Sarah Maillet and I am currently enrolled in Brandeis’ MAT program with a secondary concentration in physics. MailletI recently graduated from Northeastern University with a BS in physics. It was through internships and research opportunities that I realized I wanted to pursue a career in education. Along with physics, I am a lover of music and the great outdoors. I believe that anyone, no matter what their interests, can relate to physics and recognize how it shapes the world around us.

Update: Sarah interned and was offered a job in Newton South High School. Her research study was entitled "Equal and Opposite Forces: Balancing Student Inquiry and Structured Work in a Differentiated Science Classroom." 

David Moon, Secondary Chemsistry'17

My name is David Moon, and I'm currently completing my BS in Chemistry at Brandeis as a part of the BS-MAT program. David Moon I've loved science for as long as I can remember, and I know that learning chemistry can be fun, engaging, and meaningful to anyone. I believe that the ability to question assumptions, analyze data, and approach and understand daunting ideas are skills that are learned in studying science, and can find use throughout life. Chemistry in particular can be an intimidating subject; I hope to be the kind of teacher that can both make the subject accessible to all students, as well as push my students to achieve deeper and more challenging understandings.

Update: David interned in Framingham High School. His research study was entitled "Classroom Management and Classroom Culture."

Sonia Neuburger, Secondary Chemistry'17

Sonia Neuburger is a 2013 graduate of Barnard College, where she began tutoring chemistry in her sophomore year. NeuburgerBefore coming to Brandeis, she was the science tutor at the Rivers School in Weston, MA. She has also been a dance teacher and choreographer at the Charles River Creative Arts Program in Dover, MA, for the past six years. Sonia is eager to share her love of chemistry with students as a high school chemistry teacher!

Update: Sonia interned in John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Boston. Her research was entitled "Using Class Closure to Assess Student Learning: An Adventure with Exit Tickets." Sonia is now a science teacher in Belmont, MA.

Rachel Schubert, Srcondary English'17

Originally from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Rachel studied Political Science and Social Policy and Schubertminored in English – Creative Writing at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Rachel has worked as an English and Social Studies in Jamaica, and also as an Assistant Teacher of AP English in New Orleans. In addition to her background in teaching, Rachel is passionate about criminal justice reform – specifically the nexus of recidivism and education. Rachel currently volunteers as an academic mentor for an inmate at MCI-Norfolk through the Partaker’s/College Behind Bars Program. Rachel is looking forward to working in a public school after earning her M.A.T. degree in Secondary English. She lives in Waltham with her husband.

Update: Rachel interned in Waltham High School. Her research study was entitled "Vague Affirmation is Killing Your Class Discussion: and How Productive Talk Moves Can Spark Student Engagement and Make You Feel Alive Again." After graduation, she is now a High School English teacher in Martha's Vineyard.

Alex Scott, Public Elementary'17

Alexandra Scott, better known as Alex, received her undergraduate degree from Bennington College in Vermont. AlexAfter graduating in 2013, she went on to teach English in Japan through the JET Program for two years. She loves working with kids and has always dreamed of becoming an elementary teacher. Alex is looking forward to achieving this goal during her time at Brandeis.

Update: Alex interned in Bishop Elementary School. Her research was entitled "Creating Enthusiastic Readers by Making Reading Social." After graduation, she was offered a 6th grade teaching position at Williamstown School.

Meg Serrano, Secondary Biology'17

Meg is originally from LaGrange, GA and received her B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME in 2012. Meg Serrano Between then and now, she worked at the Museum of Science, Boston as a Curatorial Assistant in the Collections Department. In addition to caring for a variety of scientific specimens (and creating a few new taxidermy specimens of her own), she developed content for the Natural Mysteries exhibit. Now she is making the transition from informal education to teaching high school biology. A nature-lover at heart and a botanist/naturalist by training, she looks forward to making biology relevant and fun by instilling a sense of curiosity and wonder in her students.

Update: Meg interned in Framingham High Schoo. Her research was entitled "Authentic Assessment for Students with Test Anxiety." After graduation, she became a substitute teacher in Framingham.

Terry Shaipitisiri, Secondary History'17

My name is Thaviny Shaipitisiri, but I have always gone by my middle name Terry.Terry I came to Brandeis University as a Posse Scholar from Atlanta, Georgia. I am extremely passionate about the education field, even more so about education reform. My own personal experiences with school systems have played a major role with my interest in the field. In combination with Brandeis's advocacy for social justice, I plan on deconstructing inequality through education as an educator.

Update:  Terry interned in John McDevitt Middle School in Waltham. Her research study was entitled "Someone Who Looks Like Me: Race as a Motivational Factor." After graduation, Terry is now teaching in Thailand as a Fulbright scholar.

Brandon Sousa, Secondary History'17

My name is Brandon Sousa, and I graduated from Brandeis University in 2016 with a double major in History and French and Francophone Studies.Sousa For me, history has always felt so alive. Growing up in New England meant I was quite literally walking the same streets as some of the most important figures in U.S. history. In addition, the stories that my grandfather, a Korean War veteran, and my father, an immigrant from Portugal, used to tell me about exciting foreign lands made me curious about the histories of other places. As a result, I had an insatiable desire at Brandeis to study the widest possible range of history courses. Now as a graduate, I want to share what I have learned with high school students. By helping students relate to history and learn about how the past influences the present, I hope that history will come to life in my classroom.

Update: Brandon interned in Newton South High School. His research study was entitled "Who Runs the World? Incorporating Female Voices into World History." After graduation, he was offered a teaching position at Bishop Fenwick High School.

Gaby Yeshua, Public Elementary'17

With a background in psychology, my aim as a teacher is to treat every student with respect, dignity, and the utmost care while nurturing their individual learning needs and goals. GabyMy philosophy as a teacher keeps in mind the varying degrees of student and human needs, while encouraging them to grow further than expectations and become cooperative, empathetic, and knowledge-hungry learners. I hope to evolve my own strategies as both an educator and learner, as well as a human being!

Update: Gaby interned in Cabot Elementary School in Newton. Her research was on mindfulness in the classroom.

Emma Collins, Public Elementary'16

I was drawn to the MAT program largely because of its emphasis on social justice. CollinsWhile attaining my bachelor's degree, I volunteered as a tutor and program intern for a family-based homeless shelter. I was disheartened by how social issues regarding poverty could stifle students’ chances of academic success. The shelter's residents served as my case study for my senior thesis on homeless single mothers and the challenges to their children's academic success. I am confident that with a Brandeis Master of Arts in Teaching, I will learn how to work as an educator who not only teaches her students and supports them in learning, but also gives them the tools needed to ultimately escape generational cycles of poverty.

Emma interned in The Cambrigeport School. Her research study is entitled "Self-Monitoring to Address Behavioral Challenges." After graduating from the program, Emma was offered a job at Loring Elementary and Haynes Elementary Schools in Sudbury, MA

Xiaoning Chu, Secondary Chinese'16

Before coming to Brandeis, I was a student at Minzu University in China studying Teaching ChuChinese as Second Language. I tutored foreign students in speaking Chinese and fell in love with it so I decided to improve my teaching skills and learn new instructional methodology. My plan is to have a life-long career teaching Chinese to speakers of other languages . I believe that Brandeis’ MAT Program is the best choice for me. The flexible and scientific curriculum of Brandeis University corresponds with my study plan. The training scheme and goal agree with my career goals. Brandeis University is the best choice. Do not miss this chance!

Xiaoning interned in Kennedy/Wilson Middle School in Natick. Her research project is entitled "The Charm of Language Activity: What Impacts Student Motivation, Achievement and Engagement in Learning Chinese?" After completing the MAT program, Xiaoning was offered a job at Marlborough High School.

Sara Isaacson, Public Elementary'16

My name is Sara and I’m a rising senior at Brandeis, majoring in Education Studies. While I’ve believed for some time that I Isaacsonwanted to be an elementary school teacher, it wasn’t until I stepped foot into my first field work classroom as an observer that I decided with 100% certainty this is what I want to do. Growing up in a small tight knit community, I was fortunate enough to have many teachers positively impact my learning experience. Now reliving these experiences first-hand from the other side has cemented my desire to give back. Nothing is more rewarding than when a student little by little opens up, allowing you to work with him/her, slowly progressing towards a once far-fetched goal. Trust, appreciation, and respect become mutual, and a smile is visible ear to ear. I cannot wait to begin the MAT program and continue my education experience.

Sara interned in Burr Elementary School. Her research study was entitled "Using Movement Breaks to Increase Student Engagement." After completing the program, Sara was offered a job at Medfield Elementary School.

Laura Jarvis, Public Elementary'16

As an elementary school student I had a wonderful experienceJarvis with many talented teachers who showed me that all subjects, even those I was not passionate about, could be interesting. These early experiences and my more recent work experience in the pediatric mental health field, have driven me to pursue graduate study in elementary education. I was immediately drawn to Brandeis’ emphasis on creativity in learning amidst so many standards and so much testing in the world of public education. I believe the Elementary Education program at Brandeis will give me the tools to provide children with their introduction to education, and to shape the lens through which they will view learning for the rest of their lives.

Laura interned in Burr Elementary School. Her research study is entitled "Working Well with Others: Uncovering Barriers to Successful Group Work for One Elementary Math Student." 

Arter completing the MAT program, Laura was offered a job at Austin Discovery School at Austin, TX.

Danielle Traverse, Public Elementary'16

I am thrilled and excited to join Brandeis' MAT cohort of 2016! My desire Danielleto grow as an educator is rooted in both a love for the colorful, imaginative, magical world that IS children and passion for the great power education holds in calling forth social change. After graduating from Bates College with a degree in Psychology and Educational Studies, I worked in two very different charter schools in Boston, both of which continued my journey in thinking about what "empowering education" looks like. I look forward to learning from the experiences and insights of classmates and professors as we become teachers who work tirelessly in our mission to shape future world-shakers!

Danielle interned in Codman Academy Charter School. Her research study is entitled "Whose Voice Is It Anyway?" After completing the MAT Program, Danielle workd as a lead teacher at Codman Academy.

Li Xue, Secondary Chinese'16

My name is Li Xue and I am from Lanzhou, a beautiful city located in the northwest part of China. XueI earned my undergraduate degree in English from China. Before coming to Brandeis, I received a Master degree in French and TESOL certification at Mississippi State University in 2013. It was there where I found my passion for teaching language so I decided to pursue an education in teaching Chinese at Brandeis. I hope every student could learn at least one foreign language so that they can express their love with more people in the world.

Li interned in Driscoll School in Brookline. Her research study was entitled "From the Advanced to the Whole: How Do I Differentiate Instruction to Challenge Advanced Students at Their Level?

Cara Chaudron, Public Elementary'15

My name is Cara Chaudron, 2014 graduate of Vassar College.  CaraHaving majored in Education and Psychology during my undergraduate studies, I come to Brandeis eager to continue my education and with an incredible passion for teaching. Although I have always had a strong interest in becoming a teacher, spending five months as a teacher's assistant in Costa Rica during my junior semester abroad solidified my desire to work in a classroom. As someone who has always loved school, my goal as a teacher is to instill a similar passion for learning and curiosity in my students. I believe that Brandeis' MAT program is the perfect place for me to continue working towards this goal. 

Cara interned in Cambridgeport Elementary School in Cambridge. Her research is entitled, "Molding our Morals: Exploring the Link between Classroom Expectations and Students’ Values."

After completing the program, Cara was offered a job as a 6th grade teacher in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Elizabeth Egan, Secondary Chemistry'15

My first month of teaching has been wonderful, and I have you and the MAT program to thank! I have felt extremely prepared to handle everything that has come my way. It has not by any stretch been a walk in the park, but I haven't felt panicked at all. It is almost as if I don't have to think about what to do next because I already know, I've practiced or discussed it so many times. I definitely still have a lot a lot to learn, but I have the framework on which to build. I supposed this is what it would feel like to have very successfully trained for a marathon or some other large athletic feat. So, thank you!

Jessica Guidoboni, Public Elementary'15

Despite working in marketing for the past six years, I've always had a Jessica Guidobonipassion for supporting the community through youth education. My honors thesis at UMass Amherst, "Coping Mechanisms in Children Post Bereavement," focused on the psychological impact of 9/11. I’ve worked as a teacher’s aide at Kaleidoscope Summer Camp, an after school teacher at Deerfield Elementary and as a mentor in the Newton Mentoring Alliance. I 'm excited to attend Brandeis and believe that its research-based learning approach and full-year internship program have much to offer. As a teacher, I hope to inspire my students to practice small acts of kindness and to choose what is right - not simply what is popular.

Jessica interned in Northeast Elementary School in Waltham. Her research is entitled, "Fixing the Fighting: Structuring Successful Small Groups in Elementary Classrooms." After completing the program, Jessica was offered a special ed teaching position at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Cambridge. 

Nhu Hoang, Secondary Chemistry'15

Born and raised in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Nhu started studying abroad at fifteen in Minnesota. Nhu HoangShe attended Brandeis University with a full scholarship and graduated in 2012 with a degree in Chemistry. After working in the lab at Brandeis for a year, studying the structure and activity of Cytochrome P450 using nuclear magnetic resonance, she decided to go back to school to pursue a Master’s degree in something she has always loved: teaching. Nhu fell in love with teaching at a very early age. She tutored AP Calculus, Math, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, European History, and Comparative Government in high school and taught two college writing courses to Vietnamese high school students her freshman summer. She wants to teach Chemistry and Math believing with her whole heart that learning those subjects can be a fun and enjoyable experience. Nhu loves to read, bake, and play her ukulele during her free time.

Nhu interned in Newton North High School. Her research is entitled, "Self -assessment as a Meaningful Tool in Learning."

After completing the program, Nhu was offered a job at Northfield Mount Hermon as a 10th - 11th grade chemistry teacher.

George Kuchinsky, Secondary English'15

George Kuchinsky is a current student in the MAT Program specializing in Secondary History. He has volunteered as a tutor of inner city children at DC826 in Washington DC and created assignments to help them learn subjects ranging from reading and writing to geography. He has worked as a foreign policy analyst and authored reports for the President of the United States, US Cabinet members, the National Security Council and European officials. He holds a Masters in International Economics and Finance, with a specialization in International Development, from Brandeis University, International Business School. He is fluent in English, Russian and Spanish, and is proficient in French.

George interned in Day Middle School in Newton. His research is entitled, "Newton Montparnasse."

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Shanshan Ma, Secondary Chinese'15

Shanshan Ma is part of the Secondary MAT Program, specializing inShanshan Ma Chinese Language. She is originally from China and graduated from Northwest Normal University where she earned a BA in Chinese Language and Literature. She also studied early childhood education and primary education. Shanshan was a school teacher in China for more than six years and has volunteered for two years in different schools in both US and China.

Shanshan interned in Driscoll K-8 School in Brookline. Her research is entitled, "Helping Peggy Come Out of Her Shell: Differentiating Instruction to Support a Student with Disabilities Learn Chinese."

After completing the program, Shanshan was offered a dual language teaching position at Glenwood Elementary School in Chapel Hill, NC.

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Esther Brandon, Secondary English'14

Esther completed her undergraduate degree from Brandeis and is part of cohort 7 of the Secondary MAT. Upon coming to the MAT Program, she wrote:

My name is Esther Brandon in the MAT secondary education program. I graduated in December from Brandeis Esther Brandonwith a double major in International & Global Studies and Anthropology and a minor in Peace, Conflict, & Coexistence Studies. In the fall of 2009 I traveled to Japan to TA in the Nirayama High School English department. Through that experience, I fell in love with teaching, and hope to incorporate English and social justice to empower and inspire middle and high school students. 

After completing the MAT Program, Esther was offered a job at Brown Middle School.

Becky Cogbill, Public Elementary'14

Becky is part of cohort 9 of the Public Elementary Concentration. Upon coming to Brandeis, she wrote:

At my high school graduation, my kindergarten teacher gave me a poster BeckyI had made back in kindergarten saying what I wanted to be when I grew up. Even then, I wanted to be a teacher! I was particularly drawn to Brandeis because of its emphasis on public education. Not only do I believe that all students should have access to a quality education, as a teacher I want to be able to reach and share my own love of learning with all my students. I’m excited to take the next step toward accomplishing that goal by attending Brandeis.

Erin Fan, Secondary Biology'14

Erin is originally from Hong Kong, but grew up in Newton, MA. She just completed her undergraduate degree at Brandeis with a BS in Biology and Computer Science (and a minor in Business). She taught SAT math and geometry at Newton Learning Center, and tutored elementary, middle, and high school students on the side. She loves working with kids and hopes to become a high school biology teacher.

After completing the MAT Program, Erin was offered a job at Chenery Middle School.

Lily Glickstein, Public Elementary'14
My name is Lily Glickstein and I am a Brandeis graduate of the class of 2013. LilyI majored in History and French and studied abroad in Paris in the spring of 2012. I am a francophile, art lover, and an avid reader, which I would love to incorporate in the classroom. I have a passion for education equality, which led me to the Brandeis MAT program with its emphasis on social justice. Having attended a French immersion elementary school and fluent in French, I may want to teach in a French immersion school in the future. For now, I am excited to explore the world of charter schools and learn as much about teaching and education as I can.
Sara Heal, Secondary English, Jewish Day Schools'14

Sara is part of the English Concentration of the Secondary MAT. She plans to teach in a Jewish Day School. Sara HealSara is beyond excited to be joining the MAT Secondary English program alongside DeLet this year! She grew up in Youngstown, Ohio and graduated from Ohio University in 2009. After graduation, she travelled to Israel for a 5 months where she volunteered in a high school. Here, she was able to work closely with 7th-12th graders in English classrooms. After returning, she moved to Pittsburgh for a job working with young adults and graduate students in their 20's through Hillel. After 2 years, she took a position with a wonderful Pittsburgh family as a full time nanny. During this year, she lead a middle school trip out west through BBYO Passport, taught Sunday school, and was the youth group advisor at a local synagogue. All these positions lead to a passion of working with kids and teens and lead her down the path of education. She is thrilled to be at Brandeis this year and cannot wait to be in a classroom!

Update: After completing the MAT Program, Sara was offered a job at Oak Middle School.

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Catherine Hou, Secondary Chinese'14

Catherine Hou is part of the Chinese Language Concentration of the Secondary MAT. Catherine HouShe is originally from Beijing, China and graduated from Beijing Normal University where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Chinese Language and Literature. Catherine will be doing her internship in Newton. Her interest outside of teaching includes swimming and reading.

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Joanna Plotz, Public Elementary'14

I am coming to Brandeis after three years working at Discovering Justice, Joannaa civic education non-profit in Boston. At DJ, I led the elementary field trip program at the Moakley U.S. Courthouse and helped develop social studies curricula for public elementary teachers. Prior to working at DJ, I attended Carleton College, where I majored in American Studies and Educational Studies. I believe that, beyond developing foundational learning skills, elementary education should focus on educating the whole child. I also believe that every child deserves a great education, and I am committed to teaching in under-served schools. I chose Brandeis because of its commitment to social justice and its full-year internship program, and I am excited to be part of the Public Elementary cohort.

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Aaron Udel, Secondary English'14

I studied English literature and philosophy as an undergraduate at Brandeis as part of the class of 2010 before Aaron Udelenrolling in the M.A.T. At the time I graduated, I was unaware that Brandeis had a graduate program in education, or if I was, its existence meant little to me. Once I made the decision to become a teacher and began researching programs, Brandeis quickly topped my list. I felt comfortable here—the school had the advantage of being familiar—but I was also impressed with the structure of the program and its focus on inquiry and reflection. During the 2012-13 school year, I volunteered as an after-school tutor at 826 Boston when time allowed, and also tutored through an agency during the second half of the year. I am not sure one can be induced to find interest in anything—one is interested or is not—but so far as it is possible, I hope to create an interest in literature and writing. At the very least, I want to help my students to understand the importance of literacy in their lives

Update: After completing the MAT Program, Aaron was offered a job at Wahcanah Regional High School.

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Seth Warren, Secondary Chinese'14

Seth Warren is part of the Chinese Concentration of the Secondary MAT. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and The Seth WarrenOhio State University and has lived and worked in China for three years. He is fluent in Chinese. After returning from China in 2008, Seth worked at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, monitoring human rights issues and developments in China. Most recently, Seth worked at Long Term Strategy Group, a defense-related research firm. Seth is now seeking to enter the field of teaching Chinese, a subject which he loves and about which he is passionate.

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Rita Wen, Secondary Chinese'14

Rita is part of the Secondary MAT ProgramRita Wen in teaching Chinese language. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese Language and Literature in Asia University. In the US, she completed a Teacher Training Program in Portland State University.  Rita enjoys learning languages, traveling, swimming, singing and playing flute.

After completing the MAT Program, Rita was offered a job at Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

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Reid Wyatt, Secondary Chinese'14

Reid Wyatt lived in Chengdu, Sichuan, China for the past five years, studying Chinese and teaching English. Reid WyattReid plans to become a high school teacher in the Boston area. In addition to traveling and writing, Reid would like to start a Chinese education website to help improve the standard of Chinese language education in the U.S. He enjoys rugby, and reading.

After completing the MAT Program, Reid was offered a job at Canterbury School.

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Ji Eun Yoon, Public Elementary'14

The Master of Arts in Teaching Program (M.A.T.) at Brandeis offers the greatest opportunity for me to enhance Ji Eun Yoonand refine my teaching knowledge, style, and methodology.  I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to attend the M.A.T. program as I aspire to gain the knowledge and insight to help our future students and leaders realize educational excellence, high achievement and lead them toward their future successes in life. It is my goal to gain the experience, knowledge, and skills from the M.A.T. program in hopes to make a social impact in education and to one day attain my career goal of becoming an accomplished professional in the field of education.

Bei Zhou, Sceondary Chinese'14

Bei is part of the Secondary MAT Program in teaching Chinese language.

I am from Shanghai, China. I studied Traditional Chinese Language and Literature in East China Normal University inBei Zhou my undergraduate years. Afterwards, I taught Chinese in a middle school in Shanghai for about two years. I really love these kids and in return they performed good in my class. Why do I go to Brandeis? I want to strengthen my skills as a teacher, learn more about education and teach for the future.

After completing the MAT Program, Bei was offered a job at Hyde School.

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Dylan Brodeur, Public Elementary'13

While I was working at an elementary afterschool program in Cambridge, teaching math and science electives, DylanI learned that the rewards of teaching stem from the challenges of teaching. A child's academic progress and social development bring joy to a teacher because of the vast amount of thought and effort that the teacher puts into that child's relationship with the world. I love working with children because there are so few givens, so many exceptions, and so many opportunities to positively impact a child. I am excited to study at Brandeis because the Brandeis program will prepare me to face the daunting challenges that teachers face every day. At Brandeis, I will work toward excellence in my passion: helping children become driven, reflective, considerate citizens.

Dylan currently teaches in Lawrence, MA.

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Peter Caccavale, Secondary History'13

Before coming to the MAT program, I attended the College of the Holy Cross as a Pre-Med/Classics major.Peter Caccavale I then moved on to receive my MA in Classics at Brandeis, with a focus on Latin and Greek as well as Ancient History. Being raised in a family of teachers, I have always wanted to teach, I just wasn't sure in what capacity. As a teaching assistant and writing tutor here at Brandeis I really developed a love for working with my peers and helping them succeed. My hope is to bring that same passion to my  high school students in order to inspire them to succeed in the classroom. Having been a part of the Brandeis graduate community for a few years already, I knew of the high reputation of the Education department.  I am excited to begin my teaching career at Needham High School.

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Kim Nguyen, Public Elementary'13

Kim graduated from Boston University. Before she became a part of the MAT program, Kim Kim Nguyenworked in various fields including sales, marketing and banking. She is currently part of Cohort 8 of the Public Elementary concentration.

I chose teaching as a career because I wanted to do something that is both rewarding and has the potential for growth. My long term goal is to head into education administration, but I am very excited to complete the MAT program at Brandeis University and begin teaching elementary kids.

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Agaba Selah, Public Elementary'12

Selah Agaba

Selah received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, minors; Runyakitara and Drama in Uganda. Why Brandeis MAT? 

The philosophy of education upheld by the department is very similar to my philosophy of Selaheducation. I believe that quality education should be a right to all irrespective of their social, economic, religious or another background. The quality of education one receives in the early stages of development greatly affect the way their future outlook on and success in life. I hope to be an agent of change in education system especially in Uganda. Create a model of instruction where children are encouraged to inquire, debate and love acquiring information. 

Selah is now in a PhD Program at Teacher's College in New York.

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Emily Breines, Secondary English'12

Emily Breines came to the Brandeis MAT from Breinesa variety of non traditional teaching experiences and a background in Sociology at Muhlenberg College. She was part of the Public Secondary Program, with a concentration in English. Her placement was in Fuller Middle School in Framingham. Emily's passion was in encouraging her students to see learning as empowering and facilitate their development as curious, reflective and confident critical thinkers.

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Natanya Cohen, Public Elementary'12

Though I didn’t major in Education as an undergraduate, I had in the back of my head that teaching was right for me.  So, in starting this program, I’m extremely excited to finally feel like I’m on the right path headed toward Natanyaa field I truly believe in.   My love of learning and respect for children has always fueled my ambition to become a teacher.  I am very committed to sharing that love of learning, as well as my fun attitude and value of education with students.  I’m eager to learn as much as I can in this program so I may make the most powerful impact as an elementary school teacher in my future classrooms.

Natanya completed the program and currently works as a Teacher Assistant in Boston.

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Emily Einhorn, Secondary Biology/Jewish Day Schools'12

Emily Einhorn received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Religion from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.  Over the past three years Emily has worked Einhornat the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University on a Jewish education database,  During this time, she also worked with middle and high school students as a NFTY youth advisor at Temple Beth David in Westwood, MA.  Emily is originally from southern New Jersey and became interested in the role of religion in education during her four years at a Quaker high school. Her interest was to teach science skills to middle school students at a Jewish day school and find ways to encourage a love of science at an early age. 

Emily currently works as a science teacher in a Jewish Day School in Florida.

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Cheryl Giordano, Secondary English'12

I grew up in San Bernardino, California. After graduating from high school, GiordanoI attended Texas Christian University and received my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance.  My journey to becoming a teacher has been a long, varied one and I am very excited about my studies at Brandeis. My concentration in secondary education is English. I want to teach English because I believe that storytelling is powerful.  I hope to help the coming generations find an understanding and appreciation of that power. I want them to be able to use that appreciation to understand the world around them and to tell their own story.

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Leah Golden, Public Elementary'12

My name is Leah Golden and I am so excited to be part of Cohort 8! Before attending the Master’s program at Brandeis I did my undergrad at the University of New Hampshire. GoldenI had a double major in Family Studies and Justice Studies with a minor in Education. I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher and put myself on that path in my undergrad. I have much experience with children through coursework and internships and am very enthused to be interning in a fourth grade classroom for the year!

I knew I wanted to be a teacher in the first grade. I had the most amazing teacher who genuinely cared about me as a learner. I always came home and played school and would always talk to my mother (who is a teacher) about my day. I have worked at a day camp and babysat children from ages 9 months-12 years old. I find nothing more rewarding than helping a child who is struggling with a topic and seeing how happy they are once they have mastered it. I love working with children and cannot wait to have a career in which I can do that every day!

Leah is now a second grade teacher in Franklin, MA.

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Joshua Goldman, Public Elementary'12


Josh Goldman hails from Weymouth, MA and just completed his undergraduate degree at Brandeis with a BA in Music focusing in


Percussion Performance. He has been an avid performer in and around Brandeis and Boston for the past 4 years, as well as places as far and wide as Orlando, Washington D.C., Madison, WI and everywhere in between. Josh has also been a counselor for the past three years at Great Esker Park in Weymouth, educating children about nature, conservation and outdoor activities such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing and camping.

Joshua currently teaches in an after school program in Newton.

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Cynthia Massillon, Secondary History'12


My name is Cynthia Massillon.  I will be graduating from Brandeis in fall 2011 with a major in Politics Massillonand minors in legal studies and education.  Education has always been a fundamental aspect of my life.  The importance of a “good” education is what led me to become a teacher.   My definition of a “good” education is one that provides every student with an equal opportunity to learn, think and create.  The importance of history in our everyday life is what I want my students to leave my classroom with.  The knowledge to synthesize today’s world with past events.

Cynthia now teaches US History II and AP World History in Somerville High School.

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Eve Southworth, Secondary History'12


Eve holds a BA in History from Connecticut College. Prior to coming to the program, she worked in experiential education for threeeve years and taught high school history for a semester at sea program.  She also has served as an Americorps VISTA in a women's shelter. Her passion is in expanding the role of community service in schools. Eve completed the MAT with a concentration in Secondary History Education. She now teaches Humaniteis to high school students in California.

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Drew Smialek, Secondary English'12


My name is Drew Smialek and I am in the MAT Secondary drewEducation program with a concentration in English. I have spent most of my life in West Campton, New Hampshire and am excited for the new opportunities life in the Boston area will afford me. I am a recent graduate from the University of New Hampshire, from which I earned a B.A. in English. It was during my years as an undergraduate that I was first drawn towards the teaching profession. I am intrigued by the challenge it offers and look forward to working with students collaboratively in the classroom in advancing knowledge in reading and writing.

Drew currently teaches in Arlington, MA.

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Shira Schwartzberg, Secondary History'12


Shira Schwartzberg received a Bachelor of Arts in Informal Education from the University of ShiraMaryland. Upon graduating she taught health education and authored health curricula in Washignton, D.C. More recently, Shira taught math and language arts to middle and elementary students in Miami, FL. Her goal is to guide students to think critically about the influence of  history in structuring modern society, thus better preparing them to be positive influences in their world. She completed the MAT in secondary education with a concentration in history and currently teaches social science to 7th and 8th graders in a Jewish Day School in Marblehead.

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Ben Sachs-Hamilton, Secondary History'12


I grew up in Burlington, VT and attended the College of Letters at Wesleyan University, a program that combines the study of literature, history and philosophy. Thanks in large part to the enormous Beninfluence my teachers had on me throughout school and college, by the time I graduated I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to teach. Exploring the profession took me to some interesting places, including the Rocky Mountains, where I taught US history as well as wilderness and backpacking skills, and the Republic of Georgia, where I taught English in a village school. Looking to settle down a bit, I decided to get a degree in teaching history, and was drawn to the Brandeis MAT because of its small size, academic rigor, and focus on social justice. I believe this program will help me to focus my passion for learning into the skills and strategies I will need to be a great teacher, one who will inspire my students to be creative thinkers and insightful citizens of the world.

Since completign the Secondary MAT Program, Ben now teaches histroy in Newton.

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Justin Villet, Secondary History'12


I grew up splitting my time between Washington D.C. and Maryland. VilletAfter I graduated from High School, I enrolled at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts where I studied classics and philosophy. Concentrating primarily on ancient history and archaeology at Clark, I studied Latin briefly at the College of the Holy Cross and travelled abroad to Greece to study in Athens for 5 months. For the past two years I have studied at Brandeis University in the department of Classics, receiving a Master’s degree with an emphasis in classical languages in May 2011. I hope to now complete a Master’s degree in Teaching at Brandeis University in order to teach Middle and High School history. Aside from academic pursuits, I enjoy teaching boxing, singing with my band, playing one of my countless video games, and, of course, spending time with my friends in Boston proper.

Justin currently teaches social studies in Framingham.

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Howard Allen, Secondary Physics'11

Howard Allen received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and a Master of Science degree in civil engineeringHoward Allen from Tufts University.   In between these studies, he served in the United States Air Force, with assignments in Washington State, England, and Turkey.  He worked for over sixteen years in the environmental consulting industry, focusing on cleaning up properties contaminated with oil and hazardous materials. 
A native of Portsmouth, NH, he now lives with his wife and two sons in Norwood, MA.  Howie is an active member of Temple Beth David of Westwood, MA, where he serves on the Board of Trustees and on numerous committees.  He now works as a Physics teacher in Norwood.

Laura Himmelberger, Secondary History '11

Laura Himmelberger'11 is now teaching history at the Academy of Notre Dame.

I think the small size of the program is a huge attraction.  Being able to work with professors that really know you is extremely helpful when starting a new career. I enjoyed the variety of classes the program offers. I also had a fantastic cooperating teacher who really made my student teaching experience positive and enriching!!

I am most excited to build a relationship with students where they feel comfortable in my classroom and willing to take risks in their learning. I am also excited to pass along my enthusiasm for the subject I am teaching and hope they also find connections to their own lives. It is most important to always remind myself that I am making a difference in the world and contributing to society. By teaching, I am passing along knowledge to help students proceed in life, but I am also teaching them how to be good people. I think teaching is exciting because everyday presents new challenges, which is so much better than any other job I can think of.

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Sara Marx, Secondary History'11

My name is Sara Marx. Deciding to become a teacher has been a lifelong process for me. As a young person, I loved school so Sara Marxmuch that I thought I wanted to become a teacher. I was always interested in political science and international relations, as well as learning about other peoples and cultures. After I completed a semester abroad in Dakar, Senegal, I knew I had a lot to share with young people and a unique perspective on the world. I began work as editor of a Jewish educational website for middle-schoolers, and through many school visits and teacher workshops, I knew I wanted to work in a classroom, in a school, with students. Being an educator is truly a calling for me and I am excited to work with young people in a subject area about which I am very passionate. As a teacher, I hope to help young adults ask important questions and feel empowered to positively change the world.

Sara now teaches social studies at Day Middle School.

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Janice Mckeown, Public Elementary'11

Janice grew up in Westwood, MA, and received her Bachelor of Arts from Colby College.    She currently lives in Roslindale.Janice McKweown

I am thrilled to be starting the MAT program at Brandeis.  I am coming into Education after spending 20 years in footwear marketing and product development.  I am excited about this change because I have wanted to be a teacher for most of my life.  I have always held teachers in high regard, but for one reason or another, the timing wasn’t right for me to make this change – until now.  My volunteer work in the past year with elementary school age children from the Family Nurturing Program in Roslindale reminded me how much I love working with children. It also reminded me how much I can learn from them.

One reason I want to become a teacher is that I think teachers hold one of the most important jobs in our society today.  I believe that constantly finding ways to improve our public education system should be a top priority for our government leaders.  I am becoming a teacher because I want to understand how the system works now and I want to be constantly thinking about how to improve it so each student receives the same high quality education no matter where he or she lives.  Gaining experience as a teacher will be crucial to this process.   One reason I am specifically interested in this Brandeis MAT degree is because I value the liberal arts approach and emphasis on social justice and the aim to improve children’s life chances.   Additionally, I am impressed with the fact that I will be with the same class of elementary school students for a complete school year, not just a 2 month internship.   This will provide me with a world of experience and give my confidence a boost when I step up to lead my own classroom after I graduate.  I am proud that I am brave enough to formally continue learning at this stage of my life and I hope to become a teacher who will foster a lifelong love of learning in my students.

Since completing the MAT Program, she currently works in the Newton Public Schools.

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Katie Reed, Public Elementary'11

I just graduated from Carleton College, a small liberal arts school in Minnesota, with a major in history and a minor in Katie Reededucational studies. I have always wanted to be a teacher and am excited to finally be concretely on that path, though I feel I’ve been on the “teacher path” since elementary school. Because I love all learning and therefore all subjects, it broke my heart to think of picking just one to teach, which is partly why I’m really excited to teach in elementary school. I’m also excited about giving children a basis for understanding and building blocks or tools with which to continue learning all their lives. I believe that elementary school is the place to really be able to affect students and their attitudes towards learning and I want to be part of making learning exciting, fun and wonderful for all children.

Katie currently teaches in Cambridge.

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Christina Sergi, Secondary English '11

My name is Christina Sergi, and I am in the MAT for secondary school English. I double majored in English and American Christina SergiLiterature and Creative Writing as an undergrad at Brandeis University. I hope to take my knowledge and interest in these subjects to help students learn new avenues of creativity, whether it be learning brilliant pieces of poetry, or analyzing many of the wonderful literary works of our past and present. I hope to bring my passion for creativity and exploration into the classroom, and more importantly into the lives of the students.

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Alan Tso, Secondary Biology'11

My name is Alan Tso, and I am in the MAT for secondary school biology. I was a biology Alan Tsomajor in undergrad with an interest in the fine arts. I'm always coming up with new art projects to tackle, from paintings to suits of armor. I hope that I can put my creativity to good use in making science more interesting. I want to teach students that science is a practical subject with applications throughout everyday life.

Alan  is now a teacher at School District of Philadelphia.

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Kimberly Canuto, Public Elementary’08

Kimberly Canuto ’08 (Kohl Fellow, Cohort III) teaches second grade at the Neighborhood Charter School in Dorchester, Mass. Shortly before graduation last summer, she wrote:

kimberly canuto

Before enrolling in the Brandeis Master of Arts in Teaching: Public Elementary Program, I attended Wheelock College in Bo ston. As an undergraduate student, I was ambitious about becoming a teacher and eager to improve the educational experiences of children from a diversity of backgrounds. After looking at other teacher-preparation programs, I decided on Brandeis because it was the best place to help me attain these goals. Being a student at Brandeis has been a truly phenomenal experience. Professors, colleagues and other faculty members have all been very supportive. The knowledge and skills I have gained here will help me continue to develop throughout my entire teaching career. I believe that the Brandeis MAT program prepares individuals to become effective educators dedicated to the lives of all children.

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Beth Factor, Secondary History'08

Beth Factor ’08 earned a BA with honors in History and Sociology/Anthropology from Denison University.  After working in business at a Development and Administrative Manager for several years, she enrolled in the Secondary MAT – History.  Beth did her internship at Newton South High School and is now teaching history, psychology, and law at Salem High School.

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Jenna Fernandes, Secondary English'08

Jenna Fernandes ’08 entered the Secondary MAT – English, upon her graduation in 2007 from Brandeis, where she majored in English and American Literature and was Phi Beta Kappa. Jenna did her student teaching in the eighth grade at the Richard J. Murphy School, a Boston Public School with approximately 900 students. Jenna is now teaching in the sixth grade at Ottoson Middle School in Arlington, Mass. Jenna says:

"The Brandeis MAT program allowed me to investigate what was important to me as an educator. The program was small enough for me to receive the individual attention I needed to develop my thinking into the kind of practical philosophy that now informs my teaching. The relationships I formed with professors and colleagues remain the most valuable asset of the program in my mind. The community made it safe for me to take risks and try new things, and I know it will continue to be a source of innovative ideas, personal and professional support, and inspiration in the next stage of my career for years to come."

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Allison Mandel, Public Elementary’08

Allison Mandel ’08 (Cohort III) came to Brandeis after working as an executive assistant in a large corporate office.

Allison Mandel with students

She came into teaching, and the MAT program, because she “wanted to be in a profession where (she) would be able to make social change by enriching the lives of children.” While in the MAT, she did her internship at the Joseph Lee Elementary School in Dorchester. Nearing graduation from the MAT, she wrote, “One of the things I love most about the MAT program is that it actively fosters creativity and imaginative learning.” In September of 2010, heading into her third year out, she writes: 

My name is Allison Mandel and I graduated from the MAT Public Elementary program in 2008. I am currently teaching at Aichi International School in Nagoya, Japan. I am the main Grade 2 teacher as well as the Math teacher for Grades 3, 4 and 5. My students are 90% native Japanese. They are bilingual in Japanese and English. I teach Math, Science and Literacy to my 2nd graders in English; and a native Japanese teacher comes in to teach the same subjects in Japanese. It really is a unique and lovely school. I am very lucky to have the experiences that I do. The MAT program gave me so much direction and insight into who I was as a person and how I wanted to interact with the world around me. I learned and grew so much during my year at Brandeis. I've been lucky to receive continued support since I've graduated. I want to send sincere gratitude to my mentors and teachers and good luck to all of the future Cohorts!

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Shauna Antley Pellauer, Secondary English'08

Shauna Antley Pellauer ‘08 graduated Summa cum Laude with a BA in English from Pomona College and earned a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School before she entered the Brandeis Secondary MAT – English.  Shauna, who did her internship in the eighth grade at the Lawrence School in Brookline and is now teaching at Newton South High School, writes about the Brandeis MAT:  
Teaching isn't an art that we ever "master," but the Brandeis MAT program will support your professional and personal growth as you gain the skills to succeed in the classroom.  I benefited tremendously from a small learning community of passionate teachers-in-training and individual attention from advisors and professors.  I also appreciate the commitment Brandeis makes to caring for new teachers like me through the induction program.

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Leah Proctor, Public Elementary’08

leah proctorLeah Proctor ’08 (Cohort III) is a resource-room teacher at the Stanley Elementary School in Waltham. Reflecting on her experiences last spring, she wrote:

Studying with Brandeis has been both humbling and amazing. This has by far been the hardest year of my life, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Brandeis’ MAT program will work you to your core, and it’s more than worth it. You will grow as an educator and a person.

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Katalin Wiggins, Public Elementary’08

Katalin Wiggins ’08 (Kohl Fellow, Cohort III) teaches third grade at the Northeast Elementary School in Waltham. Reflecting on her experiences last spring, she wrote:

My undergraduate degree was in magazine journalism. Before entering the Brandeis Master of Art in Teaching: Public Elementary program, I was working as a layout artist and graphic designer for several publications. (Note: Katalin designed the image on the right side of this page.) I decided to become a teacher because I wanted to do something meaningful with my life and have a positive influence on future generations. I love being in the MAT program! Our cohort clicked right away, and working within such a small group allows for a comfortable and intimate learning environment. I enjoy learning to teach in an academic context that is so focused on developing independent-minded teachers. Also, the year-long internship in one classroom is an amazing experience that isn’t offered by most other teacher preparation programs.

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Marianne Stabile, Public Elementary'07

Marianne Stabile '07 (Kohl Fellow, Cohort II) teaches 3rd grade at Rock Springs Elementary School in Lawrenceville, GA.  More than a third of her students are English Language Learners, making her glad she decided to do her MAT teacher research project on the varied opportunities formal and informal contexts in school afforded students for learning English as a new language.  She urges MAT's on the job market to consider teaching positions in the South.  She would be happy to talk with anyone interested in looking for a job in her area; she would also be happy to meet with anyone in her area who was considering the MAT program.

Marianne also serves as a mentor to high school students considering going into teaching.  At the close of her first post - MAT year of teaching she wrote:

So many of the things I learned in the MAT program are things I have directly applied in my real work as a teacher this year.  For example, my colleagues and administrators were impressed at my understanding of which interventions would be appropriate for helping my students with learning disabilities.  I had a student who had characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome, and I told my assistant principal some of the ideas I had learned for helping such a student.  She asked how I knew this and I told her about a paper I wrote for the special ed class on the subject.  She asked that I email her my paper because she wanted to learn more about interventions for children with Asperger's!  I've never heard of a first-year teacher who felt 100% prepared to go out on her own, but as my first year comes to an end, I can see that Brandeis gave me more than enough of the skills and knowledge I needed to thrive in my new position.

Update, April '09: Marianne writes that she is off on a new adventure next year. 

I took a job teaching 4th grade at the American International School of Abu Dhabi, which is near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates!  I am really excited.  It's a private school that serves a whole range of nationalities using the IB (International Baccalaureate) Primary Years Program, and - no NCLB!  I leave in August and can't wait.  Stop by and visit...

Read Marianne's blog about her new teaching adventure in Abu Dhabi at

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Brian Bisceglia-Kane, Public Elementary’06

Brian Bisceglia-Kane ’06 (Kohl Fellow, Cohort I) teaches third grade at the Daniel Butler School in Belmont, Mass. Previously, heBrian Bisceglia-Kane taught children exhibiting challenging behaviors and emotional difficulties at the Horace Mann Elementary School in Newton, Mass. He writes:

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Master of Arts in Teaching: Public Elementary program at Brandies is an established culture of thinking. Dirck Roosevelt and the other professors at Brandeis created a supportive environment that I think is very necessary for new teachers. They encouraged me to try new things, even when I was hesitant to do so. During my internship, there were good days and

bad days; it was always reassuring to know that my professors were there to talk about those “difficult moments” I had in the classroom. These conversations pushed my thinking as a student, and helped me become a more confident and focused teacher. I felt extremely well-prepared to begin teaching after my completion of the MAT program.

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Efrat Kussell, Public Elementary’06

Efrat Kussell '06 (Kohl Fellow, Cohort I) teaches sixth grade math at the Explore Charter School, in Brooklyn NY. This is her fourth year at the school. Since graduating from Brandeis, she also taught a fifth-sixth grade combination classroom at the Cambridgeport School in Cambridge, MA. She has written:

Each day I teach, I find myself thinking about something I learned or experienced at Brandeis. This statement may seem obvious, but the truth is, for many, teaching can feel like a strenuous routine; it is easily possible for a teacher to stop thinking deeply about his or her practice.

 More than anything else, the Brandeis MAT has given me the long-lasting ability to reflect on and make meaning of the daily happenings in my class. My experience as a teacher is always exciting because I have been trained to think clearly about teaching, to grapple with problems, to feel confident in the decisions I make and to ask questions that are important to my practice.

 I've heard that teaching is considered a lonely profession. Many teachers feel isolated when facing the inevitable challenges of the classroom. Setting itself apart from most MAT or M.Ed. programs, Brandeis has followed me each step of the way through continued discussions with my cohort, my professors and the teachers I met during my yearlong internship. It's been four years since I received my MAT from Brandeis, and never once have I felt alone.

And here is a September 2010 bulletin from Efrat:

So far the 6th graders seem to be acclimating well to their new grade level. My homeroom class is particularly

efrat kussell

lovely - they are a very reflective and kind group and I'm constantly impressed by the ideas they come up with. On the first day of math class, we were discussing the 3 values excellent math students embody: kindness, productivity and curiosity - and I asked the kids what it might mean to be curious in math class. A few kids gave responses like "asking questions," "trying out new ways of doing things," "thinking outside the box," and then C______ (who was my second grade student 4 years ago) said, "I think being curious means that you are really wondering about why other people think the way they do and you want to find out." I was so excited when she said that because I was so surprised by the depth of her comment. I told her that wondering about why other people think the way they do is what I do all day long - that that's a big part of being a teacher - and that I am thrilled to know that I'll have company in doing so.

Editorial comment: And that - wondering about other minds - is a big part of why teaching can be such a thrilling thing to do.

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