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Meet MAT Secondary Students and Graduates

Meet some of the current students and alumni of the Secondary concentration.

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Other Secondary MAT Students and Alumni

Sheila Crean, Biology '19

After 30 years as a bench scientist and epidemiologist, I feel that I have finally found my calling here in the MAT program at Brandeis.  I look forward to learning the art and science of teaching with people dedicated to do good, in a place unabashedly committed to social justice.

E pur si muove MAT 2019

Norah Kearney, English '19
Throughout my undergraduate education at Webster University, I enjoyed working with students and youth as a tutor and child caregiver. I also worked as a mentor at Metro Achievement Center in Chicago. Beyond that, I spent time volunteering as a coach for Girls on the Run! St. Louis and as a tutor for underserved students in Missouri. I'm excited to complete the MAT program at Brandeis University because it will give me the education and experience necessary to serve my future students and make a positive impact on the education system. 

Chelsea Larson, English '19

Chelsea is entering into the MAT program at Brandeis with a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Georgia. After working as a fine-dining server for several years, she is eager to begin studying to become a teacher. She views education as a tool that can unlock opportunity and believes that all students deserve an empowering and attentive classroom. Chelsea is particularly interested in studying how to combat opportunity gaps that persist along lines of class and race.

Brandon Leahy, Mathematics '19
Brandon was born and raised in MA. Before joining the Brandeis MAT program, he was an undergraduate student at Brandeis University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in  Mathematics and Economics. He has experience tutoring high school students in a variety of subjects, including algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and calculus. Brandon believes in taking a conceptual approach to mathematics by prioritizing insights and intuition over memorization. He has a passion for educating and aims to become a high school math teacher. Outside of the classroom, Brandon is an avid weight trainer and practices an evidence based approach to fitness.          

Evan Mahnken Chemistry '19

I'm an avid crossword constructor and solver with interests in science, film, theater, history, literature, politics, trivia, and much more. I'm looking forward to teaching chemistry and hope that my students will come away with not only chemistry knowledge but scientific literacy and critical thinking skills as well. High school is the perfect time to get kids excited about science, and that is exactly what I aim to do.

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, 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."

Rafi Diamond, BA/BS MAT 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, BA/BS-MAT 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, 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.

Xiaoting Lyu, 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.

Katherine Quinn, 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, 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, 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.

Junyao Wu, 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, 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.

Rachel Dillon, 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.

Yanqiu Hou, 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, 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, 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, Chemistry'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, 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, 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.

Meg Serrano, 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.

Thaviny Shaipitisiri, 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, 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.

Xiaoning Chu, 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.

Li Xue, 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?

Nhu Hoang, 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, History'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, 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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Yulin Wu, Chinese (BA-MAT)'15

Yulin Wu is a Brandeis senior majoring in Economics.  Yulin WuHe is one of the students doing the Ten Semester BA-MAT Program. In the MAT, Yulin is part of the Secondary Concentration specializing in teaching Chinese. He is originally from Shanghai, China and he believes that learning Chinese should be a fun experience. Outside the classroom, Yulin loves playing basketball and working out.

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Esther Brandon, 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.

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Erin Fan, 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 teaches SAT math and geometry at Newton Learning Center, and tutors elementary, middle, and high school students on the side. She loves working with kids and hopes to become a high school biology teacher in the future! 

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Sara Heal, 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!

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Catherine Hou, 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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Aaron Udel, 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

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Seth Warren, 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, 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.

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Reid Wyatt, 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.

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Bei Zhou, 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.

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Peter Caccavale, 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.

Katurah Hughes, English'13

I'm a recent graduate from Jackson State University where I received my B.A. in English. I'm very fond of poetry and literature, in particular the works of Miltion "Paradise Lost". I enjoy volunteer work and participating in community forums/ research about civil rights and human rights.

Where I'm From

I'm from enemies and friends, I'm from struggle and strength
I'm from fear and courage, I'm from tears and laughter
I'm from wrong and right, I'm from death and life
I'm from love and hate, I'm from doubt and faith
I'm from old and new, I'm from lies and truth
I'm from nightmares and dreams, I'm from war and peace

I'm from a purple paradise deep in my soul,
I'm from memories of lifetimes ago
I'm from the empty pockets of people who don't know their rich
I'm from the playground of kids who actually get to be "just kids"
I'm from patience and curiosity, from confidence and potential

I say where I'm from and now you have a sense of where I'm going,
Won't you come with me? Cause where I'm going.....
Together we have already been there.

Written by: Katurah "Kat" Hughes "Da Voice" July 18, 2012
Emily Breines, 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 graduated in the Public Secondary Program, with a concentration in English and completed her student teaching intership at Fuller Middle School in Framingham. As a teacher, she hopes to encourage her students to see learning as empowering and facilitate their development as curious, reflective and confident critical thinkers.

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Emily Einhorn, 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. She is excited 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. She loves being able to incorporate her interest in the intersection of religion and biology in her teaching.

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Cheryl Giordano, 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 was English. I wanted 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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Cynthia Massillon, History'12

My name is Cynthia Massillon.  I graduated 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.

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Ben Sachs-Hamilton, 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  helped me  focus my passion for learning into the skills and strategies I need to be a great teacher, one who inspires  students to be creative thinkers and insightful citizens of the world.

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Shira Schwartzberg, 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. She  pursued an MAT in secondary education with a concentration in history 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.

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Drew Smialek, 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 was excited for the new opportunities life in the Boston area afforded me. I am a  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 in working with students collaboratively in the classroom in advancing knowledge in reading and writing.

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Eve Southworth, History'12

Eve completed a MAT with a concentration evein Secondary History Education.  Previously she worked in experiential education and has taught high school history on a semester at sea program.  She also has served as an Americorps VISTA in a women's shelter and she is dedicated to expanding the role of community service in schools.  Eve holds a BA in History from Connecticut College.

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Justin Villet, 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 traveled abroad to Greece to study in Athens for 5 months.  Subsequently, 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.After completing a Master’s degree in Teaching at Brandeis University, I plan  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.

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Howard Allen, 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 is looking forward to teaching in a Jewish Day School, where he can create a nurturing environment for students to discover and delve into the wonders of science in a Jewish atmosphere. 

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Laura Himmelberger, 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, 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.

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Christina Sergi, 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, 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.

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Jenna Fernandes, 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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Beth Factor, 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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Shauna Antley Pellauer, 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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