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Meet MAT Secondary Students and Graduates
Meet some of the current students and alumni of the Secondary concentration.
Drew Baker, Mathematics'17
I graduated from Clark University in 2012 with a degree in economics and a minor in theater arts. Since 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.
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. Rachel 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.
Other Secondary MAT Students and Alumni
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. I 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.
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. She 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.
Sarah Maillet, Physics'17
David Moon, Chemistry'17
Sonia Neuburger, Chemistry'17
Thaviny Shaipitisiri, History '17
Rachel Schubert, English'17
Originally from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Rachel studied Political Science and Social Policy and minored 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Xiaoning Chu, Chinese'16
Before coming to Brandeis, I was a student at Minzu University in China studying Teaching Chinese 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. I 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. She 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."
Shanshan Ma, Chinese'15
Shanshan Ma is part of the Secondary MAT Program, specializing in 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.
Yulin Wu, Chinese (BA-MAT)'15
Yulin Wu is a Brandeis senior majoring in Economics. He 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.
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 with 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.
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!
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 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!
Catherine Hou, Chinese'14
Catherine Hou is part of the Chinese Language Concentration of the Secondary MAT. She 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.
Aaron Udel, English'14
I studied English literature and philosophy as an undergraduate at Brandeis as part of the class of 2010 before enrolling 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.
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 Ohio 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.
Rita Wen, Chinese'14
Rita is part of the Secondary MAT Program 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.
Reid Wyatt, Chinese'14
Reid Wyatt lived in Chengdu, Sichuan, China for the past five years, studying Chinese and teaching English. Reid 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.
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 in 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.
Before coming to the MAT program, I attended the College of the Holy Cross as a Pre-Med/Classics major. 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.
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 came to the Brandeis MAT from a 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 received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Religion from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Over the past three years Emily has worked at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University on a Jewish education database, JData.com. 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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I grew up in San Bernardino, California. After graduating from high school, I 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.
My name is Cynthia Massillon. I graduated from Brandeis in fall 2011 with a major in Politics and 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.
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 influence 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.
Shira Schwartzberg received a Bachelor of Arts in Informal Education from the University of Maryland. 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.
My name is Drew Smialek and I am in the MAT Secondary Education 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 completed a MAT with a concentration in 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.
I grew up splitting my time between Washington D.C. and Maryland. After 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 received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and a Master of Science degree in civil engineering 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.back to top
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.
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 much 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.back to top
My name is Christina Sergi, and I am in the MAT for secondary school English. I double majored in English and American Literature 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.back to top
My name is Alan Tso, and I am in the MAT for secondary school biology. I was a biology major 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.back to top
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 ’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.back to top
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.