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Master of Arts in Teaching Welcomes Class of 2011


Twenty four aspiring teachers began a full time year of professional study infused with liberal arts values at Brandeis on Monday June 21st. When they complete their studies, in late July of 2011, these students will have earned the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree from Brandeis and the initial license to teach from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Between now and then, they will be immersed in studying both "the ways of reasoning and the diversity of skills" that go into good teaching, according to Professor Dirck Roosevelt, director of the MAT program.

The future teachers hail from all corners of the country and all academic disciplines. Some have just recently completed their undergraduate careers. Alan Tso (Secondary), for example, earned his BS in biology from Brandeis this spring, while also completing a minor in fine arts. He aims eventually to combine both of these passions in his work as a high school science teacher. Alex Barry (Secondary), just earned her BS in Chemistry from MIT, and is eager now to pursue her life-long love of teaching. And Lauren Winowich (Elementary - Jewish day schools/DeLeT), who took a BA in International Studies from Emory, with a minor in Jewish Studies, has been working with children in many contexts over the years and is looking forward now to continued learning and sharing her love of learning and of Judaism as a teacher.

Other members of the MAT class of 2011 have been out of school for a while, developing their talents in another profession, engaging in social justice work of one sort or another, or involving themselves in education in one way or another. Roberta Udoh (Elementary - Public elementary), for example, has been teaching in Girls' LEAP, an anti-violence program in the Boston area. She "was looking for a teaching program that would weave together her personal life and political/community activist experience and prepare her to teach in the Boston Public Schools." Brandeis, she decided, "was it!" Eliza Weiss (Elementary - Jewish day schools/DeLeT), after earning a BA in English from Tulane, worked as a restaurant reviewer in New York City, volunteered in an AIDS orphanage in South Africa, and took an MS in Journalism from Boston University, before coming to Brandeis. Cindy Yanofsky (Elementary - DeLeT) and Joey Regen (Elementary - DeLeT) are both lawyers, specializing in contracts (Yanofsky) and family law (Regen). And Farisha  Mohammed (public elementary), after earning a BA in Sociology from Brandeis, taught  for a summer in India, and most recently was a case manager in an NYC organization providing services to homeless adults.

"It is an exciting and diverse group," according to Professor Roosevelt. "All of us have been impressed by their qualities of open-mindedness, social responsibility, and acceptance of challenge. We look forward to working with them this year, and to getting to know them better as the teachers and learners they are and will become."

In his welcoming remarks on Monday, Professor Roosevelt urged the MAT students to think of teaching, especially amidst the "uneasy" circumstances of the current period, as "creating spaces of value for young people...spaces in which their powers of mind will be valued, spaces in which they can come to value their own (and each others') powers of mind, spaces in which they can put their minds to matters of value and in so doing, grow."

Read Professor Roosevelt's Welcoming Remarks

Meet more members of the MAT class of 2011: Public Elementary, Secondary, and DeLeT  Concentration