April LaGue and Arien Muzacz
April LaGue (left) and Arien Muzacz (right)

By: Lucielle Wones

April LaGue and Arien Muzacz both have long histories in education. April grew up seeing her sister in education and wanted to do something similar. She decided, though, that she preferred the non-teacher aspects of working with students, prompting her to go into counseling. She has been a counselor for 13 schools under grant and student assisting programs. April’s research background focuses on math anxiety and social well-being. Arien’s career in counseling started back in middle school, where she was a peer counselor for her classmates. This sparked a lifelong interest in the field, though her path was less linear. She was the first in her immediate family to complete college and worked in legal and non-profit settings before she returned to her first love of counseling by pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Arien’s research agenda emphasizes diversity and social justice, including health disparities in the areas of substance use and sexual health along with topics in aging, sexuality, addiction, and counselor education and supervision. In addition, Arien and April are both outspoken supporters and members of the LGBTQ community and commit to creating an environment that is safe, healthy, and allows underrepresented voices to have a say. They want the clinical and school sides of counseling to work together and embrace professional unity while increasing equity of opportunity for all their students.

April and Arien are currently focusing on the teaching and learning aspects of pedagogy in online and hybrid counselor education programs. They are co-investigators on a study funded by the Ecampus Research Fellows program to examine the impacts of providing a hybrid orientation to Master’s students in Counseling on students’ self-efficacy and perceptions of wellness. Ecampus’ M.Coun program is part-time and offered in a hybrid (in-person and online) format, which appeals to non-traditional students who may have significant responsibilities within their own communities. Last year, faculty built and piloted orientation models to give students the opportunity to learn about program requirements and Ecampus and OSU resources and to form a bridge between educational backgrounds and classroom expectations. This “virtual mentorship” gives a way to connect with the students more directly before they meet in person in a space that is safe, secure, accessible, and equitable. Their research collects data from students before and after the orientation to evaluate changes in students’ self-efficacy and wellness in response to their active engagement with the online learning modules. 

Once April and Arien publish their findings, they hope that they can use them to help improve the quality of online teaching and advising in counselor education and to consult with other institutions in developing their programs. They believe all grad programs should have an orientation with advisors to connect with. The hybrid model that the Ecampus uses has a lot of potential, and their work aims to prove and popularize the many ways that online orientations can provide students with the tools they need to succeed. Currently, they don’t have access to the big grants that the hard sciences do, though they’re very grateful for the awards they have received for their work. They’re very appreciative of the opportunities given to them by the Ecampus to further their work.

By Raisa Canete Blazquez

Raisa Canete Blazquez

Hi everyone! My name is Raisa, and I am a LEEP PhD candidate and ED 219 instructor. I am originally from Barcelona, Spain, where I got my Bachelor’s degree in Translation. A study abroad brought me to Oregon in 2011, and I decided to come back for Graduate School three years later. As an outdoor enthusiast, I feel fortunate to live in a place with such amazing nature and a variety of sceneries to enjoy. From going out on a quick run in my neighborhood, to hiking, camping, snowboarding, surfing, etc., I take very opportunity to go out and enjoy the many beauties of this state.

I came to OSU for my MAIS, but those two years were not nearly enough to study the intersection of Education, Social Justice, and Language. Fortunately, the College of Education launched their LEEP (Language, Equity, and Education Policy) PhD program, and it was the perfect opportunity to continue to explore those areas. My own background and my experience teaching lower-division Spanish courses at OSU inspired me to research the diversity that different linguistic and cultural backgrounds bring into first-year Spanish classes. As an instructor, I strive for equity in the classroom, and as a future scholar I believe in the power of research to help bring equitable approaches to education.

This last year, I taught Multicultural Education (ED 219) for the College, and got involved in research projects to understand how undergraduate students learn about multiculturalism in education and appropriately redesign ED 219. The new curriculum, which will be launched in the fall, recognizes and addresses the emotional components of studying Multiculturalism and Social Justice in Education. We have been incorporating bits and pieces of the new design in the last two terms, and got very positive feedback from our students so far! In addition, acknowledging the importance of understanding the concepts covered in ED 219 beyond Education, we prepared a proposal for a DPD (Difference, Power, and Discrimination) course. Courses under this category address intersections of gender, race, class, sexual identity, age, ability, and other institutionalized systems of inequity and privilege in the United States. During these times, the importance of educating our college students about these matters are as relevant as ever, and we hope that with ED 219 as a new addition to the DPD Baccalaureate Core Category we will attract students from different areas. Preparing our students with an understanding of the historical and current events related to multiculturalism in education is beneficial not only to our students, but to our society. Many of our students will become educators in different areas and institutions, and we rely on them to continue to educate future generations.

In ED 219, we want to give our students the tools to recognize equitable approaches to fight systematic oppression, power and injustice, and to empower them to actively make change. For me, this is both a personal and a professional goal, and I am thankful for the amazing people I have the opportunity to work with. As I said before, we recognize the emotional work we require from our students in this class, something we can absolutely relate to, as we engage in hard, emotional work ourselves both in teaching and researching topics of multiculturalism and social justice. Having the support from my team helped me carry out the work needed to successfully move ED 219 to become a DPD course. For that, I want to acknowledge the people I refer to when I say “we.” I wouldn’t have been able to do this without their inspiration and support. Thank you Kathryn, Marcos, Faran, Freddy, and Jane.

By Lucielle Wones

One of the core beliefs here of the Oregon State College of Education is to prepare the next generation of teachers. But within the college is a group of students taking this preparation to the next level. Evan Walker is the current president of the Aspiring Educator’s Club at Oregon State University, and he leads the club along with fellow executive officers Stephanie Hasan, Sarah Connolly, Sidney Shaw, Ryan Hannah, Brenna Beyer, and Annuka Brown. The club is also advised by Karla Rockhold, the Career Advisor for the College of Education. 

As a founding member, Evan was there just last year shortly after the club was created, with the goal in mind to have an extracurricular resource for the students in the College of Education. According to Evan, in the beginning the club “didn’t have one specific purpose in mind. It was more of a multitude of things.” Their biggest goal at first was just to give students a network to help them succeed in college. The club had resources to help clarify paths to graduation and input from older members to help the younger members forward in their collegiate careers and beyond. Evan inherited his position from the former president, and he is now the club’s senior member, as “the founding members are all in their student teaching phase right now, so they’re very busy.” 

However, Evan has done a fantastic job of running the club this far. Over the last year, the club has grown tremendously. They sent 5 students to a retreat for early educators put on by the Oregon Educators Association in February 2019, and have been funded and supported not just by the OEA, but by the National Educators Association as well. Members of the club have even traveled to national conferences as representatives for the club as well.

In the future, Evan hopes to see an expanded interest in his club and to draw in more and more students from the college of education to share in the multitude of experiences he’s already had. Part of their plans for this year was to connect themselves with AEC chapters at the nearby Linn-Benton Community College and University of Oregon, so that their already strong network of connections grows even stronger as these aspiring educators prepare to enter the workforce for the first time. Thanks to the great work by Evan and the other founding members of the club, they’ll all be prepared and ready for whatever the future has in store for them.

By Colin Cole

Hello everyone! My name is colin cole. I’m a shelter volunteer at Heartland Humane, a KBVR DJ, runner, vegan, poet(?), recent cat dad, and LEEP PhD candidate. I first came to Corvallis in 2012 (wow time flies) to pursue an M.A. in Latino Studies which, unfortunately, has since been discontinued (more support for world languages, anyone?). Prior to that, I taught high school Spanish and creative writing in California, and completed my undergraduate studies in Education at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Currently, my research focuses on Hip Hop, language use, and identities in the lives of Latinx youth in Oregon. 

Throughout my time as a PhD student, Heartland Humane, Benton County’s open-door animal shelter, has also been a refuge for me and many other volunteers. Nothing is better for a theory induced headache than a half hour of fetch or a walk through Avery Park with a shelter dog whose tail wags at the sight of you. And wag they do! The majority of my time at Heartland is spent with the dogs, working on socializing, leash skills, or my favorite… runs. When time management is difficult, it helps to combine volunteering and working out, and if I feel like taking a few days off, the dogs keep me accountable. 

At the end of my shifts, I’ll often spend time with the cats, giving head scratches and belly rubs. There’s a different type of calm that comes from spending time with the cats and listening to that purr (cat people  where you at?). On days where life is stressful, socializing cats provides another level of catharsis and tranquility.

Due to Covid-19, the shelter is currently closed to the public, though they continue to do fosters and adoptions by appointment. Unfortunately, the Heartland Thriftshop on 3rd St., which provides approximately 30% of Heartland Humane’s annual Budget, has closed (though they are selling items online!). In addition, donations are down as many folks in the community now face challenges due to the pandemic. 

While I am adjusting to shelter-in-place measures and a barrage of Zoom meetings, I’m fortunate to still have contact with the animals and incredible staff. As many of us are spending the majority of our time at home, physically distanced from others, it is an opportune moment to foster or adopt responsibly. I just happened to be seduced by Mamba, now Sombrita, in January and she has made life at home more comforting, entertaining, and enjoyable.     

For those of us in academia, there are many benefits to getting outside of our heads and grounding ourselves in the present, and there are no better teachers than animals. There are many ways to become involved and support Heartland. Donations to Heartland are tax-deductible and can be made at heartlandhumane.org. Any amount helps. If you would rather help another way, adopting during this time of social-distancing can be, as human-animal bonds always are, mutually beneficial. Fostering could also be something to consider later in the Summer once kitten season arrives. Or at the very least, we can value our essential workers and rethink our relationship to animals.

 

Life is always full of obstacles, but overcoming these obstacles in order to achieve your dreams is what really defines a person. Teaching isn’t always the most profitable of careers, but it is often the most pivotal – not only for the students but for the teacher as well.

 

For Carmen Lawson, teaching is a momentous charge. “I’m not going to be a doctor, I wasn’t born to catalog rock samples from Mars, and I definitely will never be in the Oval Office. Something I can do is teach future politicians to be tolerant and loving to all cultures. I can teach future engineers data collecting skills that they need to persevere for travel to new corners of space and the ocean floor. And I can teach future doctors and scientists to problem solve tirelessly until diseases have cures.”

 

Yet, as Lawson works toward her MAT degree from OSU-Cascades, she encounters difficulties above and beyond the education and the training itself. Lawson faced over a $1000 in licensure fees before recently receiving the first disbursements of the Teacher Licensure Support Fund scholarship. As she says, “With all of the expenses that make up the nickels and dimes of our family budget, a great weight settles on my shoulders as I look at the difficult reality of accomplishing my goals.”

 

With the scholarship award, Lawson can take a deep breath and more easily look ahead. “Being awarded these funds helps reduce my stress level and optimize my chances of success as an OSU-Cascades student.” She can now better focus her efforts on her schooling, family and the future.

 

Within the College of Education, we are acutely aware of the financial burdens our students confront. We wish to do all that we can to help unburden them. With the day of giving and other fundraisers, we work toward helping to relieve this stress for our graduates, the future leaders and educators of our communities.

 

Every donation received goes into a general fund to help cover the demanding licensure fees, and to give our amazing students, like Dawson, the ability to concentrate on what’s most important.

 

Donate Today!

 

 

Heather Anderson doesn’t sit back and hope for success to reach her, she is an active participant in all of her successes – and she sure isn’t stopping now!

 

Anderson won the 2016 Oregon Teacher of the Year, she received the 2017 National Education Association Teaching in Excellence Award, and she is a National Board Certified Teacher who has been teaching for 18 years. However, this impressive list of achievements did not come from luck. Anderson worked hard to be recognized, and never took the easy route to achieve her goals.

 

“It was humbling and amazing to be recognized as 2016 Oregon Teacher of the Year,” she says. “The award has allowed me to work on educational policy changes in our state to help support teachers and students.”

 

But when Anderson won Oregon Teacher of the Year in 2016, she realized there wasn’t just one reason for her success, but several – and that her path to becoming the best teacher possible began very early on.

 

Born and raised in Bend, Anderson established her roots and love of education in Oregon. Not only was her mother a teacher, so was her grandmother. Today, she still lives in Bend, but now with her own family. Having a strong community and growing up with such important influences, she simply knew teaching would be her calling.

 

Anderson says, “I loved to read as a child and now I love to instill the love of reading in children as a teacher.”

 

Anderson’s father graduated from Oregon State University in 1970, and raised his daughter to be a “beaver believer” as well. When it came time for her to pick a school, it was a natural choice to attend Oregon State University. And after graduating from Bend High School in 1996, Anderson enrolled at Oregon State.

 

However, her time at Oregon State was more than just about getting a great education. Anderson swam on the swim team, and joined a sorority; she learned the importance of being a part of a team, teamwork and social participation. “I was a member of Kappa Delta sorority and that allowed me leadership opportunities and skills that have also helped me in my career.” Outside her studies at Oregon State, Anderson used her time to give back to the Corvallis community. “Volunteering in a variety of elementary schools during my education at OSU helped me to learn what it was like to be a teacher and prepared me for working in schools in different settings.”

 

Anderson launched her teaching career in Maryland, and moved back to Oregon with her husband after six years on the east coast. She later obtained her Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from George Fox University and her Graduate Certificate in Teacher Leadership from Johns Hopkins University. Continuing in her scholarship (while also teaching fulltime), Anderson is a current doctoral candidate at Walden University in the Educational EdD program.

 

As a Reading and Math Intervention teacher at Juniper Elementary in Bend, Oregon, she realizes that all of those late nights and long hours of work and study are well worth the time and effort. But even in those difficult moments she remains optimistic and says, “I stay positive on hard days by remembering my focus and the reasons I teach. I also believe that my positive outlook impacts my students and I want to be a good example for them on a daily basis.”

 

And as she helps to navigate the next generation of educators into their professions, Anderson motivates them by saying, “Teaching is important! You are valued and appreciated by your community. Teaching is a rewarding job that can be challenging and overwhelming at times, however it is worth every moment.”

 

Anderson explores every new opportunity as she looks toward the future. “Educational technology has impacted my job by providing resources for students that need additional support, creative outlets and as an extension for children that need challenges in my classroom,” she says. Furthermore, her students will never be left behind on any front, “My school has an annual Juniper Film Festival where every classroom makes a student-created movie and then we celebrate the end of the year with a large celebration.” And if that was not enough, Anderson works for every student’s tomorrow, “We teach our elementary students basic coding, problem solving, and collaboration skills utilizing educational technology.”

 

In the end, there is no magic shortcut to being a successful teacher, but Anderson knows what it takes: “Be positive, work hard and you can make a difference in your classroom and community.” If that is not enough, she does have one simple equation to push our aspiring teachers onward, “Effective effort + Strategies = Success.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know your goals, know your path, give back, be a leader, these simple tenets offer the greatest rewards. For Marinda Peters, counseling was her goal, her path and ultimately her reward.

 

“My passion is for the betterment of our society, and I truly believe that our young people are our future, so if we can support our young people to be the best citizens that they can be or the most successful that they can be within their definition of success, I want to be a part of that,” says Peters, an OSU graduate and adjunct instructor at OSU-Cascades.

 

In 2014, Peters won the Oregon School Counselor of the year award. This impressive recognition is evaluated on the ability to create systemic change within the profession of school counseling. Through her own significant leadership, collaboration and advocacy skills, Peters was able to achieve increased student success and create fundamental change within her school.

 

On winning the award, Peters says, “I think it was really affirming the work that I do is valuable both how the students perceive it, but also how professionals in this area perceive it.”

 

Since receiving the Oregon School Counselor of the Year award, Peters went on to earn her Ph.D. in Counseling through OSU. She currently works as a counselor in Neil Armstrong Middle School in Forest Grove, Oregon, where she supports 450 seventh grade students. She assists them with social issues, career readiness, and academic advising. In addition to student counseling, she is also a Crisis Response Flight Team counselor.

 

For Peters, however, counseling is so much more than a job, “To be able to go to work every day and know that I’m making a difference and to feel that difference and to see that growth, really binds well with the passion that I have.” Her work is her calling, “I’m able to get paid for what I love to do, which is pretty amazing.”

 

As the primary breadwinner of her family, Peters believed that by pursuing a Ph.D. in Counseling she could not only make a significant positive impact with her students, but also her family. Still, she was not entirely certain how should could find the time, “The reality that I needed to be able to continue to work and do my job was really, really important.” When she learned about OSU’s hybrid program for the Ph.D. in Counseling, Peters knew she had found the answer to balancing school and work life, “This hybrid format allowed me to have access in a way that no other program was even close to allowing me.”

 

Regardless, embarking on such a daunting endeavor was intimidating. “I appreciated that [the program] was hybrid and not just online.” Peters was able to take advantage of all aspects of OSU’s unique platform, “I think there was a balance between the format working well, the instructors doing a good job using that format, and my cohort rocking it! They were so much fun.”

 

Oregon State University’s Ph.D. in Counseling degree prepares candidates to become advanced practitioners, clinical supervisors, and counselor educators in clinical and academic settings. The aim of this program is to develop skills in research that help to recognize and address the societal changes of diverse communities and their cultures. Ultimately, the candidates are readied to become leaders in their fields and advocates for change. And with this foundation, Peters recognized the multi-layered benefits of returning to school and completing her doctorate.

 

Looking back on her career before getting her Ph.D., she asks, “How did I ever do my job before? I’m so much more professional, and I have such a better theoretical base than I would’ve otherwise.”

 

Now, by extending her experience as an adjunct professor at OSU-Cascades, Peters is able to impart her own skills and knowledge with incoming students; “I think the quality of education that I got was pretty solid, so I really like giving back to a system that I believe in.”

 

She views her teaching opportunities as a way to motivate and encourage. “I think that people are inspired because they appreciate how others can change and better themselves and I think that if we truly believe that people have the capacity to find their inner resilience, then we can do our job in a meaningful way.”

 

Peters truly believes that being a middle school counselor is how she can change lives and make a difference in the world, particularly as she reflects back on her primary education experience and her own school counselor. “The culture of acceptance and love that she provided for the school was really inspiring.” She is now the one creating a culture of acceptance and love for her students.

 

Master of Arts in Teaching alumna Lural Ramirez hopes that new teachers dream big.

 

“College of Education students coming out of a really strong program like Oregon State’s should challenge and stretch themselves,” she says. “It’s important to be open minded, and learn new things. Dream big.”

 

Ramirez has been dreaming big herself since arriving at Oregon State in the early 2000s. “What was fantastic about the MAT program was the intensiveness. The program does a great job mixing pedagogical theory with time spent working with students and engaging more as a teaching professional.”

 

When Ramirez graduated, she felt fully prepared to enter the classroom. “I had a lot of good knowledge, and I had a lot of job offers coming out. I was a really good teacher candidate thanks to the program.”

 

Ramirez worked at Lincoln Elementary school in Corvallis after graduating, where she helped start a dual immersion program in Spanish and English. But after ten years, she was ready to dream a little bigger. “It was really inspiring to see all the changes we brought about at Lincoln. And I’d always wanted to move abroad.”

 

“I think that if you always stay in the same place, speaking the same language, working the same job, you’re not learning as much as you could.”

 

So Ramirez and her family moved to Costa Rica, where she joined Futuro Verde. “It’s one of the most inspiring schools I’ve ever worked at,” she says.

 

Futuro Verde is a bilingual IB (International Baccalaureate) world school located in rural Costa Rica. Their curriculum weaves environmental education and social justice in with the core classes, challenging students to be critical thinkers and learners.

 

Futuro Verde received its IB designation just this year after clearing a five year authorization process. “We have 185 students, and typically IB schools have between 500 and 1,000 students. We were told by the authorization board that they had never seen a school that was so small and rural that fulfilled the requirements to become an IB world school.”

 

Starting in 2019, students graduating from Futuro Verde will have the IB distinction on their diploma, something that Ramirez says will open countless doors for them. “We can already see a shift…they are much better thinkers and they are much better learners, but they also have much bigger dreams.”

 

“We’ve opened up this world of possibility for them.”

 

Futuro Verde is a nonprofit school, with around 35% of students receiving some kind of financial assistance. This sets it apart from other private schools, Ramirez says, and also ensures a more diverse student body.

 

Futuro Verde is also unique in its commitment to sustainability. The school has the highest green certification allowable in the country of Costa Rica, and all students take environmental education classes from the age of three.

 

“Our environmental education is a mix of theory and a lot of practice. We’re surrounded by native jungle. There’s howler monkeys in our trees. We want to embrace that nature. So we don’t have any doors or windows on classrooms, everything is very open. The animals come in and the students go out.”

 

“It’s a way for children to grown up very connected to the world around them.”

 

Students at Futuro Verde receive a holistic education. From the age of three, they take math, science, history, English, and Spanish classes, but they also take classes in visual arts, music, physical education, and swimming. “There’s also a comparative language study that gets the students thinking meta-linguistically about language development.”

 

“The students are not sitting for two hours doing math. Our kids are doing the math, but not necessarily in math classes. We believe they should have opportunities to learn in lots of different ways.”

 

Each graduating student is fully bilingual in Spanish and English, as classes are taught half in Spanish and half in English. Many students are often multilingual with as many as ten different languages spoken in the homes of students.

 

Students at Futuro Verde also have the opportunity to participate in sports, such as swimming. “Our kids are incredibly gifted athletically. They go to nationals, and we have kids qualifying for central american games.”

 

“We have a swim team that’s just incredible, and we don’t even have a pool. They train in the ocean and rivers. Then they go to these competitions in giant olympic sized pools they’ve never even seen before, and then they win! They have unbelievable grit.”

 

This year, the school received a donation that will go towards building a sports facility for the student athletes. “It’s amazing to see people around the world inspired and wanting to contribute and support our school,” Ramirez says.


Ramirez says the advice she would give to new teachers is to never stop dreaming. “It can be easy to think, maybe I did my student teaching in first grade so I’m going to find a first grade position, but it’s really important to stretch yourself. Can you be open to a possibility in a teaching assignment that goes beyond the class that you’re teaching that makes more of a community impact? Can you help develop a program at your school that has a really important impact on the community?”

 

“The most important questions you can ask are: what can I use my skills for, and how can I make the greatest impact on the community I’m choosing to work in?”

 

To find out more about Ramirez and Futuro Verde; visit the school’s website at:

https://www.futuro-verde.org/

 

Nell O’Malley always knew her heart was in teaching. “I derived a lot of pleasure from working with kids,” she says. “I worked at camps for 13 years. I gravitated towards working with kids during the summer.”

 

But for years, she worked as a professional writer in Boston. “I was in a cubicle doing a lot of writing, and really wanted to get out of the cubicle,” she says. “After several years of writing, working in private industry, I thought, ‘This is not where my heart is.’”

 

Nell and her husband Mike O’Malley, senior instructor here at Oregon State, moved to Oregon in 1991. Nell worked as an elementary and middle school teacher for seven years before coming to work at Oregon State as a part-time Student Teaching Supervisor. “I had two small children, it was a flexible job, and I loved it,” she says.

 

Over time, Nell began taking on more roles at the university. “As the kids grew older I was available for more work. I was asked to teach a class.”

 

“I remember thinking ‘I can’t do that.’ But I did, and I could.”

 

Nell has held many roles at Oregon State throughout the years. She moved up to Program Coordinator and oversaw master’s programs at the College of Education, then took over the undergraduate programs as well before becoming the Field Coordinator for all programs. In 2011, she took over as the Director of Licensure.

 

Nell says her experience working in different parts of the College of Education is an asset. “I have a lot of historical knowledge about how things work, how we evolved to the place where we’re at.” Her experience is an asset, she says. Her historical knowledge is what helps her understand how decisions should be made going forward.

 

As Director of Licensure, Nell oversees Oregon State’s alignment with accreditation processes, working with both state and national accreditation organizations. She says some of the difficulties students face are the rising costs of licensure and the demanding standards they must meet.

 

“Test scores and teacher effectiveness are not necessarily correlated,” she says.

 

“Giving students tools for improving their test scores would be very helpful,” she says. “We’re discouraging a lot of people who would be very effective teachers. People who have emotional intelligence and commitment to helping diverse students succeed.”

 

Nell’s says a commitment to a more diverse teaching force is in line with the College of Education’s current strategic plan, which was launched in 2015. The plan seeks to make the College of Education more diverse, more culturally competent, and more research-driven.

 

Donating to help pay licensure fees for education students will help that plan be fully realized. “We’re trying to increase the number of people going into teaching, as well as the diversity of people who go into teaching. We can’t do that without resources.”

Kyle Estrada has simple advice for students considering furthering their education. “I think you should find something that your passionate about. That makes everything so much more rewarding.”

 

“For me,” he says “That’s teaching and working with kids.”

 

As a psychology major at Vassar college, Kyle said that teaching wasn’t originally on his radar. “I’ve always really enjoyed working with kids, but teaching was never at the forefront of my mind in terms of career path.”

 

But after meeting Nell O’Malley, the Director of Licensure here at the College of Education, Kyle began to consider Oregon State’s Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program. “Spring of my senior year, I happened to run into Nell, who works at the education department here, and she told me about the M.A.T. program.”

 

“It kind of jumped up at me,” he says.

 

Now, the M.A.T. program is helping Kyle follow his passion for teaching. Kyle drove roughly 3,000 miles from Poughkeepsie, New York, to Corvallis to join the new cohort of M.A.T. students that will begin their work this upcoming fall.

 

The Master of Arts in Teaching program is a clinically-based program that immerses students in the classroom. These masters’ students spend two years fully integrated in the classroom, gaining valuable hands-on knowledge of elementary school teaching in the Beaverton School District.

 

Nell O’Malley herself is an instructor in the M.A.T. program. “It’s very near and dear to my heart,” she says.

“I think it’s the future of teacher preparation. We just graduated our first cohort, and they are some of the strongest student teachers I have ever seen. Two years in the classroom is just more powerful than one. A lot of great people and good heart in that program.”

 

Kyle says that it’s the program’s clinical focus and dedication to helping underprivileged students in the Beaverton School District that drew him to Oregon State.

 

He hopes that his past experience with psychology will help him excel in the classroom. “It’s a great background knowledge of the things kids could be going through and why they’re acting in certain ways. Otherwise it’s hard to rationalize why somebody would be destructive in the classroom or why somebody would not want to participate.” Kyle says that being the oldest of four brothers has also helped prepare him to teach.

 

Kyle says that teaching is an underappreciated profession. “None of us would be here today without our teachers,” he says. “It’s an incredibly important profession and we should do everything we can to help teachers be as qualified as possible.”

 

“They’re the people educating all the future leaders. It’s essential that we make teaching accessible and we make sure we are able to educate our teachers in the best way possible.”