This year marks the sixth year the Colleges have awarded MAT degrees. This year’s MAT cohort is comprised of eight students, five of whom will, after receiving their degrees, qualify for New York State Teacher Certification in adolescent education (grades 7 to 12), two will receive childhood and special education certification (grades 1 through 6) and one will have childhood certification.
The MAT program is a competitive graduate program exclusively for undergraduate students enrolled in the Teacher Education Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. As part of the MAT program, students complete 36 hours of course work, including one semester of full-time student teaching, a year-long master’s thesis or project, three liberal arts courses at the graduate level, and two educational research courses.
“It is a challenging and rigorous year, but our students have certainly risen to the challenge and we are very proud of them,” says Mary Kelly, assistant professor of education and director of the MAT Program.
This year’s MAT graduates completed theses on topics ranging from mathematics to writing, instruction and parent involvement to perceptions held by children of color.
Alexandra Bowers’ (East Sandwich, Mass.) thesis focused on, “Engaging All Students in Mathematics: A Personal Exploration and Response.” Paul Kehle, associate professor of mathematics teacher education, was her adviser.
“Alexandra has demonstrated a natural ability to take charge in any academic environment she enters. She is simultaneously very approachable, effectively encouraging students to succeed, and firm in holding them to challenging expectations,” says Kehle. “Her MAT project was a personal exploration of her devotion to helping all students learn mathematics; and when her passion, devotion, and skills are combined with her work ethic, I’m confident that Alexandra will succeed at whatever goal she sets for herself. Soon, it will be her students who are being inspired by her.”
Bowers earned her B.A. in mathematics in 2009 with a double minor in education and Spanish and Hispanic studies. While an undergraduate at William Smith, she was an award-winning member of the Heron Crew team. She is a recipient of the Hazel Nettleship Hardy ’65 Award, presented to the student in her middle years who has contributed to the growth of Heron athletics and is an excellent representative of William Smith athletes.
Caitlin Caron (Woburn, Mass.) wrote her thesis, “Developing Habits of Revision: How the Personal Writing Transformations of Writing Colleagues Impacts Their Work with Student Writers,” under the advisement of Cheryl Forbes, chair, Writing and Rhetoric and director of The Writing Colleagues Program.
“Caitlin’s thesis demonstrated a command of the literature on composition pedagogy far beyond an M.A. student, and her manuscript demonstrated that she practiced revision, for with each draft her work became stronger,” says Forbes. “She is a motivated, dedicated, intelligent student.”
Caron is 2008 graduate of William Smith, having earned her B.A. in English cum laude with a Writing Colleagues Program minor.
Lindsey Dick (Rutland, Vt.) selected the thesis topic of “Differentiated Instruction and Parent Involvement: Putting Research into Practice.”
“Lindsey chose a master’s project topic that demonstrates her commitment to teaching all children, regardless of ability or disability. She will make an excellent teacher and be one who truly enjoys her students,” says Helen McCabe, assistant professor of education and Dick’s thesis adviser. She found a job, quite early in the search process, team teaching in an inclusive classroom for students with and without disabilities.”
Dick graduated from William Smith in 2009 with a B.A. in psychology and education minor. She was a member of the alpine ski team.
Trista Harris ’09 (Queensbury, N.Y.) worked under the direction of Khuram Hussain, assistant professor of education.
“Trista’s master’s thesis project set out to examine how study abroad programs and student teaching placements can promote the development of best practices for teachers in multicultural classrooms. Her project spanned two continents, incorporating her academic preparation, her student teaching placement in Geneva, and her study abroad in Russia,” explains Hussain. “Throughout the project she made critical inquiries into the nature and context of her teaching and developed new strategies for including all of her students in an interactive learning experience. In completing the project, Trista has developed a richer and more nuanced understanding of what it takes to make her classroom a transformative and empowering space for her students and for herself.”
Harris’ project is titled, “Classroom Implications of Reflective Teaching Practices: A Modern Day Resource.” She earned a B.S. in biology from William Smith College with a minor in environmental studies.
Isabel Olson ’09 (Buffalo, N.Y.) completed “A Case Study of High School Chemistry Lab Programs: Comparing Available Funding to Educational Quality.”
“Isabel had an extremely strong Honors project, so it was no surprise when she put together an extraordinary research project and thesis for her MAT,” says Walter Bowyer, professor of chemistry.
Olson earned a B.S. in chemistry magna cum laude with minors in mathematics and education.
Kieran “Pat” Parker (Syracuse, N.Y.) worked under the advisement of Professor of Education Charles Temple to write, “Countering the Crisis: Taking Literacy-Reform Research into the Classroom.”
“Pat Parker has many fans in the Education Department for his cheerful disposition, helpful attitude, and his willingness to go the second mile, and often the third, with every good work he does. We’re still waiting to see if his master’s project will have to be published in two volumes,” says Temple.
Parker earned a B.A. in English cum laude from Hobart College in 2009, with minors in American studies and education.
“Shanté Rogers is a creative force that inspires others. For her master’s project, she studied the perceptions of children of color about friendship in first and second grade because she wants to encourage youngsters to learn to develop positive, inclusive friendships,” says Rogers’ thesis adviser, Kelly. Rogers’ project is titled, “They’re nice. They share with me. We have fun!”: Perceptions of Children of Color about Friendship in First and Second Grade.”
“I sincerely enjoyed working with Shanté. She is an intelligent, highly organized person who will make a great contribution working with children. She will be missed here, but her future students will be lucky to have her as their school teacher. She will encourage new generations of young students to learn and explore new ideas and to be successful in school.”
Rogers (Yonkers, N.Y.) is a 2009 graduate of William Smith, having earned a B.A. in an individual major, with minors in psychology and peer education in human relations. She was a Jumpstart volunteer and a member of the Laurel Society as an undergraduate. She is graduating this year with a dual teaching certification in elementary and special education.
Cassandra Kounas’ project, “General Education Teacher Preparation and the Inclusive Classroom: A Self-Reflective Study,” is a rigorous look at literature about inclusion and teaching, used to support and understand experiences that she had in her teaching.
“Cassandra is an extremely bright student who brings together research and practice in her project and in the way she looks at teaching. She is interested in investigating educational research in depth and applying what she learns to her teaching,” says McCabe. She and Cerri Banks, assistant professor of education and Dean of William Smith College, are her co-advisers.
“As a general education student teacher, Kounas sought to understand inclusion for students with disabilities, something she had not been exposed to much in her training. This was a very good choice, as it demonstrates her commitment to teaching students with disabilities, who will likely be in every general education classroom in which she teaches,” explains McCabe.
Kounas earned a B.A. in sociology from William Smith College in 2009, with a minor in public policy studies. She was a member of the swim team as an undergraduate.
This year’s Commencement ceremony will be held on the Colleges’ Quad. For more information on this year’s graduation, visit the Commencement page.
More information on the MAT program is online. [http://www.hws.edu/academics/education/mat_program.aspx]