MAT Degrees to be Conferred – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

MAT Degrees to be Conferred

Marking the seventh year the Colleges have awarded MAT degrees, this year’s cohort is comprised of eight students who will graduate on Sunday, May 13. Four of the graduate students will qualify for a dual certification in childhood and students with disabilities (grades 1 to 6), four will receive adolescent certification (grades 7 to 12) with one in each of the following areas: French, social studies, English or Spanish.

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 project, three liberal arts courses at the graduate level, and two educational research courses. 

“We have an amazing cohort of eight MAT students this semester who all will go on to make an outstanding impact on the lives and education of children each in their own way,” says Assistant Professor of Education Mary Kelly.

This year’s MAT graduates completed projects on topics ranging from innovative teaching techniques, after-school programs, gender and religious stereotypes to masculine identity.

Jaime Callan, of Hamden, Conn., wrote a project focused on “Character Across the Curriculum: Quality Character Education through Children’s Literature,” under the direction of Professor of Education Pat Collins.

“Jaime’s project highlights the use of children’s literature as a vehicle for promoting character development at the elementary level,” says Collins. “Her project is an attempt to fuse the academic with the personal by using literature to provide children with authentic opportunities to think deeply about some of the moral and ethical decisions which even young children face.”

Callan graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Spanish and Hispanic studies in 2011 with a minor in education. While an undergraduate at William Smith, she studied abroad in Madrid, Spain.

Rebecca Fry, of Waterloo, N.Y., wrote her project “Let’s Get Moving: Using Creative Movement as a Teaching and Learning Methodology,” under the advisement of Associate Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier.

“Rebecca researched creative movement as a teaching and learning methodology, ultimately creating a research guide for elementary students,” explains Whittier. “The guide introduces the teachers to research on creative movement, provided techniques for using creative movement in the core curriculum classes, and included a series of lesson plans to help teachers generate ideas for using creative movement in English, mathematics, science, and social studies classes. She will be a great teacher thanks to her multifaceted and creative approach to education.”

Fry received a bachelor’s in dance in 2011 with a minor in education. While an undergraduate at William Smith, she was on Dean’s List.

Ryan Kincaid, of Geneva, N.Y., concentrated her project topic on “So You Want to Start an After-School Program? Helpful Hints & Lessons Learned,” under the direction of Kelly.

“Ryan is an amazingly dedicated student who has committed her college career to having a positive impact on the lives of Geneva youth,” says Kelly. “Her outstanding commitment to developing HWS programs that support Geneva youth prompted her to focus her MAT work on assessing the experience of developing and sustaining after-school programs in Geneva. The result of her analysis is a how-to ‘zine that aims to provide guidance for college students interested in developing their own programs.”

Kincaid graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in environmental studies in 2011 with a minor in education. As an undergraduate at William Smith, she was a four-year member of the William Smith cross country team, receiving the Cross Country Coach’s Award in 2010. Kincaid initiated the Building Bridges program to assist middle school students make the transition to high school and served as a student organizer for last year’s Seneca7 relay race around Seneca Lake.

Christa Levesque, of Framingham, Mass., focused her topic on “Deconstructing Gender and Religious Stereotypes in Popular Culture: A High School Curriculum Combining Religious Literacy and Media Literacy.” Instructor of Education Sherry Gibbon served as her adviser.

“It has been a pleasure working with Christa this past year. She is intelligent, caring and passionate,” says Gibbon. “Her MAT project focused on two major issues in today’s world: the power and influence of the media in shaping our views, and our lack of knowledge and understanding about three world religions. Christa created an elective designed to develop critical thinking skills in students as they consume the various media on a daily basis.”

Levesque, who will be attending Duke Divinity School next year, received her bachelor’s summa cum laude in French and Francophone studies with a minor in religious studies in 2011. As an undergraduate at William Smith, she studied abroad in Senegal and was a member of Close Knit, Hai Timiai, Laurel Society, Campus Peer Ministry and the Episcopal Fellowship.

Kevin Matteson, of Hannibal, N.Y., completed a case study, titled “Man Up? The (Potential) Transformative Role of High School Athletics in Building Character and Exploring Masculine Identity,” under the direction of Assistant Professor of Education Khuram Hussain.

“Kevin’s project reflects his dual passion for coaching and social justice,” explains Hussain. “He has developed a powerfully important curriculum for high school football coaches to transform sexist and homophobic attitudes among their athletes. In the process of completing the project, Kevin developed a more sophisticated and detailed picture of best practices that will promote student learning.”

Matteson received a bachelor’s magna cum laude in Spanish and Hispanic studies with a double minor in education and public policy studies in 2011. As an undergraduate, he was a two-year member of the Hobart football team, a Statesmen Scholar in 2008, a Spanish Teaching Fellow and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. 

Laura Moeller, of Simsbury, Conn., developed a master’s project that concentrated on “Living Languages: A Content-Based, Multi-Sensory Approach to Teaching Foreign Languages in Elementary School.” Assistant Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies May Farnsworth served as her adviser.

“For her project, Laura developed a cutting-edge curriculum for elementary school foreign language teaching,” says Farnsworth. “Laura’s approach is designed for elementary schools that only allot a small amount of time for foreign language teaching in the school day, which is the case for most U.S. public schools. The Living Languages approach makes the most of these windows into foreign language by combining fun and interactive immersion Spanish lessons with the pre-existing elementary curriculum.”

Moeller, who will be teaching kindergarten at the Key School in Annapolis, Md. following graduation, graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in Spanish and Hispanic studies with a double minor in education and anthropology in 2011. As an undergraduate, she was a Spanish Teaching Fellow and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain.

Alaria Pizzo, of Greenwich, Conn., completed a master’s project, titled “Inspiring Inclusive Instruction: A Resource Manual for Secondary English Language Arts Teachers,” under the advisement of Kelly.

“Alaria is dedicated to becoming the best teacher she can be for all of her students, so she focused her MAT project on developing a resource guide that encourages and supports high school English teachers to insure the meaningful classroom participation of all students, both with and without disabilities,” says Kelly. “Alaria has a tremendous drive, and as she transitions to being a teacher in the Teach for America program next year, I know her students will be in the hands of an outstanding teacher.”

Pizzo received a bachelor’s magna cum laude in English with a minor in education in 2011. As an undergraduate, she was a four-year member of the William Smith Crew Team and received the S. Ford Weiskittel Most Valuable Oarsman and Cynthia Oyler ’93 awards. She also served as vice president to the College Experience Outreach Club.

Ashley Yang, Pittsford, N.Y., constructed a project on the “Impacts of Gender Role Self Perception Among High School Adolescents,” and was advised by Assistant Professor of History Laura Free.

“Ashley researched ideas about gender among high school social studies students,” explains Free. “While she didn’t find any perception of gender bias among teachers, she did find that students had pretty clear ideas about what activities and academic subjects were ‘boy’ subjects/activities, and what were ‘girl’ activities. Ashley is a truly enthusiastic teacher and she just lights up whenever she talks about her students.”

Yang graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in history and a minor in education in 2011. As an undergraduate, she was a member of Close Knit and Laurel Society.

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.