Student Success Stories
Cohort 18, Publishes Research with The Journal of Teacher Action Research
Once completing my B.A. in English Literature at Cleveland State University, I felt that I needed to use my passion for the English language and literature by pursuing a degree in Education. Having attended CSU for my undergrad, continuing to seek my education there made sense to me. I was first introduced to the MUST program through some friends, and after researching the program and talking to the advisors, I believed this would be the perfect fit for me. There were several factors to MUST that really drew me to want to be a part of this program. One was their focus and devotion to social justice along with their involvement with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Another aspect that drew me into the program was the fact that this program allowed me the opportunity to work within a classroom for the entire school year.
Along with the year-long student teaching experience, we were also required to complete an action research project throughout our residency. This project was particularly rewarding because it was conducted with my actual students. Not only did it give me the opportunity to make a real difference in my students’ reading lives, but I was given the opportunity to publish my action research project in an upcoming issue of The Journal of Teacher Action Research.
Abstract of Action Research
In today’s classroom, it can be a struggle to get students motivated towards completing independent reading. As a means to increase student engagement in independent reading, students were surveyed in regard to their reading habits and preferences. Once results were tallied, I introduced a classroom library filled with books from my personal library and books accumulated at library sales. The setting of this research was at an urban Midwestern high school. The school had no library on campus and many students lacked the resources necessary to have books of their own. Along with the library, I conducted regular book talks to try and further engage students.
Through the use of surveys and tracking test scores, I compared students’ engagement with books from when the school year began until the school year was over. At the end of the research, the number of students that found enjoyment in reading had increased as a result of the library and regular book talks.
In addition to this increase, students also showed growth on their NWEA test scores for reading and the classes, as a whole, went up 1.23 reading grade levels over the course of the research. By introducing the library and my love of reading, students came into class more excited to read and discuss books with myself and each other.
Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated in human health and anatomy. My high school Biology teacher really sparked my interest in life science, which led to me to study Biology during my undergrad at Baldwin Wallace University.
Following my undergrad at Baldwin Wallace, I was not entirely sure how to utilize my Biology degree. I had gotten my feet wet working in several fields (laboratory work, police work, outside sales) before finally deciding to go back to school to further my education. Feeling lost in search for a graduate program, I stumbled upon the MUST Program at Cleveland State University. This program caught my eye because it was a "fast-track" 14-month program that gave me the opportunity to earn both a Master’s degree and a teaching license at once. Not only this, but CSU’s close networking with local urban schools was impressive; I saw the opportunity to teach and make a difference in the lives of students who need it the most.
My undergraduate and graduate studies have well prepared me to take on any challenges that come my way as I begin my future as an educator. My science undergraduate studies have provided me with the science knowledge I need, while the MUST Program has provided me with the tools and techniques to implement what I know in the classroom. I've learned the latest pedagogical methods and most effective classroom strategies and have already begun to practice them through my student teaching experience. I am confident in my abilities and look forward to having my own classroom.
Action Research Thesis
My research is focusing on project-based learning (PBL) and its effects on students' comprehension and retention of material in science. Through the MUST curriculum, we learned many techniques and teaching styles to implement in the classroom. Being a student that favors hands-on, inquiry-based science, I felt that studying PBL was a perfect fit.
Before enrolling into MUST, I was working for a consulting firm which worked on education and workforce projects for non-profits and government agencies. Several of my projects involved evaluating the effectiveness of education programs. No matter which way I cut the data, it was the talented and dedicated teachers that changed the outcomes. After being involved in the realm of education through my previous work, I discovered that I love teaching and being inside of the classroom.
I studied International Relations and Political Science during my undergraduate studies. I loved learning languages and traveling. I made a deal with myself after graduating high school that I would go to college at least every other year until I finished. It took me a little longer than most students to get my undergraduate degree, but by the time I graduated, I had worked or studied on four continents.
I plan on using all of my experiences that I gain in MUST to help me teach, including everything that I learned from my undergraduate studies. MUST has been great about getting us into the classroom as much as possible. We're working with the same group of students throughout the year, which has been invaluable in preparing us for our own classrooms next year.
Action Research Thesis
I am working on changing the perception of science and scientists. I am looking into what happens when we bring in community members to work on projects alongside our kids and what those effects are. I want my students to look at science as a useful tool for investigating and changing their world, not something that old white men do in lab coats in a faraway place.