Two UC Berkeley alumni will have $175,000 and the expertise of an entire nation of teachers as they look for teaching jobs in the Bay Area this fall.
Andrea Negrete and Andrew McCarty were named 2012 fellows of the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, an organization that provides support for up-and-coming math and science teachers. Through the five-year fellowship, Negrete, a math major, and McCarty, a physics major, will be introduced to experts and teaching resources intended to enhance their professional growth.
Both graduated from UC Berkeley this year with teaching credentials after participating in CalTEACH, a university education program with individual campus branches that recruits and prepares math and science majors for future teaching careers.
As CalTEACH participants, Negrete and McCarty attended seminars, took CalTEACH courses and accumulated hands-on experience by teaching at local schools in Berkeley and Oakland.
Negrete credits CalTEACH with influencing her approach toward teaching. She said the program showed her that there was much more to teaching than she had originally expected, introduced her to new teaching methods and allowed her to explore the process of learning.
The two alumni have also each been awarded $175,000 in grants from the foundation designed to assist them with remaining in the teaching profession. According to Negrete, the funding will enable her to teach at at-risk schools as she hoped.
“My plans have always been to teach at (an at-risk) school, and the fellowship will let me do that. My concern (with teaching at an at-risk school) was the pay, lack of network and the low amount of resources that I would have available,” Negrete said. “With this fellowship, I will have the financial backing to provide me with the materials and the resources I need in my classroom.”
However, though the $175,000 will definitely support their teaching careers, both Negrete and McCarthy agreed it is not necessarily the most important resource provided by the fellowship. The program will also bring them into a valuable network of experienced educators that can supply feedback and advice, Negrete said.
“Through this fellowship, I can find a strong community of math teachers,” she said. “I hope to have a network of people that I can connect with and bounce ideas off of for a lesson. I want to learn from people just as motivated and dedicated to the profession.”
As for McCarty, this nationwide network of teachers was his main motivation for applying to the fellowship.
“I really wanted the support and the collaborative community,” McCarty said. “This is a support group that will help me develop as a teacher over the next five years. As a new teacher, I don’t have a lot of experience, and this will let me benefit from more experienced teachers.”
UC Berkeley CalTEACH program director Elisa Stone said she and others involved with the program are thrilled about the news and view this as a sign of the program’s success.
“We’re really proud of the students for being recognized for being so well-qualified and having great leadership potential, and we are excited that they will have access to this professional development and the ability to connect nationwide, beyond UC Berkeley and beyond California,” Stone said.