Grad Students Attend Summer Teaching Residency

Jul 16, 2021

The students spent two days at Cal U for face-to-face instruction and other activities to prepare them for student-teaching experiences in the spring.

  • - Cameron Mough of Greensburg (left) and Brandt Dykstra of Pittsburgh build a structure out of string and spaghetti as a pedagogical engagement activity.

  • - Courtney Hrycko of Belle Vernon (left) and Kelsey Collins of Peters Township take a selfie during a scavenger hunt.

  • - Martine DeSantis of Pittsburgh (left) and Charlynne Dicks of West Brownsville participate in a teaching exercise.

  • - Dr. Marcia Hoover measures a structure built by Anna Chappell of McKeesport (left) and Bernadette Trainer of Yukon.

Students in California University of Pennsylvania’s graduate program in secondary education came to campus July 16-17 for a summer residency. 

The M.A.T. program allows students to complete their master’s degree with secondary education in one of nine subject areas within five semesters. A combination of online courses, on-site field experiences and the residency gives secondary education graduate students the flexibility to continue working while earning their degree. 

The residency includes face-to-face instruction, interaction with their peers and a chance to teach sample lessons. One morning session included a scavenger hunt to introduce students to each other and to find key locations on campus. Working in teams to encourage collaboration and other pedagogical concepts, students built a structure out of string and spaghetti 

“It’s a chance for them to present a lesson to their peers as they prepare for their student-teaching assignments next spring,” said Dr. Marcia Hoover, professor and graduate program coordinator in the University’s Department of Education. 

Graduate student Bernadette Trainer, of Yukon, Pa., is a 2002 Cal U alumna with a degree in math and computer science education who has experience as an adjunct professor. She now works for Catapult Learning LLC. 

“Cal U has been great in accepting my previous credits and experience,” she said, adding that she is interested in Cal U’s Education and Administration Leadership doctoral program

For Brandt Dykstra of Pittsburgh, a career as a teacher is more of a stretch, professionally, but one he finds exciting. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and was working in retail inventory management before his position was eliminated during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I want to use my art background as a career pathway,” he said. “I’m learning a lot and still have much to learn before I student-teach, but the opportunity to teach art to others while hopefully having time during the summer to sell my own art is very exciting.” 

“These students are coming to Cal U from all walks of life with one thing in common: They have an interest in a career as a teacher and have invested in the steps necessary to make that a reality,” Hoover said.