Four students at the College of the Holy Cross—William J. Geddes ’14, Matthew D. McCormick ’14, Michelle McGahan ’15 and Megan K. Norton ‘15—have been honored with Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarships. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the scholarship encourages talented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to become middle and secondary school teachers in these disciplines. Each year, these $22,000 awards are given to students who are enrolled in the Teacher Education Program, and who maintain a high grade point average as either math or science majors, with the expectation that they will commit to at least two years of teaching in under-resourced school districts for each year of scholarship support they receive. “These four students exemplify the goals of the NSF Noyce program—to bring excellent, passionate science and mathematics educators to our nation’s schools,” says Danuta Bukatko, chair of the Education Department.
William J. Geddes ’14, a physics major, from Cumberland, R.I., is a member of the College Honors Program, and serves on the student advisory committee for both the physics and education departments. A head orientation leader during the fall, and third baseman for the College’s club baseball team, Geddes has tutored high school sophomore, juniors and seniors in math at Claremont Academy, and Burncoat High School, both of which are located in Worcester, Mass. He is currently student teaching a senior physics classes with John Staley ‘99 at Doherty High School. After graduating, Geddes plans to teach in high school for at least four more years, before going into educational administration. “I want to become a teacher because I want to make an impact in the community,” says Geddes. “I see no better way to improve any given neighborhood than working to make its children informed citizens.”
Matthew D. McCormick ’14, a mathematics major, started tutoring his freshman year of high school in his hometown of Needham, Mass., and continued at Holy Cross. He has worked with seventh – 11th graders at Claremont Academy and at Burncoat High School, and fifth graders at Vernon Hill Elementary School, all of which are located in Worcester, Mass. A math tutor, McCormick explains that he is excited to become a high school teacher. “Being a teacher allows me to do something I love and presents me with endless opportunities to positively influence the lives of others,” he says. “What I like most is knowing that I have the chance to make a difference in a student’s life.”
Michelle E. McGahan ’15, a mathematics major, spent this past summer at an internship teaching inner city Providence high school students. Originally from Acton, Mass., she is a calculus workshop tutor at the College, as well as a teaching assistant for Professor Catherine Roberts. “I have noticed in my experience as a student, as a tutor and as a teacher that mathematics is a scary word to many students,” says McGahan. “One of my goals as a math teacher is to help students break these fears and interact with the material. I want students to be actively learning, and helping them find their own unique interpretations of mathematics.”
Megan K. Norton ’15, a mathematics major, grew up in Worcester, Mass. and had her first internship opportunity while she was a senior at Doherty High School when she interned at Forest Grove working with numeracy classes helping students who didn’t like math, or weren’t strong in it find a level of understanding. She has tutored through the Noyce scholars program for the past two years, is a teaching assistant for the mathematics department, and has worked on the academic staff for the College’s Passport program, assisting Professor Baumann with an intensive math class for incoming freshmen. “I want to work with those students who most need assistance and instruction,” says Norton. “I’ve always had a quirky love for math and I’ve seen students feel so overwhelmed and afraid of math, so I’d love to reach out and help mold their perceptions to realize how important and interesting math can be.”
Contributions to this piece by Jacqueline Smith ’15.
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