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Apr 16

Alums Advise Current Students on Career Paths

Posted by Council of Students in Council of Students Blog on Apr 16, 2012

On February 21, BSCAA and COS co-hosted a panel discussion by a range of alumni who offered insights into their own professional biographies and imparted wisdom to graduate students embarking on their new careers. The speakers were:

Keith Berman, '03 is the President of Options for College, Inc. and the founder of the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth College Prep program.
Whendy Carter, '03 is the founding director of the Church of the Epiphany Day School.
Meghan Dunn, '08 is a LEAP Fellow, and is the proposed school leader of a new elementary school set to open in Brooklyn in September 2012.
Jonathan Foy, '02 is the principal of The Eagle Academy for Young Men located in the Bronx.
Natania Kremer, '07 is the Director of Early Childhood Support Services and Admissions at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services Child Development Center.
Todd Sutler, '10 left banking in 2004, was a co-founding teacher of the third grade at Community Roots Charter School, and two years later, helped start their fifth grade.

Two attendees of the event shared their responses with us:
From Vandana Mathrani, a Childhood Special and General Education Dual Certification student:
I got a chance to hear from public school teachers, principals, directors of private schools, and people that are still connected to the education field but who are not presently in the classroom. I really liked how Keith Berman stated that educators should ‘just be themselves’ in interviews and at various workplaces. Many of the speakers emphasized that the person applying for a job should also be able to ask questions to know if the workplace is a suitable match for the candidate. I hope that future events like this will include alumni in various other fields and informal networking can occur that can help job seekers in the field of education.

From Brandy Garcia, a General Education and Literacy student:
I initially attended the alumni event to hear Meghan Dunn speak. Her career initiative from Bed-Stuy teacher to the leader and Principal of a Brownsville public school mirrored that of my own career objectives. Having heard that Meghan looped with her students from 1st to 6th grade made me contemplate how gratifyingly challenged my practice might be if I were to take on such a feat. The notion of looping is a unique and theoretically rewarding one; a teacher would become much more familiar with her student’s family, learning style and overall background that encompasses and molds each child. However, I was interested in the practicality of this concept. Does looping truly bode well for both the students and the teacher? There was only so much research I could do; I wanted to get my answers from someone who had first-hand experience.

While I waited for Meghan to speak about her journey through the educational system, I began listening to the panelists, and surprisingly found myself relating to nearly every one. These young, bright, innovative and empowered educators discussed how they were ready to create change when they came to Bank Street. From investment banker, to Ivy League researcher, to stay-at-home mom, these educators saw a need for transformation and upheaval of both their current circumstances and that of their future students. Each panelist was an advocate for those youth in need and within these short snippets into their lives, it quickly became apparent what we all had in common and consequently, why we were all drawn to Bank Street College.

Bank Street will give you the theoretical background, progressive pedagogy, and child-centered approach you need to become a great educator, but what truly makes Bank Street incomparable to other prestigious universities, is its true sense of community. It is here that I feel apart of something more, where I’ve found mentors and colleagues that push me further and make me dive deeper and fight harder for what I believe in. Everyone has the same agenda and purpose. It’s through this collective efficacy that Bank Street has been able to create and maintain a true community within the school and, consequently, beyond. Those who attend Bank Street are here to help one another attain the overall goal: to educate.

After leaving the alumni event, I contacted Meghan and asked if she had some time to talk more in depth about her endeavors. With her busy schedule of teaching, creating a new school, and finishing her own studies in the LEAP program, she found time for me. For someone she didn’t know and had never met, she made the time. Meghan saw a community member in need and in true Bank Street fashion, she was there to help direct me…to give me the shovel, hammer, and compass as well as any other tool I should need to pave my own path.

I hope every student is lucky enough to find a Meghan Dunn, a mentor they discovered inadvertently, who takes the time to foster growth and help cultivate a sense of community. It’s educators like Meghan that remind me why I chose to become a part of the Bank Street community.

tagged alumni, bscaa
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