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Spring 2017 Newsletter

Beginning in the Fall of 2017, The Education and Youth Studies Department will be starting at Blog to keep in all Education and Youth Studies alumni and prospective students informed. We will keep this site for archives, but Please click on the following link to be directed to the new newsletter. 

Kathy Greene Retires

posted Apr 28, 2017, 7:44 AM by fishercj@beloit.edu   [ updated Apr 28, 2017, 7:55 AM ]

Kathy Greene will be retiring this semester after 29 years at Beloit College. Her contributions to the Education and Youth Studies Department have been numerous: department chair, responsibility for the Science for Elementary Teaching Major; advisor for Track One, Elementary and Middle School certifiers; advisor for Track Two majors (e.g., Sciences); advisor for Track Three majors; and teacher of many EDYS courses. Through the many courses she has taught, her influence has been very important to so many EYDS students. Her teaching courses have included the following departmental offerings: Education in a Democratic Society, Developing Math Numeracy, Investigating the Natural World, Advanced Topics in Education, Student Teaching in Elementary/Middle School, Student Teaching Overseas, and Senior Thesis). Two college-wide initiatives in which Kathy played a key role were Girls, Women and Science, and Advising. 

Kathy’s professional presence at Beloit College was primarily defined by her role as professor of education and chemistry. She obtained a B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada), and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on science education, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her research and teaching interests included areas of higher education, science education, gender and schooling, and educational policy and practice for public democracy and social justice. 

As a department we wish Kathy the very best as she embarks on new ventures. We want to acknowledge her many contributions to the Department and the College and say thank you. She has many colleagues and students who will miss her enthusiasm for teaching. All the best, Kathy!

Liz Blair Goes to UW Whitewater

posted Apr 28, 2017, 7:17 AM by fishercj@beloit.edu   [ updated Apr 28, 2017, 7:49 AM ]

Liz Blair, our one-year visiting professor in EDYS, is leaving Beloit College at the end of this semester.   She is pleased to be named Assistant Professor in the School of Education at UW Whitewater for fall 2017.  Liz has successfully taught classes in “Development, Learning, Relationship,” “Gender and Education,” and “Research Methods.”  Students have found her courses challenging and relevant to their own interests and questions. Many have noted that she has a terrific research agenda to which she contributes a lot of energy.  A most recent research article, entitled “Undergraduate STEM Instructors’ Teachers Identities and Discourses on Student Gender Expression and Equity” was just published in th
e Journal of Engineering Education (Jan. 2017, Vol. 106, No.1). Thank you, Liz, for all you have contributed to EDYS this year.  Congratulations on your new tenure-track position!

Austin Padjen: Learning The Importance Of Teaching Colleagues

posted Apr 28, 2017, 6:51 AM by fishercj@beloit.edu   [ updated May 1, 2017, 6:20 AM ]

This Wednesday was a very cool moment for me at Beloit Memorial. Wednesday Juniors took the ACT, which meant first and second block was used primarily for test taking hours. Only Juniors were in the building and I still went just to see if there was anything for me to do or if there was maybe something I could learn. When I got to my classroom Mr. Hoey was not there, he was standing in the hallway adjacent to the classroom with the Social Studies faculty. While I had met most of the faculty, some of them I did not recognize so I decided to join their circle.

It was a really fun experience, for the hours I was there I felt like I was faculty too. We talked about everything: job placement, the interview process to get hired, money, stories about students, curriculum they use, textbooks, college, discipline in the classroom, the cell phone policy, and I am sure there is more I am forgetting, but the whole experience of just being around a majority of the social studies faculty gave me great insight. One particular piece of advice was from an administrator, whose name I can't recall, who told me not to worry so much when teaching in the classroom. He gave me great advice on how to manage anxiety in the classroom, and told me that his first five years teaching were the most gut-wrenching experiences of his life because he was constantly worrying if he was doing everything right. It felt good to hear that from someone with decades of experience over me, and that whole day made me realize how important it will be to have positive relationships with colleagues. 

It seems like the better the relationship you have with your colleagues the less stress one will have, because having colleagues like the social studies teachers at Beloit Memorial means that there is a support system, and it is that system that can help with the anxiety that can accumulate from teaching. My goal for when I first start out is to build that relationship as best as I can, and thankfully I already have it at Beloit Memorial.

New EDYS Program Coordinator!

posted Apr 24, 2017, 6:36 AM by fishercj@beloit.edu   [ updated Apr 26, 2017, 6:11 AM ]

Hello, My name is Tracy Ehlers and I am the new EDYS program coordinator at Beloit!  I am a former Health, Physical Education and Special Education teacher, and in October I became brand new momma of our first child Eloise Joy! This semester I have been working very hard at maintaining the order of the office, filling out paperwork and reports for the state reporting procedures, as well as moving our office into a more digital age; streamlining and digitizing previous procedures.

My current projects are updating our new EDYS website which we hope to launch in the fall, maintaining and establishing relationships with EDYS Alumni, as well as hiring new workers for both the summer and the fall. When I am not at work, I enjoy going for walks around town, visiting the farmers market with my family, running, and photography.

Please feel free to stop by my office at any time to meet me or to chat, my door is always open!  

EDYS Honors Term: Chen Bao

posted Apr 12, 2017, 7:44 AM by fishercj@beloit.edu   [ updated Apr 28, 2017, 6:24 AM ]

I graduated from the college in fall 2016 with a double major in Education and Economics, and I am currently working on an honors term project with the Institution Research Assessment and Planning office on campus. My emphasis for the semester is enhancing the student experience by analyzing, sharing, and further researching the experiences of students. The work involves analyzing student experience survey data, carrying out qualitative investigations, such as focus group conversations that explore the student experience that underlie aggregate survey findings, and enhancing data availability on campus. 

This service project entails: analysis of the new student experience metrics; proposing questions for further research, based on the student experience survey data; carrying out qualitative research to answer questions about the student experience; and communicating information about the student experience to campus audiences, including a new 2016-17 Fact Book with a completely revised and updated chapter on the Student Experience. I will be presenting the student experience metrics to members of the campus community at the end of my project. 

Being an honors term student make me still feel a connection with the college community. Since I work closely with an on-campus office, I found myself in the middle of still being a student and being a staff member. Though it is interesting to see the campus from the other side, I am also grateful that I can still be with students.

EDYS Student Worker Graduating

posted Mar 24, 2017, 12:15 PM by fishercj@beloit.edu   [ updated Apr 28, 2017, 6:24 AM ]

Caitlyn Fisher, who has been working for the EDYS department office since her freshman year (for every semester except last fall, when she studied abroad) will be graduating this May! Working for the Education Department has been delightful and rewarding, and she would like to thank everyone in the department for being so kind to her, and making her work-study at Beloit as meaningful as they did. A special thank you, as well, to Kathryn Johnson and Tracy Ehlers for being incredible and lovely supervisors. 

If all goes according to plan, Caitlyn will be returning home after graduation to study for the MCAT's, move out of her mother's house, and possibly get a cat. 


posted Mar 22, 2017, 6:16 AM by fishercj@beloit.edu   [ updated Apr 28, 2017, 6:26 AM ]

The ACTFL comes in two parts, the oral and the written. In the writing part of the test, they ask for some of your interests and ask you up to 4 questions on different topics, based on how you answer when they ask you about your interests. For example, if you say you enjoy pets, skiing and comics and that you like talking about environmental problems, you might get a question about pet licensing, or your opinion on the environmental crisis. They do not give you a lot of time to write so you will only get to complete about 4 paragraphs, so make sure you get to the point and don’t beat around the bush. 
        For the oral test, I was under the impression that it would be testing my conversational skills. However, it tests your ability to answer a complex question in the target language on the spot. They will ask you 12 questions in the target language that reflect your interests and you will have approximately 2 min to answer each one. They also allow you to replay the question once, which is nice. After you answer the question they move on to the next one, there is no conversation. It’s simply question-answer and then another question on a different topic. I would advise you to use as much of the time they give you. For example, if you are pretty much done answering the question and there’s still 30 sec left, you should just try to restate your answer in different words. They are testing your speaking ability, so you want to make sure you give them as much material as possible.

Good Luck

–Sawyer Lindland

Alumni Updates!

posted Mar 21, 2017, 1:46 PM by fishercj@beloit.edu   [ updated Apr 26, 2017, 6:32 AM ]

Brent Johnson

School of Education & Sociology Major 1996-2001

Principal Minocqua J1 School District

During my most recent family reunion my aunt asked me to reflect upon my experience in public education, specifically being a principal. They reminded me that when I was in high school I had told them that is what I was going to be when I grew up. I answered that I have never had such a difficult job in my life, and that it was also the best job in world. I’m still not sure about the growing up part…


Our profession of public education is a most noble and rewarding one. I would encourage students to look into teaching. There is no more fulfilling responsibility than help children to learn and grow. It is a job that is more than a paycheck, it is a calling. The profession is in demand of passionate people willing to make a difference. It is a great career choice that will put you in stable well paying job in which you can be a positive influence on your community.  


If anyone is in need of student teaching, support, advice, etc, please feel free to contact me at anytime. I am always looking to help a fellow Beloiter or advocate for our profession.

John C. Petito

I am teaching AP World History & World History at an all-girl's Catholic school in New Jersey. Professionally I am interested in the research being conducted on same-sex education and its impact on young women, as well as trying to write and implement a case studies approach toward the study of world history. To be honest, the amount and types of professional development that I undertake is pretty voluminous (happy to say my life–long learner mindset remains strong as ever!). I love where I work and I love the opportunity to inspire and instruct tomorrow's change-makers.

I think back on my work at Beloit fondly. I remember reading Carol Gilligan with Prof. Darlington and my seminars with Prof. New. The mortifying, yet illuminating process of videotaping my classroom lessons and then watching them with Prof. Warren. I look back on these moments from time-to-time when reflecting on how professional development has changed or was markedly different with colleagues than with professionals whom I am mentoring.

In terms of accomplishments or accolades, I have tried to keep my best efforts in the classroom. The best accomplishment(s) being the students who leave my classroom better off, happy, and engaged. I guess the best accolades have been former students years later reaching out to me to say how much my course and my time impacted their lives.

I have a bright, healthy 10-year-old daughter who I love coaching in soccer and performing with every year in the Nutcracker Ballet.

Steve Mrizek '99

A teacher and coach at Rockford Guilford High School, Mrizek teaches Criminal Law, AP US Government and Politics, and Government to classes of mostly seniors. He also coaches baseball here at Beloit College.

Last year Mrizek was the leader of a cross-curricular Mock Crime Scene project, where students had to integrate their skills from a variety of classroom disciplines in order to solve a murder. This project, which combined skills from Math, English, Science, Acting, and Social Studies, won project of the year for Rockford School District 205.

"At Beloit College we were compelled to write and to communicate out thoughts in written text. I am one of the strongest proponents of writing for the students at our school and often times stress the importance of writing to my classes."


"I have had several student teachers during my career, and the biggest problem I always see is that they are trying to be the method or philosophies that they have read or heard about in class. Teaching is personal. The methods and philosophies are important, but only in steering your persona to better help your students learn. Be true to yourself first and mold the methods and philosophies to your being in a way that works for you. Students form all age groups can see someone who is fake...they want someone who is genuine."

Alicia Wash, '09

Hi, my name is Alicia Wash and I am a 2009 Graduate of Beloit College and double majored in Education and Youth Studies Elementary- Middle School and Sociology. For the last 7 years I have worked and lived in the community of Beloit with the School District of Beloit. I currently teach 4th grade at Aldrich Intermediate School! 

I have worked at several schools since graduation and have dedicated my life and career to educating youth in Beloit and beyond. I live in Beloit with my husband and three children. I am originally from MN but I am so glad I stayed in Beloit after graduation to pursue my teaching career. My experiences from Beloit College allowed me to be ready to teach in this community! I  currently have a class of 21 4th graders who come from diverse backgrounds. I teach all areas of study and enjoy attending professional development conferences and trainings to always grow my practice as an educator and increase my students’ achievement. They energize me and challenge me each day to be the best teacher I possibly can, and for that I am very grateful for my students. 

At Aldrich Intermediate School I am also the Minority Excellence Organization liaison and advisor. I meet with students weekly in grades 4-8 and plan student led cultural awareness activities for the school. This has been a very rewarding experience. Another position I have with the school district is as an Educator Effectiveness Coach. I mentor other staff on the educator evaluation process and really enjoy helping teachers develop student learning objectives and professional goals. The School District of Beloit and the community has offered me many opportunities to further my career. 

In my spare time I enjoy volunteering at Caritas Food Pantry as an executive board member, attending my children’s many sporting events, and traveling with my family! I was recently nominated for the Zonta Women of Distinction Award for Beloit and will be receiving this award next week. I am thankful for all the professors and staff at Beloit College in the Education and Sociology departments for their guidance throughout the last 10 years. I love when my involvements in the community crosses paths with my Beloit College experience. I am very much Beloit Proud! If any current students would like to connect with me or have any questions throughout their time at Beloit and beyond I can be reached at aliciaswash@gmail.com


Introducing the edTPA with Nora Polaski

posted Mar 21, 2017, 1:41 PM by fishercj@beloit.edu   [ updated Apr 26, 2017, 6:35 AM ]

Describe the edTPA process.
The edTPA process is anything but a breeze, but if you plan and schedule you can get through it! There are multiple parts (tasks) to the edTPA, each a bit different from the next. You really need to get to know your class, then video tape, and then start digging into evaluating not only yourself teaching, but why you teach the things you do, and how you can reach your students most effectively. It is a lot of late nights, but it’s all worth it.
What was the most challenging part? The easiest part?
Challenging: The most challenging part was probably just being able to answer all the questions effectively and efficiently. When you end up typing over 40 pages, it can get very tiring. You have to make sure you cover every part of every question, without being too repetitive. 
Easy: Surprisingly, the easiest part was critiquing myself. I was nervous to video tape at first, but once I got used to it, recording and finding ways I could better my teaching was easy and useful. 

What did you think was going to be hard, but ended up being easier than you thought?
When first reading the prompts, I had no idea how I was going to talk about my students for so many responses. Once I got to know my kids though, it was so simple to expound on their needs and strengths, and how I could do my best teaching for them. 

What was the most rewarding part?
Definitely turning it in and being done with it! It was a long process but turning it in and knowing I finished was a huge accomplishment. Getting my score was even better! It has definitely been one of the things I have worked hardest on and am most proud of, and my score was the cherry on top.

How has this experience made you a better educator?
Realizing how to think about every one of my students needs and take into account when planning. It’s definitely made me think a lot about self reflection, and how I can use it in my teaching. It was something I struggled with doing and committed many hours to, but I know it's made me a better teacher. 

EDYS Nominates Liz Carpenter for a WACTE Award

posted Mar 21, 2017, 1:39 PM by fishercj@beloit.edu   [ updated May 19, 2017, 1:57 PM by Education Studies ]

Macintosh HD:Users:ehlerst:Desktop:liz.carpenter.jpg

The Department of Education and Youth Studies is pleased to nominate Liz Carpenter for the Pre-Service Educator Mentor Award.

This award is presented to an outstanding educator who has demonstrated a sustained pattern of mentoring pre-service educators for at least five years. The award recipient is selected based on attributes such as: the ability to model professional responsibility, evidentiary assessment, effective classroom management, the ability to mentor pre-service teacher candidates in developing their capacity to be a leader, and the ability to nurture candidates as they face a wide range of issues. Ms. Carpenter inspires pre-service educators in her Art classroom at Beloit Memorial High School through activities that link art to homecoming events, fundraisers for students in need, area art shows, and field trips to Chicago, London and Paris. As a teaching mentor, Carpenter is well known for her community activism, which has included participation in the Beloit Fine Arts Incubator and a BlackLivesMatterBeloit exhibition at the Wright Museum of Art on the Beloit College campus.

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