Education Student Scores in Top 15 Percent on Praxis Exam, Tutors Youth in Pittsburgh Thursday, August 20, 2015
Meet Andrew Rauluk
Major: Post-Baccalaureate in Secondary Education Biological Sciences
Expected graduation: May 2016
Degree earned: B.A. in biology, University of Delaware, 2013
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
High school: North Hills High School
Hobbies/interests: Cooking, baking, gardening and sartorial pursuits
Post-baccalaureate secondary education biological sciences student Andrew Rauluk recently earned the ETS Recognition of Excellence Award for his outstanding performance on the Praxis® II test. Rauluk's score ranked within the top 15 percent of all test takers who have taken the assessment in previous years.
Who inspired you to major in secondary education biology?
Arriving at the decision to major in secondary education biology took a number of years, an undergraduate biology degree and some encouragement. My primary sources of inspiration are my high school biology teacher, Jennifer Ortiz, and my mother, Ruth. I must credit Mrs. Ortiz for catching my interest in the subject area since I had always viewed myself as being less oriented toward the sciences and more toward history and liberal arts. What I learned in her AP biology classroom helped set the groundwork for my future studies and stirred my imagination about the future of biology.
My mother is another inspiration because she is constantly learning, acquiring new skills or researching opportunities to expand her horizons. From my early years, she has shown me the value of an education and in turn driven me to pursue education so that I can impart that lesson to others.
Tell us about the work you do as a volunteer for the Neighborhood Learning Alliance.
My role as a volunteer with the Neighborhood Learning Alliance has been multifaceted and truly a valuable experience as a teacher candidate. I am engaged with students who are essentially in summer school, recovering failed credits through an online system that must be administered and supervised. For the most part, I tutor students in various subjects. This has allowed me to help students with not only biology but also basic chemistry, algebra, geometry, civics, history and English.
Beyond content tutoring, I advise students on note taking and test taking strategies to help ensure they finish their summer courses before the end of the program. I must also play the disciplinarian and help keep students on task. Overall, my volunteer work has been an invigorating experience and has allowed me to apply different teaching techniques and pedagogical knowledge that I have learned as an education student at Point Park.
Describe the teaching style of the education faculty at Point Park.
The education professors at Point Park really practice what they preach, so to speak. Last spring I had the opportunity to take educational psychology with Dr. Eric Stennett. He really opened my eyes to the cognitive research behind teaching techniques. Dr. Stennett modeled the behaviors and techniques of an effective teacher, provided the class with enriching activities to show cognitive theories in practice and truly took the time to get to know each of us. Overall, he showed us so many ways to meet the needs of our future students just by how he conducted his class.
What advice do you have for education majors preparing to take their PRAXISÂ® and PAPA exams?
For PRAXISÂ® test takers, I have two important recommendations. Bite the proverbial bullet and sign up for a test if you have not already. Also, consider purchasing a practice exam from ETS. I dawdled over when to take the exam but then I finally decided to take it and gave myself a week to prepare. I know that does not seem like a lot of time but it prevented me from procrastinating. Every situation is different, but for me I knew I did not need a ton of time to review, just a quick, focused review. I purchased an inexpensive, downloadable practice test from ETS, which was most helpful. It allowed me to focus on the content I needed to review and reminded me how much I know and remember from my various biology classes.
As for the PAPA exam, I tested out of the exam due to the fact that I hold a degree already. If I had to take it, I would search for testing materials online or ask my advisor for advice on how to best prepare.
What are your career goals?
I am not absolutely certain where I would like to teach but I am open to moving around the country. A part of me feels very strongly about supporting the public school system. However, I am also investigating different private school teaching opportunities as well.
Photo by Victoria A. Mikula, junior mass communication major