Master's Degree in Secondary Education Paves Alum's Path to Teaching High School Science Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Meet Chris Colonna
Job Title: Seventh Grade Life Science Teacher
Employer: Carlynton Junior-Senior High School
Degrees earned: Master of Education in secondary education, Point Park University; Bachelor of Science in biology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Graduation years: 2011 and 2008
Hometown and current residence: Carnegie, Pa.
Activities: Coaching football, track, and weight lifting; member of Point Park's graduate education advisory board
Why is secondary education the field for you?
Since I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I've always been able to take complex information and make it understandable to others. My goal is to inspire students to get on the track to college and pursue careers in science.
What made you choose Point Park for graduate school?
As an undergraduate student, I began to have second thoughts about teaching so I decided to get my degree in biology without the teaching part. After graduating, I worked as a waiter and bartender. I was exploring sales jobs and knew I wasn't where I wanted to be. During that time, I was introduced to Dr. Richard Gutkind and that's how I became connected to Point Park. Ultimately, I chose Point Park for its extremely flexible schedule and very inviting faculty. When I visit Point Park, I still give my professors a hug. The personal relationships you develop with faculty at Point Park is second to none.
How did you land your current position?
After graduating, I made information packets and handed out my resume everywhere throughout the Pittsburgh region. I found out there was an opening at my alma mater, Carlynton Junior-Senior High School, and applied. In my interview with the administration, I was very well prepared for their questions and as a result, was offered the position.
What advice do you have for teachers considering a master's degree in education?
Although financial times may be tight, I still recommend doing it. You will be learning the latest PDE trends so it will put you ahead of the person next to you. Point Park's teachings were spot on with trends in education. Also, it was a great opportunity for me to be both a student and teacher at the same time. While going to grad school, I had a long-term substitute teaching position with Pittsburgh Public Schools. What I was learning at Point Park directly translated into the classroom where I was teaching. It was great to be able to implement my new skills right away.
What are your future career goals?
I would like to teach in the classroom for the next four to five years and then pursue a Ph.D. in educational administration. My goal is to be a principal and then ultimately, a superintendent.