Faculty Q&A: Kamryn York, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, School of Education Thursday, October 6, 2022
"The faculty in the School of Education are consistently devoted to our own learning and development in the field of education. We are passionate and excited to work with our students to help them become prepared individuals for the workforce. We know each of our students by name, their strengths and how we can best assist them to be successful."
Engaging, hands-on and interactive: When School of Education students enroll in a course taught by Kamryn York, Ed.D., they can expect a learning experience vastly different from the typical seated lecture.
"I rarely talk for an extended period of time without giving my students an opportunity to explore the content and learn by doing," she said. "There are always a lot of discussions, movement and opportunities to apply the concepts that are being learned. I guide my students through activities that help them make meaning of the content."
York brings a wealth of real-world experience to the classroom, including years of teaching Pre-K through sixth grade and working as a behavioral specialist serving children with autism and their families. Her Point Park journey started when she completed the Leadership and Administration doctoral program and worked as a graduate assistant for the School of Education before joining the faculty as an instructor. This fall, she was promoted to assistant professor.
In the Q&A below, learn about York's contributions to the School of Education and her recommendations for students exploring Pittsburgh for the first time.
You're involved in several initiatives in the School of Education, such as training for Youth Mental Health First Aid. What does it mean to you to share that training with our students?
Youth Mental Health First Aid is a program designed to equip individuals with the ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of non-crisis and crisis situations. The training is a valuable tool for all of our pre-service teachers to have as they start their careers in the classroom. Research shows that children are under many stressors which affect their well-being and performance in the classroom. The skill set acquired in this training will help our pre-service teachers better meet the needs of the children in their classrooms. We are not training them to be therapists but to aid in the process of recognizing signs of mental health and linking those in need with the right resources and supports to help. We look forward to expanding our wellness initiative as we work with more faculty members and staff at the University and teachers in our local communities.
You've also been instrumental in the launch of the Matt's Maker Space Lab at Point Park. What benefits have you witnessed in applying maker education to your coursework, and how do you hope to expand on it at the University?
In 2019, the School of Education was fortunate to receive a generous donation from Noelle and Dave Conover to open our very own Matt's Maker Space classroom lab. While many of our courses include aspects of maker and stem education, this new classroom has better equipped us with resources to model, demonstrate and provide hands-on experiences in this type of learning environment. Our courses allow students to collaboratively solve problems that strengthen their understanding of themselves and the world. The University and School of Education administration have strongly supported this initiative, which shows their dedication to best preparing our students for their future careers. In addition, a 3-year grant project funded by The National Science Foundation has provided the faculty with professional development training, materials and resources to expand this initiative at the University and in our local schools as our students work with children in field experiences.
What makes the School of Education distinctive from other universities?
The faculty in the School of Education are consistently devoted to our own learning and development in the field of education. We are passionate and excited to work with our students to help them become prepared individuals for the workforce. We know each of our students by name, their strengths and how we can best assist them to be successful. The faculty work collaboratively and productively to ensure our students are getting the very best education and preparation. We are proud of our programs and work diligently to stay current and relevant in all areas.
Let's say a new student is looking for things to do in Pittsburgh. What are your top three recommendations?
Regardless if a student likes sports, I would highly recommend they attend a Pittsburgh Pirates, Steelers or Penguins game. There is nothing like the hometown support that Pittsburgh fans bring to the stadiums and arena, and you can get a fast glimpse of the culture of our city. Secondly, there are so many great paved trails, parks and hiking spots around the Pittsburgh region. Whether you are a walker, runner, biker or simply enjoy the outdoors, you can appreciate the beautiful spaces that surround our city. And lastly, we live close to so many cultural options. Pittsburgh is home to great restaurants, featuring a variety of ethnicities, as well as so many different theaters and concert venues. There is always something going on!
Learn more about Dr. York in the video below:
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