Meet Diane Silva Pimentel
Following the June retirement of Dan Bisaccio, Diane Silva Pimentel began her new position as director of teacher education and associate professor of the practice in the Brown University Department of Education. We’d like to introduce our students, faculty, staff and community to this special person.
Diane on Attending Brown as a First-Generation Student
Years ago, Diane had applied to Brown facetiously, knowing her immigrant family wouldn’t be able to afford for her to attend. After being encouraged by a friend to apply, Diane wanted to know whether she was worthy of being admitted – and she was. “Brown was very good to me,” Diane says now. “The university opened many worlds for me, many opportunities.”
Diane had grown up as a traditional Portuguese girl with Portuguese friends and a social life centered around Portuguese events. At Brown, she learned about other cultures and ways of thinking. She dubbed Brown her “door to science,” crediting the university with allowing her to see herself as a scientist for the first time. Although she originally planned on studying math, her Brown biology instructor, Ken Miller, was “phenomenal” and expanded Diane’s interests in new directions. She had thought at some point that she may want to study cancer but didn’t think that career path could be attainable; Dr. Miller’s course showed her she could do this.
Now, after 20 years of teaching, Diane has returned to Brown as an associate professor and teacher education director. She credits Brown for allowing her to maintain her link to the local community she loves, and she feels indebted to Brown for the rest of her life for providing her with opportunities to succeed. Diane had been the first generation and first person in her family to attend college – and she now holds a Ph.D. She has great respect for Brown’s mission and is proud to be part of that mission.
Diane on Teaching Continue reading
On May 17, 2017, Brown MAT students gathered at The Wheeler School in Providence to present their year-long teacher research projects. Director of Teacher Education Daniel Bisaccio welcomed everyone to the conference.
Dulari Tahbildar (Brown ’00), executive director of Breakthrough Providence whose works centers on educational equity and social justice, provided the keynote address. Dulari challenged the MAT students by participating in an exercise that encouraged them to reflect on their own teaching experiences and what they hope to do and be in the future classroom.
After a brief reception for students, faculty, mentors, and friends, 39 MAT students presented their projects during three 30-minute sessions. Visitors ambled from room to room to view presentations on computers and on posterboards, some with visual aids ranging from completed classroom assignments to student poems to taxonomy.
Read on to see candid conference photos of some of the presenters and their projects: Continue reading
Brianna Balke (MAT ’13) and Emily Berman (MAT ’14)
Over the past five years, three graduates of our MAT Secondary Science program have received the highly selective Knowles Science Teaching (KST) Fellowships! Lyuda Shemyakina (MAT ’10), Brianna Balke (MAT ’13), and this year, Emily Berman (MAT ’14) have been named KST Fellows!
Selection criteria for these fellowships include strong content knowledge in the sciences, potential to develop exemplary teaching practices, and possession of the qualities of highly effective teacher leaders.
KST Fellows receive an annual stipend and are eligible for a number of grants throughout their five year fellowship, such as professional development grants (valued at up to $4,000 per year) to cover the cost of relevant activities including workshops, mentoring, practitioner inquiry, and Fellow observations. Fellows are also eligible to receive up to $1,200 per year for teaching materials, and are able to apply for leadership grants to pursue efforts that will have a positive impact on STEM education beyond their own classroom.
Balke and Berman are both science teachers in an urban charter school in Rhode Island, while Schemyakina is a science teacher in Chicago. Congratulations to these teacher leaders on their continued accomplishments!
While the Brown MAT program prepares future teachers for classroom teaching, the program honors a variety of educational environments. Recently, the Elementary Education MAT program supervisors asked several EE MAT candidates to plan a field trip for the cohort, as a well-deserved opportunity to take in the beautiful New England fall colors and to experience the benefits of outside-the-school learning. For the MAT candidates who planned the field trip to Long Pond, an Audubon Society refuge near Hopkinton, Rhode Island, it was a chance to practice applying prior knowledge and to consider how alternative learning experiences can be created, especially for students that lack convenient access to natural areas.
Anna Weisberg, elementary MAT candidate 2013-14 and one of the field trip planners, had this to say: “The field trip gave me the opportunity to put to use some pre-MAT experiences and consider their usefulness for my cohort members and future students. It was also a great chance to explore alternative “texts” outside of the classroom, books and articles, as well as to get some fresh air and see gorgeous New England fall with great people!”
The EE MAT cohort not only enjoyed some delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while taking in the views, one activity on the field trip even involved blindfolding the program supervisors!
Over the course of the MAT year, MAT candidates will explore a variety of settings for learning, including through individual and group visits to schools around Rhode Island and Massachusetts.