As Rise High @ Clarkson prepares for its fall programming at Clarkson University’s Capital Region Campus, one former volunteer and Clarkson alumnus is singing its praises, both for the opportunity it brought to students and how it enriched his experience as an educator.
Michael Burgess, who graduated from Clarkson in May of 2022 as part of the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program and who has taught algebra and trigonometry in the Albany area for seven years, believes Rise High @ Clarkson can offer educators a new perspective on students, and enables students to reach their full potential.
Rise High @ Clarkson is a program for Schenectady City youth where participants learn about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and other skills to succeed, in a fun and nurturing environment. Students are exposed to a wide variety of careers in technology. Through hands-on experiential learning Rise High promotes problem-solving and critical thinking, while exercising their creativity and providing the support to help them reach their goals.
Burgess began working with Rise High in a supporting role for a projectile motion project online during the COVID-19 pandemic. He then moved on to the classroom management team, and in both roles was able to see remarkable growth in students.
“What these students are doing is inspirational and should be shared with their peers, family, and the community. It is truly incredible what these students are doing,” Burgess said. “I can see how engaged students can be If they are put in an environment that focuses on student interests.”
While he has taken a step back this year, Burgess said experiencing Rise High would be beneficial for any educator in the area as it offers a chance to see the community and students in a fresh perspective.
“As a teacher, I think it offers me a unique opportunity to understand and see the student in an environment that is less state standard focus, and more student needs focus. This is one of the significant reasons the student gives up the weekend to come to school,” Burgess said. “My favorite part of working with the students is that each of them brings a unique personality to the program that opened my eyes and taught me so much about myself.”
Rise High @ Clarkson kicks off for the fall on September 24. For more information about the program, visit https://bit.ly/3cxN7ws.