July 28, 2023

Katie Kehoe

Secondary Science Education, MAT ’22

With a background in outdoor and early childhood education, Katie Kehoe came to Lewis & Clark to transform secondary science education into a powerful tool for social change and student equity.

Katie Kehoe, Secondary MAT '22 Katie Kehoe, Secondary MAT ’22Education has a profound role in the development of both an individual and a society. We are all products of our educational experiences, taking what we’ve learned into the future and shaping the world around us. For Katie Kehoe, who earned her Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Secondary Science 2022, education is “the most powerful tool in the fight for social change”.

Kehoe came from a background in early childhood and outdoor education. Early on she recognized how crucial the role of an educator is, and how educational philosophy and praxis can shape the life of a child. However, not every pedagogy is geared towards larger change. Kehoe knew they wanted more. It wasn’t enough to simply teach, but rather transform “traditional methods to best serve students with a guiding goal of equity”.

“I chose to attend Lewis & Clark because of the strong orientation toward social justice, emphasis on equity, and small learning community,” Kehoe notes.

Social justice and equity are key themes in every class at the graduate school, they are the undercurrent of the Master of Arts in Teaching program. Our professors are consistently modeling and sharing resources for best practices.

All MAT Secondary students focus in one area of study; English Language Arts, Mathematics, Art, Social Studies, or, as Kehoe did, Science. Not only does this allow for specialized emphasis, but also creates a tight-knit community of educators committed to their field.

“Learning in a small cohort of 18 pre-services teachers, and in an even smaller group of 5 science teachers, we are able to have in-depth discussions in class, feel comfortable sharing half-formed ideas, and advocate for our needs and interests to professors.”

This support was not limited to her student cohort. For Kehoe, the assistance she received from her faculty was not only helpful, it was transformative. Like the curricula they were developing for their future students, faculty in the MAT program created flexible lesson plans and tailored coursework for their student body. Nothing was rigid; it was all geared towards the individual.

Faculty care deeply for their students on a personal level. They frequently share resources and opportunities, make time for individual meetings, and adjust lesson plans to fit students’ needs.

Community is everything at Lewis & Clark. From the in-depth, bias-challenging discussions, to the shared mission and values that drive every student, there is a sense of togetherness. Kehoe reflects on her 13 months in the program with a fondness and warmth, remembering community potlucks celebrating the end of term, and the way in which her professors’ support extended towards her future career goals.

“I felt incredibly supported by the L&C staff and faculty in the job application process. They’ve organized panels with school administrators, hosted job fairs for L&C students, brought in district representatives, and have invited numerous former students to speak to our classes on their experiences.”

The role of scientific education has never been more important. With the impending threat of natural disasters and the fight for climate justice, science educators are needed on the frontlines. As Kehoe looks toward her future career, her experience at Lewis & Clark has deeply impacted her desire to integrate advocacy into her curriculum.

I plan to incorporate social justice into my post-graduation career by designing units around relevant science issues that impact local populations. Students will be able to see how the curriculum is connected to their lives and impacts their communities.

As she reflects back on her experience, Kehoe urges future students to consider Lewis & Clark for their graduate studies, knowing how powerful the experience was for her.

“This program has been transformative and has opened up so many professional doors. While I already considered myself an equity-focused and social-justice oriented educator, Lewis & Clark has pushed me to reexamine myself and the institutions I am a part of in a way that I will carry with me and share with others.”