Evy Gray fully appreciates the supportive environment and responsive faculty mentoring in the College of Education and Social Services. “They have a way of making a large school like UVM feel like a very tight-knit community,” she said. “My needs have been met by people who are willing to listen and act to make things happen.” As a Middle Level Education major with concentrations in Math and History, Evy enjoys UVM’s approach of engaging students with meaningful real world field experiences and internships before they graduate. Hands-on experience and service learning have played a major role in Evy’s education and development.
Over the past three years, Evy served as an instructor and coordinator for Rosie’s Girls, a wonderful program helping middle school girls develop important life skills through hands-on activities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and related trades. Through cooperative projects, girls invent, design and build in a supportive and fun environment allowing them to take risks and learn something new.
“I spent last summer leading a team of women instructors and junior instructors at four camp sessions of Rosie’s Girls,” Evy shared. “This summer’s camp was a new piloted version of our curriculum, with the primary focus being on carpentry and engineering. It was an incredible summer of personal and professional growth. I have learned how to be an effective leader and work closely with others to achieve the intended outcomes. I also learned about the realm of curriculum development from a programmatic standpoint.”
Vermont Works for Women (VWW) - the mother organization of Rosie’s Girls – aims to help women and girls recognize their potential and to explore, pursue, and excel in work that leads to economic independence. Evy provided key staff support as a station captain at VWW’s recent Women Can Do STEM and Trades Conference for high school girls. "I had a lot of fun seeing the day unfold successfully, especially witnessing the impact of the Action Expo, where girls had the opportunity to visit dozens of hands-on stations where they try a nontraditional career or activity for women,” Evy explained.
Why did you join the UVM community? How has it worked out so far?
“The reputation of the UVM Education Department - which both my sister and father had recent experience with - was worth investigating. I felt as though I would be more comfortable and able to seek the supports I needed within a small community, while still having access to the large pool of resources that UVM offers as a large institution. The courses offered at UVM meet the needs of all kinds of students. I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with many professors and students on really interesting projects, lesson plans, and more. The education department is a really wonderful group of people who are enthusiastic about training the next generation of educators.”
How have faculty and peers influenced and inspired you?
“Professor Alan Tinkler has been an incredible connection for me. He has been incredibly supportive of my work with VWW, and reaches out with really wonderful opportunities for me. Alan has been a huge advocate of mine in working through some challenges I’ve had in the department as well. He has worked very hard to make sure that my academic and professional needs are being met. I’ve also enjoyed talking about my service learning work with my peers, and trying to get as many women as possible to realize that they have the potential for really meaningful work, even while they’re in school.”
Do you have any favorite classes so far at UVM?
“My course with Professor Carmen Petrick-Smith, Introduction to Math Education, was phenomenal. Carmen is one of the best (if not the best) professors I’ve ever had. The way that she blended math and teaching practices was incredibly engaging, and a really wonderful experience. As someone who felt very disenfranchised from math, and only recently discovered a love of math, I’ve wanted to find better ways of teaching math that are able to meet the needs of an array of different learners. Carmen gave me a multitude of tools for teaching math in more exciting and interesting ways that get at the true understanding of math.”
What are your career goals?
“I plan on becoming a middle level math educator, and see myself working outside of the classroom in the long run. I am passionate about social justice issues and hope to one day be more involved in working with education as a way to fight systemic inequalities of marginalized groups of people.”
For more information about Rosie's Girls, please visit their web site.