From left to right: Dr. Ann Horn, Robert "Bobby" Jackson, and Dr. Anne Davis
Stevenson’s Master of Arts in Teaching alumnus Robert “Bobby” Jackson was recently honored with the Outstanding Educator Award from the Maryland Association of Science Teachers (MAST). MAST is a non-profit organization and local affiliate of the National Science Teachers Association dedicated to science education in the state of Maryland.
Each year, MAST recognizes excellence in science teaching, administration, and outreach in Maryland and awards individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science education. Bobby and others received their awards at MAST’s annual conference (earlier this week).
Stevenson University Online had the opportunity to talk to Bobby about his journey to find out how his interests in science and teaching lead him to his current career. When Bobby Jackson enrolled at Stevenson University as an undergraduate, he had his sights set on a career in biological science. After obtaining his master’s in Forensic Science, Bobby was ready to enter the workforce; however, his passion for teaching ultimately brought him back to Stevenson to complete his Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT).
What led you to pursue teaching?
While completing my bachelor’s at Stevenson, I had the opportunity to serve as a supplemental instructor and tutor for various science courses. Providing assistance to others and furthering other student’s knowledge became a great passion of mine. This ultimately led me to switch careers and pursue the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Stevenson.
How did this degree prepare you for your career?
A MAT provided me with the knowledge I needed to become a successful certified teacher in the state of Maryland. As I was finishing my last year in the program, I was employed as a high school biology teacher and science department chair for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. After obtaining my MAT degree and teaching certification, I was promoted to a biomedical and advanced placement biology teacher in the Biomedical Science and Allied Health Magnet Division in Anne Arundel County.
Did anything stand out to you during the program?
I was surprised at the exceptional communication and camaraderie that existed between students and faculty in the program. Each of my professors served as mentors and helped me achieve the career I desired.
How did the faculty help you reach your educational or professional goals?
The faculty was with us every step of the way from taking required the Praxis, a standardized teaching certification exam, to consistently filling out evaluations and completing recommendations. Stevenson’s MAT program does not just teach you the foundations of the discipline, but it also allows students to experience new national trends in the classroom, as well as in the profession. I learned how to engage students and become a great teacher with the help of my professors at Stevenson.
What does the honor of the Outstanding Educator Award mean to you?
I am completely flattered and honored to have received this award. I have a strong teaching philosophy and passion for promoting engagement and project-based learning into classrooms. I try to yield results that prove these techniques are successful in the classroom. This award is affirmation that I am proceeding in the right direction and my thoughts and teaching strategies are supported by teachers and students.
In all honesty, I could not have received this award if it was not for Stevenson University's Masters of Arts in Teaching program with STEM focus. The framework of the program is new, innovative, and provides aspiring teachers with successful, relevant teaching strategies and techniques to succeed in the classroom. I am eternally grateful and proud to have been a member of Stevenson’s first graduating class of the MAT program and will continue to support their efforts.