Marketing & Media Relations
Brady Butler, Director
9000 Babcock Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

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PITTSBURGH, May 13, 2013 – Educators from across the country learned how to enhance their careers in and outside of the classroom when La Roche College education majors Nicole Shuster and Sydney Macek presented at the 2013 National Student Teaching and Supervision Conference in Slippery Rock, Pa.

For those looking to move ahead in today’s competitive job market, Ms. Shuster co-presented “Creating Electronic Teaching Portfolios Using the PDESAS Website” with Kate Silvis, Ph.D., department chair of education at La Roche. The session advised professionals to increase their marketability by creating a digital portfolio.

“My electronic portfolio has proven to be an excellent anchor for when I am interviewing. It allows the interviewer to view my skills and accomplishments as a teacher,” said Ms. Shuster, who now works as a site director and lead teacher for the Before and After School Program with Stepping Stones Children’s Center.

Ms. Shuster explained how her digital portfolio helped her to land a full-time job upon graduating from La Roche. When interviewing for her current position, she presented her teaching portfolio in both hardcover and online formats. “The next day, they called and offered me the position,” she said. “They mentioned how my online portfolio played a huge part in their decision because it showed my dedication, organization and leadership skills.”

While Ms. Shuster’s presentation focused on effective practices outside of the classroom, Ms. Macek explored a method to apply within it. Her poster session, “How Travel Impacts a Teacher’s Instruction,” described her trip to Italy through La Roche’s Study Abroad+Study USA program and how she applied this experience to her fifth grade student teaching placement. Using her experience abroad, Ms. Macek created a unit plan based on ancient Roman influences apparent in our lives today.

“The fifth graders circulated through a series of stations including ancient Roman food, schools, transportation, government, daily life, architecture and sports,” Ms. Macek said. “As the students 'traveled' through the stations, they had to keep a log of the influences they found. They used materials such as books, videos, websites and my photographs to discover the influences.”

Ms. Macek also shared the research she completed through La Roche College’s Honors Institute. Through her inquiry, she found that using travel experiences in the classroom motivates students to learn about the topic being presented.

“In this case, the students also were using hands-on materials to discover influences. This approach made the learning more real and helped the students to apply what they were learning about ancient Rome to make comparisons to our lives today,” she said.

Ms. Shuster and Ms. Macek, both of Pittsburgh, graduated from La Roche in December 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Ms. Macek holds the distinction of being the very first graduating student from the College’s Honors Institute. She presented her research at the annual La Roche College Honors Colloquium on April 23.

About La Roche College: A private, Catholic, co-educational college north of Pittsburgh founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche welcomes students of all religions, ethnic origins and talents. Undergraduates may choose from more than 50 majors, including the top 10 majors most in demand among today’s college students. La Roche combines a quality educational experience with clubs, athletics, social and community volunteer activities, spiritual well-being and more to prepare students for life in a constantly changing global society.

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