Brendan McKiernan (BE, 2007) didn't attend Rose-Hulman to become a
teacher. However, it was his education and experiences at the institute that blossomed into a passion for teaching. He is now captivating young minds as a math teacher in New Orleans.
   McKiernan stepped off the engineering career path after being disenchanted with the cubical work environment in an internship with a California-based healthcare company. His interest in teaching was piqued when he heard about the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education, a two-year teaching service program at Catholic schools in underserved areas.
   "I thought teaching would be challenging and rewarding," he says. "I also liked that I could continue my 
education and get my master's degree in education." 
   McKiernan's teacher training featured two years of service at a school in New Orleans. After leaving the area briefly, he has returned to the area as math teacher and math department chair at Holy Cross School in the Ninth Ward's Gentilly neighborhood, a mostly blue-collar area rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. Last year, he also coached and served as athletic director for the middle school.
   Looking back at the path not taken in engineering, he has no regrets. His background in engineering allows him to integrate elements of technology, robotics, physics, and science into his classroom and that makes learning math more exciting for his students.
   "They want to know how math 
applies to engineering and other careers," he says. "I can give them that perspective. They know I was trained as an engineer and they respect that."
   McKiernan has found that teaching fits him. His experiences as a Residential Assistant and Sophomore Advisor at Rose-Hulman, as well as working at Catapult summer camp, made him comfortable leading young people.
   "Interacting with students makes teaching worthwhile," he says. "The academic expectations at Rose-Hulman helped me value educational challenges. I want to help my students get the most out of their potential. I'm helping students achieve that every day in the classroom. I can't wait to hear about the exciting things that my students do in the future." Page Square