Brendan McKiernan (BE, 2007) didn't attend Rose-Hulman to
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
|education and get my master's degree
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
"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."