Channeling Castellan: On Catherine Castellan, Ph.D.
Lauren Bivona, ′08, on Catherine Castellan, Ph.D.
April 3, 2012
Lauren Bivona, ’08, and her fellow elementary education majors had a term for good student teaching days. “We would say, ‘We channeled Castellan today. We made learning concrete.’”
By Castellan, they meant Catherine Castellan, Ph.D., the assistant professor of teacher education who used hats and toys to represent different learning theories.
Bivona, an elementary education major, went on to take several of Castellan’s classes. During the first semester of her freshman year, the Long Island native found herself observing in her first urban school, Guilford Elementary/Middle School, through one of Castellan’s service-learning courses.
“We ran a character education program and she was completely supportive. She encouraged us to own the program and plan rewards for the students—bringing students to campus for a soccer game and pizza,” Bivona said. “Dr. Castellan encouraged us to take initiative and then supported us in our endeavors.”
As a student, Bivona knew she wanted to work in education, but she wasn’t sure whether she wanted to be in the classroom or conduct education research. After graduation, she taught for a few years but wasn’t sure she was on the right path.
“I was on the fence of leaving teaching or really moving into education policy. She met me for coffee and said, ‘Move on,’ and encouraged me to pursue research and policy. She was a huge encouragement,” said Bivona, who is now a research associate for the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C., and lives in Adelphi, Md. “I definitely do miss the classroom, but I think there’s a lot that can be done to improve policy.”