MAT Graduate Micah Howard is Featured in Local Paper

Micah Howard is a member of the May 2010 Cohort and recent graduate of the MAT@USC. Micah was recently featured in his local newspaper, the Morgan Hill Times. Read about Micah’s unique online experience:

Local graduates from innovative online master’s program
By Lindsay Weaver

cap and gownLetting nothing get in his way, not even the dismal state of public education funding, Morgan Hill resident Micah Howard is just a teaching job offer away from seeing his dream fulfilled.

Howard graduated from a first-of-its kind program at the University of Southern California that combines innovation online with the rigor of a traditional master’s program. The MAT@USC – Master’s of Art in Teaching at University of Southern California – is an accelerated online program where all students are attending class remotely from around the world – and sometimes in their pajama pants, Howard laughed.

“Although it’s through the Internet, using a webcam, I gained so many friendships and will keep in contact with many of my classmates,” Howard, 31, said. Lectures are hosted live through Skype with face-to-face interaction among faculty and students, and students with other students.

Howard missed the chance to walk across the stage at USC last week, but will be visiting his peers – in the flesh – in three weeks. The father of two recently finished student teaching history and social sciences at South Valley Middle School and Gilroy High School. Howard earned his undergraduate degree at San Jose State University in 2008 and also works at Kaiser Permanente as a telephone operator. The ability to attend class from home and “not uproot my family and move them to Southern California,” sealed the deal for Howard.

“I don’t have to pay for the commute to class. And if you wanted to talk in class, you could just pull up a private chat,” Howard said. “It was very rigorous work. The high quality of USC teachers was just amazing.”

Howard admitted it took him awhile to find his passion, but he finds a real honor in teaching and calls it his “dream job.”

And, he’s optimistic too. The recent rash of layoffs, program cuts and widespread protests for more money from the state for education hasn’t scared him.

“It didn’t affect my decision. It’s still what I want to do, but it can be discouraging. Even in Gilroy while I was there, they were laying off several people. Nobody is going to keep me from getting there,” he said.

Weaver, Lindsay. “Local graduates from innovative online master’s program.” Morgan Hill Times 05/24/2011. News: Schools. 05/24/2011

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