Tech to award degrees to first cohort of UTeachTech graduates

May 18, 2018 | Education, Engineering and Science, General News

Louisiana Tech University will award degrees to its first cohort of UTeachTech graduates at the Spring 2018 Commencement Saturday morning. Four students have completed the program, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Secondary Education.

The first cohort for UTechTech will graduate Saturday. Pictured are (from front): Nicole Schubert, Allison Free, Brian Blakely, Chase Sanders and Justin Biggs. Blakely will complete his degree requirements next year.

Justin Biggs (of Winnsboro), Allison Free (of Ruston), Chase Sanders (of Shreveport) and Kayla Nicole Schubert (of West Monroe) have completed a stringent curriculum that includes all courses required to earn a mathematics degree and the credentials necessary to become a certified teacher. Brian Blakely (of Slidell), the fifth member of the cohort, is completing the coursework and will graduate next year. Each student also completed a clinical residency at a local school. Biggs, Free, and Schubert are pursuing careers in education, while Sanders is joining the seminary after graduation. The UTeachTech program is a collaboration between the College of Engineering and Science and the College of Education, which provides students with the opportunity to get teaching experience while earning a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) degree. As a result, the program allows students earn two career options in one interdisciplinary degree and allows these potential teachers to spend more time immersed in their content area than traditional degrees in STEM education do. “UTeachTech prepared me for my future classroom by allowing me to obtain a deep content knowledge in math while also experiencing many hours in local classrooms to see how to conduct a good learning environment,” Free said of the program. “The flexibility of being able to pursue my STEM degree and also explore teaching is the reason I found my passion in teaching,” Schubert added. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else now.” “We are extremely excited to have our first UTeach graduates this spring,” Dr. Hisham Hegab, dean of the College of Engineering and Science said. “This collaboration between the College of Education and the College of Engineering and Science will now begin to impact our school systems as these graduates enter the K-12 education system. I am particularly proud of this first class of UTeach graduates. Several of them have completed their degrees in mathematics and the UTeach program at an accelerated rate and finished the program within three years.” Dr. Don Schillinger, dean of the College of Education and co-director of the UTeachTech program, says that the 2018 cohort illustrates both the need for the program and the exceptional capabilities that Louisiana Tech students have. “We began the program in 2015 to increase the number of highly qualified STEM teachers entering the workforce and with the goal of celebrating the program’s initial graduates in the spring of 2019,” Schillinger said. “Through completion of a rigorous course of study of mathematics and pedagogy coupled with authentic field and clinical practice, these students have not only earned a mathematics degree and the credentials to be certified as a teacher, they attained this goal in less than four years. This achievement is a remarkable testament to their dedication, talent, and work ethic and to the community of supporters such as our K-12 school partners and the faculty and staff at Louisiana Tech who work diligently to make the UTeachTechinitiative successful.” For more information on the UTeachTech program, go to