Commencement Profile: Heather J. McCarthyPosted: May 8, 2017
Graduate Student Address
President’s Medal for Outstanding Graduate Student
Heather McCarthy has earned a master of arts degree in multidisciplinary studies, attaining a 3.95 GPA while customizing her studies to align with her career goals in geology and geoscience education.
She will receive the President’s Medal for Outstanding Graduate Student and deliver the student address during the 5:00 p.m. master’s hooding and C.A.S. ceremony at Buffalo State’s 145th Commencement, Saturday, May 13, in the Sports Arena.
Demonstrating a selfless attitude, McCarthy is recognized by faculty and classmates alike for her dedication to improving the student learning experience for all Buffalo State students and developing creative ways to reach out to prospective students. She is always a reliable, mature, and enthusiastic supporter of the college’s mission.
McCarthy is particularly passionate about student attitudes and engagement in undergraduate geoscience courses, the topic of her master’s thesis, which has generated interest across the geoscience education community. Her objective is to identify better ways to engage with students, and she developed and employed an institutional review board (IRB)-approved survey to gain a better understanding of how to increase science literacy in natural science foundation courses. She presented her findings at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in 2016.
In addition to her research activities, she serves as a graduate teaching assistant and provides tutoring and laboratory support in the Earth Sciences and Science Education Department. She runs test preparation and general help sessions, helps students prepare laboratory samples, leads field trips, and carries out other activities to support both introductory and advanced undergraduate geology courses. Her expertise is superb, and her ability to communicate challenging concepts is remarkable.
She is a model graduate student who not only excels academically but is involved outside the classroom as well. She has volunteered for the Families’ Child Advocacy Network for more than a decade, assisting children who live with social, emotional, or behavioral disorders or have been part of the juvenile justice system. She is an embodiment of high standards in higher education as well as the effective use of education to improve society.
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