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Nick Beermann // urban teacher // class of 2009

It can be hard to tell people about your dream career, especially when it’s a little off the “typical” path. And when your dreams are repeatedly dampened by others’ frowny-faced reactions, your plan can begin to feel like a parade that’s constantly being rained upon. That was certainly Nick Beermann’s (B.S. Biology) experience. He found that whenever he mentioned that he wanted to be a high school science teacher after graduation, he needed a figurative umbrella to ward off the downpour of negativity.

Then he became the student of Dr. Sehoya Cotner, who recently received a Morse-Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Award. Her passion for the profession of teaching encouraged him so much that he applied to, and was accepted by, the Milwaukee Teaching Fellows program.

“It’s an alternative licensing program placing high-achieving college graduates in urban, high-need teaching positions,” Beermann says. He was assigned to the MacDowell Montessori High School, where he teaches Physical Science, International Baccalaureate Biology and Anatomy and Physiology for grades 10 through 12.

Beermann recently completed his master’s degree in Teaching at Cardinal Stritch University. “My thesis was on the use of labs on the evolution of multicellularity to teach evolution,” he says. He hopes someday to take on a leadership role at a Montessori or project-based school. In the meantime, he’s been very busy getting an aquaponics program installed at MacDowell.

“I love it when students get the opportunity to investigate things in which they’re interested and conduct research they design themselves,” he says. “So many people told me that teaching was not a career worth pursuing,” Beermann adds. “But Dr. Cotner showed me otherwise.”