Madeline is rising senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she is double-majoring in Chemistry and Comparative Media Studies with a focus in education. She plans on becoming a middle school science teacher because she thinks it’s the “best option for using my passion for science to do something good for the world.”

We spoke to Madeline recently to hear more about her Breakthrough experience this summer. 

Congratulations on winning the Susan M. Blum Teaching Excellence Award! How does it feel to be an awardee?

MH: It felt really rewarding for me after having dedicated a whole year to this work. It was nice to be appreciated. Especially, since I spent so much time over three different terms teaching several different classes it felt like a very rewarding culmination to that year.

What keeps bringing you back to the Breakthrough community?

MH: When I was in high school I had friends who were students at Breakthrough San Francisco (BTSF). The summer before my senior year of high school, I spent the whole summer volunteering with BTSF. I absolutely loved it and it helped me realize that education was a career path I was really interested in. When I went to college, working at Breakthrough again seemed like the natural next step. I also felt like it was a really important time to be working towards educational equity and helping kids stay on track to help them achieve their own educational goals. I started this past fall and I loved the Breakthrough New York community right away. It really was that community and how wonderful I thought everyone was that made me want to stick with it. 

Have you learned anything from Breakthrough students this summer?

MH: One thing I am constantly impressed by with our students is how aware they are of current events and what’s happening in their communities and the world around them. I’ve only lived in New York for a year, so it was really interesting to hear all of our students’ thoughts and feelings about their New York communities and experiences. They wrote “I am from” poems as part of our Diversity Day. Hearing all the really thoughtful and well articulated ideas about their communities and what it has meant for them to grow up in New York has been really enlightening for me. Every time I talk to them I’m learning something new about how they see the world and how their communities have shaped their world views.

What would you say to someone who is considering joining the Breakthrough community?

MH: I would say that it is impossible to understate how positive and caring the Breakthrough community is. I really feel like every single staff member and student puts so much of themselves into the work that they do. When you’re a part of this community you feel like you have something valuable to contribute and that the effort you’re making is benefiting other people.

Breakthrough is ________.

MH: Breakthrough is empowering. There’s just such a stark difference between the levels of student confidence that I saw at the beginning of the summer and at the end of the summer. I think this community and this work does a really great job of building people up and helping them feel confident in their abilities.

“Breakthrough is empowering. There’s just such a stark difference between the levels of student confidence that I saw at the beginning of the summer and at the end of the summer. I think this community and this work does a really great job of building people up and helping them feel confident in their abilities.”

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