Riley Hall, who is expected to graduate from Westmont this summer with a double major in philosophy and mathematics, is a 2014 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellow. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation awarded Hall a $30,000 stipend to complete an intensive master’s program at Valparaiso University. The special education will prepare him to teach math in Indiana’s urban and rural public schools.
“The program is forcing me to take a look at many of the issues I would never have considered in teaching, particularly in a poorer area, as well as offering a plethora of practical solutions that I will be able to implement as a teacher,” he says.
Hall will be student-teaching in a school where about 86 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunches due to their financial situation.
“I am learning that to teach successfully, I must be incredibly thoughtful and consider each class and each student before constructing a method of instructing, managing and inspiring,” he says.
At Westmont, Hall minored in English, took part in several poetry readings and a Fringe, and wrote for the Phoenix. He was also active with the Westmont rugby team and sang and played guitar for the Balladiers, an indie rock band.
“The Westmont math department has prepared me well,” he says. “I had great professors who taught me how to break down complex concepts into their simple and fundamental components, to not make assumptions but only move from one logical step to another, and to consider the greater implications of any problem. These skills will help me greatly in determining how to best meet students’ learning needs.
“Though I will be teaching high school math, my goal is to reach more than just the math kids. I want to show kids that math is intertwined in everything they are interested in and help them succeed to become well-rounded people. Westmont equipped me to draw connections across disciplines for students and hopefully guide them in more than just mathematics.”