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Clarkson University's Zachary Utter Ready to Share Passion for Learning

As he pursued his Master of Arts in Teaching from Clarkson University's Capital Region Campus in Schenectady, N.Y., this past year, Zachary Utter gained real-world experience through a teaching internship.

Zachary Utter (center) works with Department of Education Chair Catherine Snyder and other students.This summer, he will be able to add an Old World flavor to that perspective because he has been selected to attend the National Gallery of Art Summer Teacher Institute in Washington, D.C.

Utter is just one of 25 applicants from around the nation who will attend this week-long seminar exploring visual art of the Renaissance as it found expression in the independent city-states of Italy and the Low Countries from the 14th through the 16th century.

The aspiring social studies teacher is delighted at the opportunity to share his passion for culture, ideas, and history to the classroom.

“I will get to go to D.C. and learn about Renaissance art and bringing it into the classroom. This experience is invaluable, especially for social studies teachers,” he said. “We rely on primary-sourced learning now, not just regurgitation in the classroom. This institute is a new opportunity for me to get hands-on experience with gallery coordinators and real historians, and pass it on to my students.”

Utter, from Fishkill, N.Y., received his bachelor's degree from SUNY Oneonta. He will graduate on June 9 in Schenectady from Clarkson University.

He'll attend the Summer Teacher Institute July10-15, and then finish his MAT program with a full-year teaching internship. The strength of this preparation for teaching, as well as his character, opened the door to this plum of a summer adventure, notes Catherine Snyder, chair of the Department of Education.

“I often get emails from summer institutes and if I think one of our graduate candidates is interested I ask if they would consider them,” she said. “This is a very competitive program that typically accepts few pre-service teachers, but Zach is definitely a go-getter. He applied and was accepted off the bat. People who run these programs recognize that the benefit of these experiences extend for many years. It's a wonderful opportunity for a new teacher.”

Utter is ready to make the most of the experience, noting that social studies classrooms are quickly becoming the place to have difficult conversations. “Civil rights, politics, and issues like this need to be talked about. Students need to have a voice, and learn how to voice their opinions productively,” he said. “I try my best to engage students in a way that's conversational and illuminating. By the time ninth-graders leave high school, they will be part of the voting populace. Social studies hopefully will be a catalyst for change.”

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Master of Arts in Teaching student Zachary Utter has been selected to attend the National Gallery of Art Summer Teacher Institute in Washington, D.C. Above, Utter (center) works with Department of Education Chair Catherine Snyder and other students.

[A photograph for media use is available]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Kelly Chezum, VP for External Relations, at 315-268-4483 or]

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