Interviewed by: Sophia Gourley ’19
SG: What have you done since leaving Trinity? This can be something work-related, career-related, family-related, really anything you’d like to share.
JC: After I graduated from Trinity, my first job was actually down the street from Trinity at the Covenant Prep School.
I put my hat in the ring for a history teaching fellowship there, but they asked if I could teach math. So I was like, alright, sure I took maybe two math courses at Trinity, but all right I’ll give it a shot. Being at Covenant Prep and teaching math led me to my current job. I’ve been working for three years at the Westminster School in Simsbury, and I was hired to teach exclusively math. So making great use of my political science degree! Since graduating I’ve also worked at Princeton for a summer for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and for the last two summers, I’ve worked at a summer camp in Maine. This summer I hope to start my masters.
SG: What are you hoping to get your masters in?
JC: I’m looking to get my Masters of Science in Teaching which is math related, so it’s much more about math pedagogy and approaches work how and to best work one on one with students.
SG: I am familiar with Westminster since I went to Wilbraham & Monson Academy for high school. They are a boarding school correct?
JC: Yes, it’s a boarding school, about 70% boarding students and 30% day students.
SG: I know that is is common for teachers to also coach sports at at boarding schools. Do you do any extracurriculars in addition to teaching?
JC: As for my responsibilities at Westminster, not only do I teach, I also supervise a dorm so I live in the dorm with the kids. I do events for them and occasionally have them over for food. And yes, I do also coach. In the Fall, I coach the JV soccer team and in the winter, I am one of the assistant coaches for the swim team. The other thing I have to mention about Westminster is that I also went here as a student.
SG: Very full circle.
JC: I swam here, and swam two years at Trinity. So yes, it’s cool being back here with a lot of my former teachers.
SG: That always has seemed like a great job to me since it includes housing, food, you get to do after school activities, etc.
JC: We work six days a week, so there’s half day Wednesdays and Saturdays. You get used to it and it’s a grind, but it makes up for it.
SG: That’s great. Is there anything you learned that Trinity that you use in your career? I know you majored in political science, but now you’re teaching math. Is there anything else you learned at Trinity that was particularly helpful?
JC: I think of the things that I put most into practice are things that I picked up first at Westminster but then put to practice at Trinity, which was the idea of continuing your education beyond the classroom. For me, I learned a lot of things quickly by going out to eat with professors and doing things in Hartford with my friends. It’s similar here. There are so many little moments where you could learn, for instance by sitting with a fellow faculty member at lunch. Trinity definitely encouraged my want to be more intellectually curious and to be a global citizen by taking control of your education and continuing to do that in your adult life.
SG: It seems like you’ve accomplished a lot since you graduated in 2016. What do you think your proudest accomplishments since graduation?
JC: I think having a job at Westminster was something I aspired to when I was a student here. I had mentioned it to my high school friends but I don’t know if they ever knew how serious I actually was. I never expected the opportunity would come so early in my life. I thought I would have to work at school like Covenant Prep, then another school to build up a resume to be qualified to teach here. I’d already signed my contract to work at Covenant Prep for another year in June of 2017, but then Westminster called me about the open math position. That’s the other thing I could say Trinity taught me, which is having the courage to jump into something completely new. For example, I finished my poli sci degree pretty quickly, around the fall of my junior year, so at that point I decided to give film a shot. I took a bunch of film classes, dance classes and things I never would have done if I hadn’t branched out of my comfort zone. Jumping into being a math teacher has been the ticket that has gotten me into places I didn’t think I’d be at this stage in my life.
SG: Is there anything else you’d like your fellow alumni or Trinity to know?
JC: I would like Professor Benjamin Carbonetti to know I miss taking his classes! He and Professor Matsuzaki had a really big impact on the political science department.