Catalyst Teaching Assistant Katherine Hamby First-Generation College Grad Connects with Students and Parents

As a Catalyst Teaching Assistant, Katherine Hamby was amazed at the huge improvement in her middle school students’ math scores from the start of the program. Besides their marked improvements in math, the students increased their classroom participation and exhibited high enthusiasm during the exercises. Katherine thoroughly enjoyed working with the classroom teacher, Nancy Johnson, who encouraged her to contribute to the instruction and to deliver her own 30-minute lessons.

Katherine was a first generation to college student herself and had to arrange much of her own financing for college. With that experience she was a strong mentor to her students, who were mostly from low-income parents who did not attend college. Katherine‘s openness and sincere interest in the students encouraged them to approach her for assistance.

A program highlight for Katherine was witnessing the students’ excitement as they toured Santa Clara University during “College Day.” Her students questioned SCU students about their college experience. For many, this was their first time on a university campus and the first time they had ever considered attending college. At the program’s College Information Night, Katherine participated on the “On College Track” panel and answered questions from parents and students about her experiences attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. The parents were sincerely interested and Katherine realized she was making an impact on the parents as well as the students.

Due to her ALearn experience, Katherine now understands the importance of completing Algebra in middle school as a key step in preparing for college. Her work at ALearn has galvanized her desire to mentor and educate students as a career.

Thanks Katherine for your great work!