STAB welcomes first UPenn teaching fellow
Aidan Mehigan has become the first University of Pennsylvania Day School Teaching Residency (UPenn DSTR) Fellow to be associated with St. Anne’s-Belfield School.
Joining the Upper School to teach mathematics, serve as a dorm parent, and take on the role of a Varsity Track coach, Mehigan is among the first cohort of Penn Graduate School of Education (GSE) students to take up such residencies across the country. In addition to St. Anne’s-Belfield, the program’s consortium includes fellow independent schools Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Gilman School, Greenwich Academy, Hopkins School, North Shore Country Day School, Princeton Day, Riverdale, Roxbury Latin, St. Anne’s-Belfield School, The Shipley School, and Trinity School.
“We could not be more pleased that Aidan has joined us through the Penn program,” said Associate Head of School for Academics Beth Miller. “His presence brings a vitality to campus that motivates our students as well as our teachers, and he has quickly become involved in multiple facets of our community. It is a pleasure to have this opportunity to host and mentor an emerging educator.”
The DSTR program is designed to take place over two years and involves one week of work at UPenn each summer, online work with the entire cohort of 20 – 25 fellows from participating schools, and one weekend per term at one of the consortium schools with UPenn faculty. Mehigan will also complete coursework with a mentor at St. Anne’s-Belfield, as well as the regular responsibilities of the Teaching Fellows.
Mehigan joins the school following time spent at Columbia University where he earned a B.A. in the history of architecture while also studying English literature and physics, and St. Hugh’s College, Oxford University where he earned an M.St. in art history.
“Applications to the Penn program go through the partner schools rather than the university,” explained Mehigan.”The schools decide who they want to hire, how many fellows they want to take on, and what subjects the fellows will teach. Then, once you get hired as a fellow at a particular school, they place you in the program. I applied to St. Anne’s-Belfield because of its unique combination of the boarding and day environments and its great location in Charlottesville. As I worked through the interview process, I realized I was also applying to join an amazingly supportive faculty under a great administration, and I consider myself very lucky to have gotten the job.”
For Mehigan, joining the school is a return to the state in which he grew up and he has found a second family in the boarding program.
“The dorm is a place to build relationships with students to a degree impossible during the normal school day and to be reminded that education isn’t about cramming as much content as possible into one’s head but rather about enriching one’s whole life and making every effort to grow as a person,” he said. “It’s where the St. Anne’s-Belfield School motto of ‘every child known well’ rings most true to me.”
During his year at the school, Mehigan hopes to continue his interests in backpacking, cooking, and whenever possible combining the two. Following his fellowship he would like to stay in the Mid-Atlantic states or possibly move to the Northeast for a teaching position.