Program of the Month Q&A: Biology Alum Matthew Bucheker ’06
Matthew Bucheker ’06 is making a difference in the classroom as a science teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) system, and he believes many of his teaching skills come from his education at Medaille. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in biology from the College, Bucheker earned a New York State certification and an Ed.M. in biology education from the University at Buffalo. For the past seven years, Bucheker has taught in the BPS system. Currently, he teaches science to seventh and eighth grade students at P.S. 76 Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy, including an advanced group of eighth graders enrolled in high school level Regents biology.
Here, Bucheker explains how his undergraduate education not only fueled his love of science, but also inspired him to become an educator in order to impact lives in the way that Medaille faculty impacted him.
What led to your decision to enroll in the biology (BIO) program at Medaille?
The thing that made me nervous about entering college was the stories of huge lecture halls and professors who did not know your name. Medaille’s class sizes and caring faculty made my choice an easy one. I knew I wouldn’t be just a number or a face in the crowd to my professors or my peers.
Describe your experience in the BIO program. What stands out?
The professors in the BIO program were some of the brightest and most caring educators I have ever had the privilege to learn from. I felt at home in this program. In turn, I believe this fostered a closeness between all of us, peer and educator alike. My experiences in the lab, the classroom or out in nature were all tremendous. My professors took the time and made the effort to ensure everyone was working to their potential.
What types of things did you learn about yourself and your career goals from your studies?
During my studies, I realized that I wanted to have a positive effect on someone else’s life, just as my professors had on me. I wanted to do what they do. They are one of the reasons why I am a teacher today.
What is the best advice or guidance you received from a BIO faculty member?
Dr. Robert Johnson did so much to aid in my research and writing. Working under him during an independent study, he demonstrated what lab work outside of a classroom would resemble. He showed me how to work equipment I otherwise would have never experienced in an undergraduate level. He helped me hone my writing while I conducted my research, and always gave me constructive criticism where needed. I have taken those skills with me and continue to utilize them today.
How do you use the knowledge and skills you learned in the BIO program at Medaille in your current work?
Any time I plan lessons for my classes, I always think back to my former teachers and remember the demonstrations, labs and stories they used to teach me. Not only has the BIO program granted me the scientific knowledge that I use to teach to my students on a daily basis, but it also gave me insight into effective methods of doing so.
What advice would you give to current BIO students or those trying to decide on a major?
To the BIO students, I had great professors who were willing to go above and beyond for their students. If you need help, seek it. Do not be afraid. Your professors are not only extremely knowledgeable in their fields, but they also have life experience and may have answers you need. As I found when I attended Medaille, the program is full of peopleboth your peers and professors—that care, and who will be there for you.
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