Student Story: Masha Ellis

My journey to Seattle Pacific's School of Education started in Russia. My high school physics teacher, Mr. Sergei Gromov, encouraged me to become a physics teacher. Thanks to his guidance, I started to read popular books on quantum physics, where I found a lot of beauty, symmetry, and mystery. I appreciated his advice to become a teacher, but I felt insecure and shy. I was scared at the thought of standing in front of the class full of disrespectful teenagers.

Years later, after I graduated from the Moscow Institute for Petroleum Studies with a master’s degree in geophysics and worked as a geophysicist for several years, I realized that education is my true calling. I became a teacher of English in a public school in Moscow.

As I continued my search for my right place in education, I entered a doctoral program at the University of Russian Academy of Education and defended my dissertation that compared moral and citizenship values of Russian and American students. It was also the time of my conversion to Christianity.

After I married Arthur Ellis, who teaches in SPU’s School of Education, and moved to the United States, my confidence with English and familiarity with the American culture grew. But before entering the MAT program at Seattle Pacific, I taught preschool and worked as a child care provider in Edmonds, Washington.

I grew up in a family where education is seen as a means of uplifting lives and improving society. I joined SPU’s MAT program to improve my teaching skills and become available to serve young learners in American schools. During my internship, I've been teaching seventh grade junior high students and I enjoyed their energy, humor, curiosity, search for self and meaning in life. I felt that I connected with them well and had meaningful discussions about real-life implications of science.

Five years from now I'd love to be an earth science teacher at a school on Whidbey Island close to where we live. I plan on teaching middle school/junior high or high school. I am not still completely sure what is my best preference. At Seattle Pacific, my background in science, varied teaching experiences, Christian faith, and desire to serve came together in a beautiful harmony.

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