Intern from Princeton Seeks and Finds a Purpose at Eagle Rock School

Jason_Bateman_Eagle_Rock_SchoolEditor’s Note: Jason Bateman — not to be confused with the star of the television sitcom Arrested Development and the Netflix’s series Ozark — is a Princeton University student who is interning with us as part of Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS). This program operates in the belief that community service is essential to the welfare of society. More than 800 Princeton University undergraduates have participated in the program since its inception. A dozen such ‘Princetonians’ have served as interns since our school opened back in the early 1990s. Below, Jason describes his recent arrival at Eagle Rock and what he has learned so far from the experience, while to the right we see a photo of Jason (L) alongside Eagle Rock’s first head of school, Robert Burkhardt (a Princeton Univ. grad) and current Eagle Rock Director of Curriculum, Sarah Bertucci (who first arrived at Eagle Rock in 1994 as our very first PICS intern).

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What is it, exactly, that I do — and am doing — here at Eagle Rock?
By Jason Bateman

It’s a question I asked myself — and several of my supervisors — when I arrived on the Eagle Rock campus last month. What was my role? What was my purpose? What was I going to do with this incredible opportunity?

What I discovered was that what I needed to do was hunt down aspects of this educational community that most interested me, and then I needed to figure out which of my talents would best be of use to the students and staff members here at Eagle Rock.

To be honest, this unanticipated quest to find purpose has been among the most rewarding and challenging experiences I’ve faced outside of the classroom.

In the past, I’ve actively applied myself to everything from electrical engineering and computer science to education policy and data science. I’ve taken classes on human rights and urban development as well as classes on Spanish film.

But what I discovered when I arrived here is Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Brett Youngerman, Literature and Literacy Instructional Specialist

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Brett Youngerman, our Literature and Literacy Instructional Specialist. Brett joined us for two terms (2015/16 & 2016/17) as our Literature and Literacy Fellow before becoming that area’s fulltime instructional specialist in the fall of 2017.

Eagle-Rock-School-Fellow-Brett-YoungermanFor the past three years, Brett has taught a variety of classes within the humanities, ranging from creative and academic writing to literary and historical analysis. We asked him to tell us a little about Brett — without referring to himself in the third person.

Here’s what he had to say:

Eagle Rock (ER): What did you do for work before arriving at Eagle Rock School?

Brett Youngerman: I worked at Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center in Parkton, Maryland. It was there that I discovered I wanted my career to focus on working with young people. I designed and facilitated daylong team-building experiences for both children and adults. This was also where I first heard about Eagle Rock. I have also worked a few retail jobs, selling shoes. One of my favorite parts of that job was educating people on how to choose running or hiking shoes that would best suit their needs. Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Residential Life Program Coordinator, Courthney Russell Jr.

Courthney Russell Jr. is the residential life program coordinator here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, tasked with the responsibility of fostering a safe and secure environment within our on-campus community.

Born in Fort Knox, Ky., Courthney lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a time, and eventually moved to East Atlanta, Ga., an underserved community devoid of many of the services found in more well-funded communities. He attended Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., and received his medical degree in 2011 from Windsor University School of Medicine on Saint Kitts Island in the Caribbean.

Courthney Russell Jr

It was while taking classes at medical school that Courthney made the decision to dedicate his life to humanity — to help neighborhoods like the one he grew up in. He says by leveraging his medical knowledge in a non-traditional way to become what he calls “an authentic, determined, humble leader by example,” he is doing his part (while helping others) to make the world, one neighborhood at a time, a better place to live.

Courthney joined the Eagle Rock community in 2014 as our community advocate and student support consultant and was promoted to his current role in Residential Life four years later. We recently sat down with him to learn more about his past, his thoughts on Eagle Rock and his interests.

Here’s what Courthney had to say: Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Student Services Program Manager, Nia Dawson

Nia-Dawson-Eagle-Rock-SchoolAs our Student Services Program Manager, Nia Dawson develops and supports non-academic activities within the Eagle Rock community. As a member of the student support team, she works closely with students and staff to develop sustainable opportunities for partnership.

Nia grew up in Los Angeles and began her career working in youth services with the YMCA. She received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Syracuse University in New York with a concentration on youth development.

And over the past two decades and prior to joining our team in January of this year, Nia developed and managed programs on both coasts for the Urban League, the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) — New York chapter, and most recently the Harlem Children’s Zone — a pioneering nonprofit organization committed to ending generational poverty in Central Harlem, New York.

We posed a few professional and personal questions to Nia and here’s what she had to say: Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Eagle Rock Chef Instructor, Carlos Perez

After more than 15 years as a cook in several Miami Beach restaurants, Carlos Perez joined the Eagle Rock School family last fall, working in our kitchen as a chef instructor.

Carlos-Perez-Eagle-Rock-SchoolWhile professionally trained to prepare gourmet meals in a number of styles — including Latin, Italian and American — Carlos admits his favorite task at Eagle Rock is coming out from behind the stoves and ovens and supervising student kitchen patrol teams in meal preparation and cleanup, as well as instructing students in food preparation technique for a few hours each week.

We asked Carlos to let us in on a few details of his life for this blog post. Here’s what he had to reveal:

Eagle Rock: What exactly is it that you do at Eagle Rock?

Carlos Perez: As a cook instructor, I get to spend time each Wednesday and Saturday instructing Eagle Rock School students in a variety of cooking functions and techniques. And while I love to cook, what I really look forward to the most is instructing the students and being a part of their development.

Eagle Rock: What did you do for work before arriving at Eagle Rock?

Carlos: I was a cook in Miami at several restaurants, including a steakhouse, and restaurants serving Continue reading…