Nate Poole: Outstanding Master of Arts in Teaching Student

Nathaniel (Nate) Poole of South Berwick, Maine is the 2024 Outstanding Master of Arts in Teaching Student in the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development. Read a Q&A with Poole below.

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?

A photo of Nate Poole.
Photo courtesy Nate Poole.

The University of Maine is where I earned my bachelor’s degree, where I held one of my first “adult” jobs, and where I am now earning a degree that will enable me to pursue a career I am passionate about. It provided me with an affordable education and connected me with mentors that helped guide me through this chaotic stage of life.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has changed or shaped the way you see the world? If so, tell us about it.

I worked in the Admissions office at UMaine as an admissions counselor and later as a graduate assistant for over a year-and-a-half. The folks in that office are some of the most supportive, professional and genuinely kind individuals that I have had the pleasure of calling my colleagues. My time in Admissions was clarifying, and I owe a lot to the people that work there.

Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better? If so, tell us about them.

I have had quite a few mentors in my time at UMaine. As an undergraduate, Dr. Caroline Bicks served as my Honors thesis advisor and Dr. Kathryn Swacha hired me to work for her as a project assistant. Both of these professors offered me guidance and opportunities during the 2020-2021 academic year, the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with a haphazard senior, over Zoom, in such a challenging, uncertain time demanded a great deal of patience, and yet they provided it without complaint. For that, and more, I am truly grateful.

As a graduate student, Danielle Pelletier has been the fearless leader of my seminar courses and Amy Hart has been my mentor teacher during my practicum and student-teaching experience. Danielle’s positivity, professionalism and empathy produced a seminar environment where I felt comfortable discussing my hopes and fears about teaching and engaged in reflective practices that I will carry with me into the rest of my career. Her future education students will be immensely lucky to benefit from her knowledge and mentorship. For Amy, I do not have words to express my gratitude; I could not have had a more perfect mentor teacher. I don’t know how I would have made it without her boundless humor, generosity and honesty. She also gave me coffee and cookies, and a desk to call my own, which almost made me cry (but I didn’t, because that would be weird).

What advice do you have for incoming graduate students to help them get off to the best start academically?

Eat breakfast, exercise frequently, and go to bed early.

Favorite UMaine memory:

My favorite memories will be working with the students at Orono Middle School and Orono High School. They are truly remarkable, hilarious individuals. I will miss them all dearly, even though they drive me nuts sometimes.

Special Thank You message:

I owe extra special thank yous to Silvestre Guzmán at the UMaine Admissions office, Maia Zewert at The Lincoln County News, my high school English teachers. Extra extra special thank yous to my sister, Wei Wei Poole, and my parents, Matt Poole (Class of ’86) and Laura Eaton.