Andrew Potter is an M.S. student in the Educational Psychology program. Potter grew up in Quincy, MA and attended Boston University. There, he majored in history and decided, late in his undergraduate years, that he wanted to teach. He joined Teach for America to pursue an alternative teaching license and that, in turn, brought him to Atlanta and Georgia State University.
“I’ve been in Atlanta for six years now and consider it home,” he said. “Earning my teaching certificate in behavior and learning disabilities has been my biggest accomplishment as a student here so far.”
What made you choose Georgia State University and the College of Education & Human Development?
Georgia State University’s College of Education & Human Development has a strong reputation in the Atlanta area. I moved to Atlanta in 2010 to begin my teaching career and first enrolled at Georgia State to pursue my teaching certificate in special education. I had a positive experience with professors and classmates in this program, so in 2014 I also enrolled to pursue my M.S. in Educational Psychology. I’ve become really interested in the science behind teaching, learning and motivation through my experiences as a special education teacher. The program allows me to combine my interests in motivation and psychology and apply it to an educational context.
What are your research interests while in school and career goals after graduation?
I really enjoy my job as a special education teacher. I’d also like to pursue a Ph.D. to teach and research at the college level.
Who has had the biggest influence on your academic and/or career trajectory at the College of Education and why?
Dr. Amy Lederberg for helping me understand and appreciate the difference between theory and evidence. Dr. Debra McKeown for building such a strong community and culture of learning through her writing nights and teaching me the ins and outs of single-case design. Dr. Miles Irving for his passion for culturally responsive teaching and discussions on diversity.
Tell me about something you did in class or on a project?
In EPY 8250: Psychology of Inner-City Children (taught by Irving), I did a project where I collected qualitative interview data on a professional development pilot program for new, alternatively trained teachers in metro Atlanta that focused on culturally responsive teaching. I interviewed the two educators who created the program, as well as two teachers who participated in the program. It was interesting to learn about how the program creators came up with and executed their ideas, as well as how the teachers thought about culturally responsive teaching given their unique contexts and backgrounds, and how their work reflecting on diversity played out in the classroom.
Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of the classroom.
I have a four-year-old Weimaraner dog who loves outdoor activities. Outside of the classroom, I’m originally from New England so I’m a big hockey fan and play in a couple street hockey leagues here in Atlanta.
What do you like best about attending a downtown university?
It’s convenient; I can get to class on my bike in about 15-20 minutes.
What has been your biggest challenge in your work as a student?
My biggest challenge has been learning how to design and implement my own research project for my thesis. It’s a lot of fun dreaming up ideas, but the logistics of working through the details can be challenging.