Clare McLaughlin: Encouraging growth at the Academy | Aga Khan Academies

Clare McLaughlin: Encouraging growth at the Academy

Before we enter the 2019 2020 academic term, we would like to spotlight a few staff from AKA Mombasa who are going on to pursue new adventures in the upcoming academic year. Here, we take a look at Academy fellow Clare McLaughlin and her two years at the Academy.

Clare McLaughlin is from Warren, Vermont and was an Academy fellow at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa. Clare was focused in the Service Learning programme
and involved in other programmes around the Academy.

During her time at the Academy, Clare said she is grateful for the various people she was able to work with.

“My time at AKA Mombasa has been an incredible opportunity to learn and grow,” Clare said. “Foremost I’ll miss the students who were immeasurably thoughtful, hilarious and motivating. Students were the center of everything I did and valued in my time at the Academy so I’ll miss them the most. I’ll also miss the friendships I’ve made with staff across the Academy - from the Administration block to the dorms - the Academy staff always kept me laughing and learning.”

Clare said she was able to recognise the value of pluralism at the Academy, which she believes will help her in her future.

“I feel fortunate that on each team I worked with, I heard different perspectives and had to challenge myself to see problems and solutions from every angle,” Clare said. “I value this immensely and will carry with me this standard of listening and collaboration.”

Throughout her fellowship, Clare said she enjoyed the opportunities she was given to work on various projects and programmes, while also improving the Service Learning programme for the years to come.

“The best part of the fellowship is its flexibility to try new things, work with an array of groups and interests in the Academy, and propose creative solutions to challenges,” Clare said. “I especially enjoyed serving as a mentor, working on the girls’ football programme, working on the Exchange Programme with the Academy in Hyderabad, and working to make Service Learning more community-centered, effective and sustainable.”

For her next adventure, Clare said she plans to go back to school for her Master’s degree.

“I am attending Stanford University to pursue a Master’s degree looking at education for sustainable development,” Clare said.

George Kamau Gachoya, an Environmental Systems and Societies teacher at the Academy who Clare worked with as a teacher’s assistant, said he admired Clare’s work ethic and the various new ideas she introduced to his class.

“Clare is a diligent and an outspoken person with whom I have had an opportunity to work with in the last two years as my protégé in the ESS class,” George said. “She is meticulous in planning; the resources she prepared for the lessons she helped deliver were always enriching and promoted deeper understanding of concepts. She introduced Freakonomics radio to the class and organised for class discussions initiated by students on hot environment topics of the week that they could pick from the media. She is friendly, but also very firm when dealing with students. Her keen eye could quickly pick students who were not using their lesson time productively.”