Michael Schmidt ’10 Joins Forces with Robert Moses ’56 in Algebra Project Internship

Michael Schmidt '10
Michael Schmidt '10
Born in Harlem, educated at Hamilton then Harvard, civil rights leader Dr. Robert P. Moses’ life is an inspirational story in the style of 19th century Horatio Alger novels. He graduated from Hamilton in 1956 and founded The Algebra Project (AP) in 1982 as a means to advance public school education, especially in mathematics, for every child. He and the people at The Algebra Project feel that every child is entitled to a proper education in order to succeed in an increasingly technology-based society.

Michael Schmidt ’10 is interning with the AP this summer through the Monica Odening Student Internship and Research Fund in Mathematics. The Odening Fund provides students with financial support so that they can do off-campus work in subjects related to math.

AP strives to educate the lowest quartile of students in math so they will be able to survive at the college level. To do this, they conduct teacher training and community organizing. For the first two weeks of Schmidt’s internship, he lived in Chicago, where he learned a special curriculum with 50 other teachers. AP’s curriculum is split into different units, or “modules.” Schmidt says that his training was laborious, but exciting – he worked from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

AP has a sister organization called the Young People’s Project (YPP), which organizes camps and after-school activities for children. The YPP encourages math skills and feelings of leadership and empowerment in its students. After training in Chicago, Schmidt moved to Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus to work at a YPP camp for incoming freshmen. Schmidt is a double major in math and music, so he has taught music to the students in addition to other subjects. His time there has strengthened his pedagogy – he has come to treat his students as adults as well as learners.

Schmidt has considered a career in education since he came to Hamilton. ”I am very interested in being a teacher and this internship has helped me get a taste for what it might be like,” he said.

He has also pondered working in ministry or government, but he says that he is attached to working with children. “I care about teaching because I see it as a very hands-on way to make a difference in kids’ lives,” he said.

Schmidt is a graduate of Ridgefield High School
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