Carissa Zall

It’s such a gift to be able to connect with undergraduates and stay in relationship with them all the way through graduate school and beyond.

Carissa Zall, Teacher Pathways advisor




Instructor; Director, Secondary Master of Arts in Teaching program (summer); Advisor, Teacher Pathways Program


Teacher Education, Graduate School of Education and Counseling

What three words would you use to describe Lewis & Clark?

Community, Energy, Potential

Tell us about the Teacher Pathways program.

The Teacher Pathways program is a 4+1 pathway for Lewis & Clark undergraduates who are interested in careers in education to advance to our Graduate School of Education and Counseling with support and resources along the way. Students who join have access to:

  • Social and informational gatherings
  • Networking and community
  • Opportunities for volunteer time and internships connected with education
  • Access to graduate school classes and events
  • A streamlined application process

How is this collaboration between L&C’s undergraduate and graduate schools beneficial to students?

We are always looking for ways to demystify graduate school and invite undergraduates to see the support they can have on the path to becoming educators and beyond. Graduate school faculty teach two undergraduate education courses, ED205 Complex Issues in Education and ED446 Reimagining Teaching and Learning (which includes a student teaching practicum). These courses are designed to introduce undergraduates to the world of education and teaching, as well as give them opportunities to critically explore what they imagine their own role to be in that world. The Teacher Pathways program also sponsors events throughout the year where undergraduates participate in joint events with graduate students, get to know them, and ask them questions about the program. We are also available to advise undergraduates as they consider what path they want to take, and are always happy to welcome them as visitors into any of our graduate classes so they can observe what they are like. Through this program, students also receive exclusive opportunities for internships or volunteer hours connected with education and the local school communities around Lewis & Clark.

What would prospective students find most interesting about this program? What makes it unique?

Because undergraduates may have several semesters or years between the time they take ED446 and when they intend to go to graduate school, the Teacher Pathways program keeps them connected and supported along the way. I think prospective students might not think about sitting in on a graduate class, but it’s a great way to get a feel for what our conversations are like in the master of arts in teaching (MAT) program, and they are always made to feel welcome. We also give tours of the graduate campus, and our students are available to chat with undergraduates as well. Those kinds of personal connections are rarely available in undergraduate-graduate school situations. We are very grateful we have the opportunity to be so closely connected to our Teacher Pathways students any time they need support or advice.

How many students are currently in the 4+1 program? How many have graduated?

We currently have over 100 undergraduate students enrolled in the Teacher Pathways 4+1 program! We’ve had huge growth since the program began, and we’re so excited about all the potential future graduate students and future educators who are on that path together! In the last 10 years, over 65 Teacher Pathways students have gone from the College of Arts and Sciences to the Graduate School of Education and Counseling, earning their bachelor of arts and master of arts in teaching degrees, plus a teaching license. We hope that number will only continue to grow!

What do you enjoy most about Lewis & Clark students?

Lewis & Clark students always amaze me with their drive to want to participate in the work of justice. Education is a career field that depends on its teachers and other career participants to lead with a care ethic and justice framework for everything they do, and Lewis & Clark students grab on to those ideas with so much energy! I love the conversations I have with my ED205 and ED446 students about being in the work of care and justice together and how they are always looking for opportunities to build their skill sets and resources to participate in that work. The examination of the U.S. education system causes us to critically assess our own privilege and our own educational experiences, and I am always humbled by the way my L&C students dive into this task and look for ways to engage in the practice of hope throughout. It always energizes ME as I get to know each one of them!

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

On the undergraduate campus, I love the Dovecote because that’s where I meet former students who are still in the Teacher Pathways program for coffee and a catch-up session before they get to the graduate school! My favorite spot on the graduate campus is the grassy hill behind Corbett Hall when the sun is out—you can look out over the trees and visit the bees, and be contemplative about the here and now.

Share something you think students would be surprised to learn about you.

I don’t know if many of my undergraduate students know that before I became a high school teacher (and later a professor), I worked in conflict resolution in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. I led some community support groups in the midst of that violence, and it was working in that environment where I realized that talking with and working with teenagers was my jam. I came back, got my MAT from Lewis & Clark, and never looked back! After 20 years, teaching is still the thing that sparks joy and hope for me, and I love passing that on.

What’s your favorite thing about being the Teacher Pathways advisor?

It’s such a gift to be able to connect with undergraduates and stay in relationship with them all the way through graduate school and beyond. There is no replacement for that connection or the way I get to see them grow, flourish, and become people who help young humans grow themselves!

Teacher Pathways L&C Graduate School