Madi Powell

Madi Powell

BSEd Elementary Education Student

Baylor felt like a maze when Madi Powell was in third grade. That’s when her parents, both Baylor alumni, brought the family from Sacramento, California, to Waco to visit the campus where everything came together, where Mom met Dad. Powell had never heard of Baylor until the trip, so she was taken aback by Texas and the Baylor campus — how the heat was humid, the horizon was not busy with crooked mountains, and the grass on Fountain Mall was simply greener. Standing there between the Marrs McLean Science and Sid Richardson buildings, Powell — with her bright yellow hair, choppy bangs, and a smile full of loose teeth — stubbornly decided she would return as a Baylor student.

Now an elementary education senior at Baylor, Powell is even more certain that her purpose and Baylor were always meant to intertwine. Generations of her family are populated with educators, so the profession has always been a respected and celebrated path to choose.

“There is a moment you see on someone’s face when what they’re learning finally clicks and they get it,” Powell said. “That moment is what led me to the education field. I want to keep seeing that sudden understanding and guiding students towards it.”

Powell was once stuck between pursuing elementary or secondary education. She knew she loved everything about school and all grade levels, but when considering where she would make the greatest impact, she chose elementary education.

“Elementary education allows me to have stronger relationships with students,” Powell said. “You don’t just see your students every day, but are with them most of the day too. You get to see students more than anyone else in their life for a single school year. Every day you love them and get to hear what they want for their birthday, what they’re dressing up for as Halloween, and what makes them sad. How could I not love being a part of that all day every day?”

Brandy Crowley, a Baylor Ph.D. student in the SOE was Powell’s mathematics content professor and encouraged her to become a small group leader for Mathematics for Early Learners Academy (MELA), a four-week summer math intervention for pre-K and kindergarten students struggling in mathematics.

“Madi is amazing,” Crowley said. “When teaching the MELA small groups, she worked hard to make her lessons fun and interactive while ensuring the necessary learning is not getting lost in the fun.”

Powell split her summer between California and Texas to be a part of the program. She said she loves Waco and is especially thankful for the community of schools that have partnered with the School of Education. When she first began visiting schools during her introductory education classes, she made a promise to herself and Waco that she when she graduated she would teach in Waco.

“The community lets pre-service students in,” Powell said. “They let us love and educate their children while the teachers give us their knowledge and mentorship to better us. Every teacher finds his or her place to teach eventually. Waco schools have given me so much and the least I can do is spend a bit of my life after I graduate teaching and giving back to them.”

— Story and Photo by Cameron Bocanegra