Published February 6, 2014
The 2011 valedictorian at Our Lady of Mercy High School, in Fayetteville, spent January teaching in Italy.
Aerospace major Nicole Gagnier, who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Mass., was one of more than 40 MIT students participating in the teaching program. She worked with Italian middle school students on physics.
According to a news story about the program, American science education is more hands on than the lecture-heavy Italian system. These students rarely perform lab experiments to test science lessons.
Besides the focus on science, the Italians also got the opportunity to improve their English language skills.
Gagnier is a university junior. She stopped in Rome enroute to her teaching assignment and attended Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on New Year’s Day. Her mother, Julie Gagnier, works in Mercy’s athletic department. She credited an elementary school teacher at Our Lady of Victory School, in Tyrone, Orla Thomas, for sparking her daughter’s love of science.