Montana State University

Opportunity in land of hobbits attracts MSU achiever

June 1, 2005 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service


Charlie Doughty and his dog, Aberdeen, take a break. (MSU photo by Erin Raley).   High-Res Available

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Ready for a change, Charlie Doughty headed west, veered south and landed on an island where hobbits once lived.

The Montana State University student took his first dip in the Pacific Ocean and kayaked in its bays. He mingled with natives who said "Good on ya, mate" when they meant "Good for you." He avoided winter in two hemispheres while spending four months on one of the islands where the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was filmed.

"I swear it had nothing to do with me going over there," said the Great Falls native and recent MSU graduate.

The real reason Doughty went to New Zealand this spring was to teach math at Kerikeri High School on the north island of New Zealand, Doughty said. He had observed teachers in Montana, but wanted to do something different while student teaching.

"I was looking for something to separate me from the rest of the pack, making me more competitive for jobs," said Doughty who graduated in math education one day after returning from New Zealand.

Doughty was one of 20 MSU students who did their student teaching in New Zealand this year, Bill Hall wrote in an e-mail from that country. Hall coordinates the MSU program that has sent student teachers overseas for about 20 years. Besides New Zealand, MSU sent one student teacher to Australia and five to the United Kingdom and Ireland this spring.

"I had a great experience," Doughty said. "My cooperating teachers just made it so worthwhile and so rewarding for me. The students over there were great."

Approximately half of his students were minorities, Doughty said. All spoke English, but a slightly different version from American English. Group work was emphasized. Like the other MSU students, Doughty lived with a host family and immersed himself in the local culture.

"Charlie was really a bright spot for this semester," Hall wrote. "His work ethic and personality made him extremely popular with his students and the other teachers and staff at Kerikeri High School in the Bay of Islands.

"When he wasn't teaching, I would find him in other classrooms observing and trying to learn as much as possible," Hall continued. "He was always engaged and trying to get the most from everything he did."

The Kerikeri school offered Doughty a teaching job, but Doughty turned it down, Hall said. Doughty said he hopes to start law school in 2006 and plans to take the entrance exam this fall. Besides studying, he will work two jobs this summer. He will work again at Reach, Inc. with adults who have developmental disabilities. He will be a program assistant with MSU's Office of International Programs. In his spare time, he'll continue singing and playing guitar with the "eclectic bubblegum pop" band he and his roommates formed. Called the Macon Bay Bees (say it out loud), its name reveals the band's tongue-in-cheek outlook and interpretive nature, Doughty said.

Doughty's more serious side was recognized when he was one of two MSU students to be named Bozeman Rotary Club Students of the Month for April. His long list of accomplishments included receiving and maintaining a Presidential Scholarship for four years. He belonged to Septemviri, an elite honorary society for seven seniors. He received this year's Max Worthington Award for commitment and service to MSU. In the past, he tutored 3 1/2 years in MSU's Math Learning Center. He served as a senator in MSU's student government and chaired the committee that booked educational and entertaining lectures on campus. He was a peer leader in the General Studies Seminar and helped recruit prospective students as an AdvoCat.

"Mr. Doughty is an extraordinary student and an even more extraordinary person. His involvement in the university and the community surpasses anything I have ever seen in my 24 years at MSU," Ken Bowers wrote when he nominated Doughty for the Rotary award. Bowers is head of the MSU math department.

Doughty, son of Dave and Pam Doughty of Great Falls, said his choice of activities was inspired by MSU's orientation program. Active in it for four years, Doughty said the program motivated him to help school students make the transition to college.

"It's been a great opportunity," Doughty said.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu