Richard Incorvia—Empowering Students Through an Authentic Learning Experience

Richard Incorvia—Empowering Students Through an Authentic Learning Experience

MUM alumnus Richard Incorvia


Teaching STEM to young students


With Salman Khan, education innovator and founder of Khan Academy


In the classroom at Anser Charter School

Richard Incorvia earned his master’s degree in education from MUM in 2005. At his first job as an English teacher in an Iowa public school, he quickly learned that students don’t retain knowledge well if the learning experience is boring. That’s when he started having students create videos, posters, and plays, and so his journey in project-based teaching began.

When he joined Maharishi School in 2007, he continued with innovative ideas and found that the school was very supportive. In his middle school journalism class, for example, students created and produced their own newspaper and radio show. Richard also discovered that doing authentic work was just as important as working on projects, because it empowered students.

“Students need to see the intrinsic value of what they are learning and how they are performing a service to someone,” said Richard. “When they see the positive effect in the world around them, they grow as people.”

Richard found that MUM’s education program provided a good example for him to follow. “Everything I did was exciting and it mattered, and they treated me as a colleague,” he said.

Although Richard trained to be an English teacher, he has incorporated his interest in computer programming into his teaching by having students make video games and phone apps. He sees computer programming as the most essential skill students need to learn today.

In 2015 Richard began teaching STEM, an interdisciplinary approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, and math at STEMBusUSA, an outreach program that brings STEM to schools. Since 2017 he has been teaching STEM at Anser Charter School in Boise, Idaho, which uses the Expeditionary Learning model, one of the major influences on Richard’s teaching career.

Richard sees his own path as a teacher as an example of what modern education needs to accomplish to prepare students for the real world. “We need people who are flexible, who can do anything, who can adapt quickly,” he said.

Practicing the Transcendental Meditation® technique since childhood has also contributed to Richard’s adaptability. “TM is a daily reminder to me that what happens inside directly affects the outside world,” he said, “and that should also be the purpose of education. If we are working from the internal world, our life can be happy.”

Watch a documentary about Richard’s project-based teaching at Maharishi School here.

Ayesha Sengupta—Spirituality and the Empowered Woman

Ayesha Sengupta—Spirituality and the Empowered Woman

MUM student Ayesha Sengupta


At the Academy of Management meeting in Chicago with MUM Professor Dennis Heaton


Ayesha with her mother

PhD student Ayesha Sengupta took first place in the Academy of Management’s 2018 competition for Most Promising Dissertation Proposal in Management, Spirituality, and Religion. Ayesha received a $1,200 award to attend the 78th annual meeting of the Academy of Management from August 10 to 14 in Chicago, where she presented her proposal.

Ayesha earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Delhi University and a master’s degree in organizational behavior from Amity University Guargaon. For her doctoral dissertation in management, she chose to focus on discovering the role of spirituality in the lives of empowered women in leadership roles and how it influences their work environment.

She will be conducting case studies of women, and will explore the concepts of workplace spirituality, servant leadership, and the idea of creating a nurturing work environment, where companies not only focus on profit maximization but also on individual personal growth.

Her choice was largely influenced by her mother, Sunita Singh Sengupta, a distinguished professor and author who started the Integrating Spirituality and Organizational Leadership Foundation in India. Ayesha has helped her mother organize international conferences since she was in high school. It was also her mother who first brought Ayesha to MUM while she was a guest teacher on campus, and Ayesha became intrigued with MUM’s unique stress-free yet focused system of education.

Another source of inspiration for her research came from the two years she worked as program officer for the nonprofit Amrita Serve, helping villages become self-reliant through organic farming and assisting women to become financially independent by selling their handicrafts.

“Growing up with my mother’s leadership provided me the foundation that helped me see things in a certain light of humility and compassion, which remain my core values,” said Ayesha. “But working at this organization truly broadened my perspective, seeing so many women unfold their potential. This is what truly helped me grow in so many ways.”

In addition to taking classes, Ayesha works at MUM’s Financial Aid office, and finds the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique beneficial in helping her maintain her focus and life balance. “TM connects me to who I am and helps me stay present and grounded,” she said.

Ayesha is also volunteering with the Academy of Management to help popularize their Management, Spirituality, and Religion division and encourage MUM students to get involved.