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Tyler Wippel

Secondary education student earns industry-sponsored teaching scholarship
Mark Francek, professor of geography, thinks of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker whenever he thinks of Tyler Wippel. The Lansing native is a pretty heady college student.

On Wednesday, September 25, Wippel, a senior in pursuit of a science education degree, received a $5,000 teacher scholarship from ManTech International Corporation. Once his teaching career begins, he’ll be able to get an additional $3,000.

Highly coveted, the scholarship, created by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, promotes the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines in high school classrooms. Wippel won the award, in part, for his thoughts on teaching STEM to students in military families.

“I’ve been at Central Michigan for 25 years and have taught the education methods class for some 10 to 15 years,” Francek says. “Tyler ranks up there near the top in terms of analytical ability. If you listen close enough you can almost hear the gears churning inside his head.”

In a noon ceremony in the Education and Human Services Building with two of Wippel’s professors, his parents and CMU administrators on hand, Brigadier General Michael Brogan, USMC (ret.), presented Wippel with the check. Brogan, now senior vice president in the technical services group of ManTech, says that in addition to the $5,000, the award comes with a three-year $1,000 grant for supplies and experiments to enhance any STEM classroom projects that he’ll be teaching.

Francek says Wippel’s writing expresses a deep connection to science, something of a rarity for someone his age. But that may be the way he has long thought about science. “I think it’s liberating to know how things work,” says Wippel, majoring in mathematics and minoring in earth sciences. “To look at something and wonder about it.”

As for how he’ll someday transfer that STEM curiosity to middle school or high school science students, Wippel plans to bring a conceptual approach to the classroom. “I’m really interested in communicating the scientific method to students,” he says.

With a spring semester left for his pre-service teaching experience, Wippel hopes to spend some of spring teaching in Immokalee, Fla. He’s already gotten his feet wet. He’s helped instruct elementary students in CMU’s Super Saturday program, worked as a tutor in the math lab and has served as a campus guide for College 101, a program that promotes university education to inner city, at-risk kids.​ 

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