STEM Education Scholar Alumni

Congratulations to our STEM Education Scholar Alumni!

Click each Scholar's name to expand their profile for more information.

Rebekah Adams is a 2019 graduate of Central Michigan University studying secondary education with a focus in chemistry and mathematics. After her first high school chemistry class, Rebekah was hooked and wanted to make a difference in students' lives. Like her former teachers did for her, Rebekah wants to give students fun chemistry experiences that make their learning memorable.
Throughout her four years in the STEM Education Scholar Program, Rebekah has learned that using hands-on, student-driven and inquiry-based challenges may allow students to better understand some of the math and science concepts, rather than teaching them in isolation. Her experiences in the makerspace have helped her gather ideas for different approaches she may be able to take with students in her own classroom someday.
Rebekah is originally from Aurora, Illinois, a large suburb of Chicago and in addition to being a STEM Education Scholar she was also the president of the American Chemical Society student chapter on campus. 
Alicia Cates
Garrett Comer
Mark Anthony Davis who has a double major in mathematics and history, is a 2019 graduate of Central Michigan University and the STEM Education Scholar Program. Mark Anthony served as Vice President of the STEM Education Scholar Program’s eBoard prior to student teaching. Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in secondary education, Mark Anthony intends to teach middle school mathematics and/or social studies, or high school mathematics and/or history, and worked as a substitute teacher in the Clare and Gladwin areas while taking classes.
Throughout his education, Mark Anthony has been positively influenced by several experiences, but few have come close to those associated with the STEM Education Scholar program. During one of his first opportunities to work with students, Mark Anthony felt extremely unsure of himself as an educator, and almost could not see his future-self as a teacher. He interacted with a pair of students on designing an original model. Shortly after the workshop, faculty members shared several positive remarks about his ability to ask open-ended questions, which encouraged him and helped increase his confidence as an educator. 
Additionally, Mark Anthony realizes the constant learning that teaching requires. While he is sure to encounter challenges trying to integrate STEM concepts in a history or social studies class, he understands that the “why’s” and “how’s” of a challenge are where growth happens. These critical questions that are the essence of STEM are necessary for learners of all ages to understand and grow in the world around them.
Simon Fikse is a 2019 graduate of Central Michigan University and has been part of the STEM Education Scholar Program for four years. This Zeeland, MI native enjoys reading, hiking, snowboarding, and several other sports. A true lifelong learner, Simon is always on the lookout for new interesting information to digest. He also has a passion for passing this knowledge onto others. As a result, you can usually find him talking to people and learning more about their perspective and personality. These factors play an integral role in his choice to become a teacher and having the ability to interact with and inspire people every day. 
Simon loves working with students on a variety of exciting experiments and projects, such as coding, building, and exploring a range of tools and topics. Witnessing the projects of other educators at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Los Angeles further inspired Simon, who is already easily excited. “Reading about relativity and doing activities with imaginary numbers provided him with a sense of accomplishment and entertainment. My passion for math and science helps shape me as an educator.”
In addition to his coursework and volunteering, Simon does his best to stay involved on campus. He worked with University Recreation running lots of different engaging athletic events. Simon's commitment to hard work, love for education and patient personality serves him well.
Sara Fisk is a 2019 graduate of Central Michigan University and in the STEM Education Scholar Program, where she also served as eBoard President. Sarah’s desire to become a teacher began in her third grade classroom in Big Rapids, MI and has only grown over the years. Throughout the coursework for her mathematics and school health double major and her work in the makerspace, Sara views STEM as an avenue to integrate real life experiences into lessons, which helps students relate to and understand the content more effectively.
“Integrating STEM means creating a cohort of problem-solvers who seek out learning opportunities, ask questions, fail forward and challenge ideas.” Sara encourages every teacher education student consider the STEM Education Scholar Program. “I have learned a lot about myself as a teacher, things I wouldn’t have learned if not for the experiences I have had with students.” 
In addition to her work in the makerspace, Sara also worked part-time for Tech-Ops and advocated for financial wellness on campus as a Money Mentor. 
Molly Sergent is a 2020 graduate of Central Michigan University studying integrated science and mathematics for secondary education. She was born and raised in Northern Lenawee County graduating from Clinton High School in 2015 and is on track to graduate from CMU in spring of 2020. In her three years as a STEM Education Scholar, Molly progressively took on various leadership roles serving as the treasurer and social chair for the Scholars’ e-board, and joining the summer staff in 2018 to prepare and assist with summer STEM camps. 
When asked why she chose to go into education, Molly expresses her personal love of school and learning along with her desire to work kids and help people made teaching a natural fit. Molly looks forward to integrating STEM concepts in her future classroom to offer students opportunities to explore and discover, think differently, use tools, and develop skills that a sans-STEM approach to education may not provide. 
In addition to being a STEM Education Scholar, Molly was a bible study leader for CMU’s South Campus through Cru, a Christian registered student organization. A self-proclaimed book nerd, Molly recognizes that she is going to be that wacky, mega-geek science teacher into hands-on, interactive activities, labs, and projects with her students.
Ryan Stevens is a 2020 graduate of Central Michigan University and spent two years as a STEM Education Scholar. Ryan graduated from Ovid-Elsie High School knowing he was destined to become a high school teacher. “Teaching runs in the family - my mother, several aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grandfather were, or still are educators.” As a child, Ryan did not enjoy mathematics, but progressed through high school courses and along the way developed a passion for numbers which led him to pursue a major in mathematics with a minor in history in secondary education. 
Aside from the STEM Education Scholar Program, Ryan was also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, an honors organization that works on strengthening student connections, as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success. Ryan was also a member of Kappa Mu Epsilon, a mathematics honor society and an avid intramural dodgeball and volleyball player. 
Ryan worked with the Center for Excellence in STEM Education over the summer in a coding and programming camp for upper elementary students. The experience taught him a lot about teaching and the importance of finding ways to make material interesting for all types students. Ryan hopes his experiences with the STEM Education Program will further prepare him for his future career as an educator.
Jayda Sykora is a 2019 graduate of Central Michigan University and spent four years as a STEM Education Scholar. Jayda chose to go into education to not only expand her own understanding, but also to help others see the importance of being educated. She completed a major in mathematics and a minor in earth science for secondary education. “STEM is important for today's K-12 students because it gives them real-life scenarios they are able to tie to their core classes.” Many people do not realize that STEM is the integration of the four subjects as opposed to each individual component in isolation. 
The STEM Education Scholar Program gives future teachers the ability to work with students in a unique STEM-rich environment of the makerspace on campus. In working with students of different ages, scholars are able to improve their own questioning skills, something that will serve them well in their own classrooms someday. Being able to ask targeted questions that allow students to explain their answers will not only help students and teachers, ideally it will empower students to feel a sense of ownership over their own education. Jayda has also learned that she will never know all the answers to her students’ questions. Rather, she is prepared to work through problems alongside her students and to encourage their creativity in designing possible solutions. 
Outside of teaching, Jayda enjoys attending various horse shows in the central Michigan area, and outdoor activities such as biking, skating, skiing, kayaking, and swimming. Jayda has been assistant JV soccer coach for several years and led a quilting module for middle school students, emphasizing the math concepts involved in quilting.