STEM Education Scholars

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Congratulations to our STEM Education Scholar Alumni!

Click each Scholar's name to expand his/her profile for more information.

Amanda Barnard is in her fourth year both at CMU and the STEM Education Scholar Program. Her major is elementary education with a focus in math. Amanda has wanted to be a teacher since first grade in Pinckney, MI and has never changed her mind; becoming a teacher is her dream job. Presenting STEM activities in fun and engaging ways is among Amanda’s top priorities given the importance preparing students for jobs of the future.
Being a STEM Education Scholar has enabled Amanda to bond with fellow scholars as well as teachers, students, and families she encounters at various Center programs. In addition to observing high-quality STEM teaching, Amanda has attended conferences such as STEMcon in Chicago, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conference in Washington D.C. “I appreciate the opportunities being a STEM Education Scholar has provided, not only in an educational capacity, but personally as well. This Program helps motivate me toward continued growth as a person and future educator.”
Brooke Barringer is in her second year at Central Michigan University and new to the STEM Education Scholar Program. As a mathematics major and earth science minor, Brooke intends to pursue certification in secondary education. From a young age, Brooke knew she wanted to be a teacher. When she moved to East Tawas, MI in 1999, she discovered a Co-Op position that afforded her first-hand experience tutoring struggling middle school math students. Through this experience Brooke gained patience, time management, and improved communication skills, all of which helped her graduate at the top of her class in 2017.
In addition to her role as a STEM Education Scholar, Brooke also serves as a receptionist for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, “...a community of diverse educators [that promotes]...excellence and advancing scholarship, leadership, and service,” (“What is Kappa Delta Pi?,” 2018). She believes becoming a STEM Education Scholar is a great way to become more well-rounded as she follows her calling into the classroom. Brooke hopes to gain knowledge and life skills that will prepare her to shape upcoming generations upon completion of her degree.

Amber Basnaw

Bailey Birman is in her second both at Central Michigan University and the STEM Education Scholar Program. Bailey is studying secondary education for integrated sciences with a teachable minor in mathematics. Throughout her years in grade school, Bailey knew she had a passion for school and learning, and has made it her goal to continue to learn by teaching others. For educators looking to incorporate STEM into their classrooms, Bailey encourages that teachers of all focus areas give it a try. STEM can create a link between science and the arts in ways that transform thinking. “I am working on a project for English teachers that integrates STEM into reading and literature. The goal is to develop engineering projects for early elementary teachers centered around themes pulled from children’s literature.”
In her free time, Bailey is a Resident Assistant in one of the Residence Halls on campus. She is also an active member in the Society of Physics Students, Women in STEM, and Circle K International, where she attends professional development programs and volunteers her time and energy.
For students considering the STEM Education Scholar Program, Bailey highly recommends it, as it has been one of her best decisions. “Being able to work with students of all ages for years before student teaching is not only fantastic for my resume, but also provides real world experience related to my intended major/minor.”

Alina Bodeis
Kaetlyn Bunn
Maddie Burgin is in her second year at Central Michigan University and is beginning her first year as a STEM Education Scholar.  She is studying secondary education with a major in mathematics and a minor in physics. Maddie grew up in Warren, MI, where she had the opportunity to be involved in several STEM-themed organizations and learn from so many amazing math and science teachers; it was due to these groups and teachers that she first decided to go into education, and she has been very passionate about teaching and helping students since. Maddie has had many experiences working with students on STEM projects through CMU, Girl Scouts, Alternative Breaks, and her job as a research assistant. 
Every time she works with students, she is amazed at how creative they are and how quickly they learn to incorporate STEM concepts into their projects. One of the main reasons she wants to become a teacher is to pass on her love for STEM and encourage her students to be creative in and outside of the classroom. In addition to being a STEM Education Scholar, Maddie serves as the treasurer on the executive board of the Larzelere Hall Council and as a teaching assistant in the Honors Program. She can often be seen volunteering around campus, hanging out with friends in our lovely dining halls, or participating in campus trivia night. Though it is only her first semester in the program, she is very excited to be involved in STEM Education Scholars and work with students in the makerspace.
Alicia Cates
Gabby Cree is a sophomore at Central Michigan University and new to the STEM Education Scholar Program.  Hailing from Muskegon, MI where she grew up with four little sisters, Gabby is pursuing a degree in physics for secondary education with a teachable minor in mathematics.  She has always helped her younger siblings with their homework as she was growing up, and loved watching them succeed.  Gabby also tutored younger students while attending high School, which is when she first realized that teaching is what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

While leading her high school science club and facilitating courses at a science camp largely attended by middle schoolers, Gabby was able to see how STEM allowed kids to make connections and find joy in subjects with which they may have previously struggled.  In addition to recently becoming a STEM Education Scholar, Gabby is also a member of the Society of Physics Students on campus.
Anne Findlay is in her first year at Central Michigan University and plans to pursue a double major in both secondary education, with a focus on integrated science, and computer science. Anne is the acting secretary and new member of the Women in Technology student organization, and participates in Future Educators Learning Community events as well. 
While this is Anne’s first year in the STEM Education Scholar Program, her involvement with STEM began in middle school, when she joined robotics club in 7th grade and maintained her involvement until her senior year in high school. Her final year of high school, Anne served as a mentor for the middle school robotics team. This experience revealed her passion for teaching, and more specifically, her passion for teaching STEM. “I believe STEM is the backbone of learning for K-12 students, and that STEM principles can be applied to all classes. Students who learn in well-managed, intentionally-designed and student-driven classroom using STEM principles are better suited for success and independence.” 
Anne states that every letter on the acronym, from science to mathematics, teaches an important lesson. She thinks that science gives students the ability to question and analyze the world around them, while technology gives them the tool to answer those questions. She also thinks that engineering and mathematics gives students the power to create solutions to the questions that don’t yet have an answer. Altogether, Anne believes STEM principles give students the opportunity to change the world and create solutions to the questions that nobody has asked yet. Within the community and through the camaraderie that comes with being a scholar, Anne hopes to be the spark that ignites the interest of young minds, and guide students through the world of STEM that is being built every day.
Katelynn Fletcher is in her first year at Central Michigan University and in the STEM Education Scholar Program. Katie plans to study secondary education, with a major in mathematics and a minor in English. Throughout high school in Marysville, MI, Katie was involved with marching band, soccer, student council, quiz bowl, Science Olympiad, and National Honor Society. 
“I am passionate about STEM and helping students learn about real-world situations they may face.” Katie is honored to be a STEM Education Scholar and looks forward to working with students, improving her teaching skills and building lasting relationships with her fellow scholars. 
Katie is also part of the Education and Human Services Residential College (EHSRC), A Letter for Better, and the Student Michigan Education Association (SMEA). She is also considering joining Kappa Delta Pi, a teacher’s honors fraternity, and becoming a full member her sophomore year. Katie looks forward to meeting new people and developing new friendships with people who love STEM as much as she does.
Audra Francis is in her second year at Central Michigan University and in the STEM Education Scholar Program and is working toward a secondary teaching certificate with a major in integrated science, and a triple minor in biology, math and outdoor + environmental education. Additionally, Audra works as a Resident Assistant in Thorpe Hall and has been an active member of the Education and Human Services Residential College (EHSRC) for the past two years. 
Audra has always loved working with middle level students and spent the summer teaching nature-themed day camps to 4th-8th grade kids. She enjoyed helping them understand the natural world around them, which sparked her love of biology. Her senior year of high school, Audra assisted in a freshman Algebra class which focused her desire to work with secondary students as well as an interest in math. 
In the makerspace, you can usually find Audra hunched over a laptop helping a student troubleshoot code or working with small groups tackling a hands-on project. As a student and as a future educator, she really appreciates the methods used in the makerspace that puts students in an active role for their own learning. Audra plans to use this approach in her own classroom.
Jaeley Huelskamp is in her second year at Central Michigan University and in the STEM Education Scholar Program. Jaeley attended Grand Blanc High School where she was heavily involved in the Special Olympics Program: Unified Champions, insomuch as representing the state of Michigan in Washington D.C. as a Special Olympics Global Messenger in 2017. Jaeley is pursuing a double major in special education, cognitive impairments and secondary education mathematics. Along with being a STEM Education Scholar, she is a tutor for the Math Assistance Center on campus, the secretary for Special Olympics College, and a member of the Honors Program. 
Through her work with the STEM Education Scholar Program, Jaeley is inspired by the creativity of the K-12 students she encounters and looks forward to the impact these students will make on the future. “The STEM Ed Scholar Program is an amazing opportunity to work with students, gain experience and familiarity with technology, and finally, connect with an amazing group of future educators.”
Sara Lapp is in her third year at Central Michigan University and in the STEM Education Scholar Program. Sarah chose to pursue a career in education to both learn alongside others and as a result of the passion with which her own teachers throughout her years in school. Sarah’s major in secondary education math and minor in physics offer her content knowledge confidence that makes the thought of incorporating STEM lessons into her future classroom very approachable.
While there are many memorable experiences from the STEM Education Scholars, Sarah’s most memorable is her first Open Make event. This event really showed her how students could be successful with minimal guidance from educators. This made her think about how she wants to run her classroom based around student discovery so that her students can take their learning into their own hands. She has learned many different things from her experience with the STEM Education Scholars. Overall, Sarah has learned that as an educator, adapting is key. This became clear to her as she worked hands-on with students. She feels that this mindset will allow her to adapt more easily to different students’ learning styles in her future classroom. 
One piece of advice that Sarah has for students considering joining the STEM Education Scholar Program would be to just do it! She believes that the it provides amazing experiences, countless connections and it is well worth the time that is put into it.
Chandler Nichols is in his first year at Central Michigan University and as a STEM Education Scholar. This Muskegon native is planning to pursue a degree in secondary education with a focus on mathematics and Spanish. Chandler discovered his passion for teaching after working as a counselor for overnight campers from ages 6 to 15 at a YMCA summer camp in Montague, Michigan. Chandler implemented lessons promoting a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all and was drawn to the idea of shaping the lives of other people within a natural and safe environment. 
Now entering the formal education to pursue teacher, Chandler feels it is important for students to understand the “why” aspect of lessons, and views an integrated approach to STEM helps provide the right blend of personal inquiry and buy-in on behalf of the students. “This program has helped me get a better grasp on the professional world, gain experience working with K-12 students in a STEM-rich setting, and develop a network of people I am able to work with both in teaching and learning.”
Ailee Pearce is in her second year at Central Michigan University (CMU) and new to the STEM Education Scholar Program. She is working toward a degree in secondary education with a major in integrated science and a minor in biology. Growing up in the southwest Michigan, Ailee was surrounded by several science teachers who gave her a love for the subject. Ailee is eager to integrate STEM in her future classroom to provide students opportunities to explore a variety of topics and relate them to science and everyday life, all the while strengthening their innovative thinking and problem-solving skills. She recognizes the potential difficulties involved with integrating STEM concepts, particularly engineering and technology, into the classroom and looks forward to finding new ways to overcome these challenges in order to reach and inspire her students. 
In addition to her involvement with the STEM Education Scholar Program, Ailee also leads a bible study as a student leader for a registered student organization on campus called “Cru,” and represents CMU and residence life as a desk associate in her residence hall. Inspired by her love for education and her dedication to future students, Ailee commits herself to learning ways to become a better educator by attending conferences and spending time in previous high school classrooms observing past teachers as often as she can.
Hope Reyna is in her second year at Central Michigan University studying English secondary education with a minor in English as a Second Language. Hope is a second year STEM Education Scholar and has chosen to go into education because she believes the impact of a teacher can extend beyond the classroom and she wants to be an influential person in students’ lives. Hope encourages students interested in the STEM Education Scholar Program to apply. She says, “I’ve made some great connections have access to resources I will continue to utilize. I realize that the more I put into the program, the more everyone benefits.”
Working with K-12 students in the makerspace, has helped Hope see how these experience allow students to develop critical thinking skills, reasoning, teamwork, and creativity. Connecting with students has been an added bonus for Hope, especially in during the architecture short course in the spring of 2018 when one of the middle school students said she should go into teaching. Hope share that she was studying to be a teacher and he assured her she would be great and wished he could be in her class someday. “This influenced me as an educator because it really reassured me that what I was doing something that will impact students and that I am capable at what I am pursuing.” 
In addition to being a STEM Education Scholar, Hope is currently involved in Kappa Delta Pi, Leadership Safari, and Sweeney Hall Council. Hope graduated from Marysville High School in Port Huron, Michigan and would love to work in a middle school classroom after graduation.
Rebekah Riley
Vinny Samson
Molly Sergent is a fourth year student at Central Michigan University (CMU) 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. As a third year as a STEM Education Scholar, Molly has progressively taken 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 has chosen to go into education, Molly’s 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 is 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 in his third year at Central Michigan University and is a first year 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 is 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 is 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.
Dana Thome is in her second year both at Central Michigan University and in the STEM Education Scholar Program. Dana is from Grand Rapids, MI and is pursuing a degree in elementary education with a mathematics major and an early childhood development and learning minor. Dana chose to go into education to help children and provide them with the opportunity for the best possible future. “I enjoy working with classes that visit the makerspace and seeing the students’ tap into critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will help them later in life.” 
One of the most valuable things she has learned through as a STEM Education Scholar is the variety of ways STEM can be implemented into lessons. This realization will be advantageous as she balances the curriculum of her future classroom with the hands-on experience and inquiry approach of challenges observed in the makerspace. Dana especially enjoys working with younger children as she hopes to teach kindergarten. Seeing hands-on experiences with students of a similar age group that she hopes to teach has opened her eyes to the variety of STEM related activities that are possible even for younger children.
For the past two summers, Dana has worked as an assistant preschool teacher and currently works as a desk receptionist in her residence hall. On campus she is also involved in the Association for the Education of Young Children, the Education & Human Services Residential College, and serves as the President of her hall's council.
Katelyn Vogel is in her second year and Central Michigan University and her first semester as part of the STEM Education Scholar Program.
Emily Wenzlick is in her second year at Central Michigan University (CMU) and her first year in the STEM Education Scholar Program. Prior to transferring to CMU, Emily attended Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan and Lansing Community College which contributes to her class standing as a senior. Emily grew up in the small town of St. Johns, and would love to teach special education or mathematics in a bigger city or even another country someday. 
As a new student at CMU, being part of the STEM Education Scholar Program has given Emily the opportunity to meet new people and work with students in new and exciting ways. “It’s important to keep students engaged, and keeping learning fun does just that.” 
When she is not in school, Emily enjoys spending time outside, being with family, running, traveling, spending time up north, and watching sports. She also loves to bake, watch movies, and ride roller coasters. Emily has four younger brothers and spends a lot of time doing various activities around town with them when she goes home.
Bekka Zawisza is in her first year and Central Michigan University and as part of the STEM Education Scholar Program. Bekka graduated from Churchill High School in Livonia, Michigan and is studying elementary education with a focus on mathematics. Bekka chose to go into education because she enjoys spending time with children and values opportunities to learn alongside her students. “I enjoy helping students get to the root of the problem and the opportunities to interact with students working to solve a particular challenge in the makerspace is giving me so many ideas for my future classroom.” 
While this is Bekka’s first year as a STEM Education Scholar, she has already gotten so much from being a STEM Education Scholar. The kindness and positivity of the other scholars is encouraging both in the sense of team-building with peers and as a way to become more familiar with the makerspace. 
“I hope underclassmen and high school students will seriously examine, consider, and apply for to the STEM Education Scholar Program, no matter their major.” While there are time commitments and other requirements, Bekka manages everything well as she is also a member of the Chippewa Marching Band, and an Honors Program student.