STEM Education Scholars


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Get to know our scholars! 

Click on each profile to read more!


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.”
Katie Barr
Brooke Barringer is in her third year at Central Michigan University and her second year in 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.

Bailey Birman is in her third both at Central Michigan University and the STEM Education Scholar Program. Bailey serves on the STEM Education Scholar eBoard and 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 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
Jacob Brower
Kaetlyn Bunn
Maddie Burgin is in her third year at Central Michigan University and her second 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.
Gabby Cree is a junior at Central Michigan University and in her second year as a STEM Education Scholar.  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.
Mackenzie Dunbar
Anne Findlay is in her second 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 second 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 second year at Central Michigan University and second year 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 fourth year at Central Michigan University and in the STEM Education Scholar Program. She is working toward a secondary teaching certificate with a major in integrated science and a double minor in biology and mathematics. Audra has a second major in Outdoor and Environmental Recreation and has a deep passion for teaching children in "non-traditional" settings. Audra spent two years working as Resident Assistant in Thorpe Hall and was part of the Education and Human Service Residential College for two years.

Audra has always loved working with middle-level students and spends her summers 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. During 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.
Tristan Howard graduated from Central Michigan University with his Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics in May of 2019. He is currently in the first year of both his graduate program and the STEM Education Scholar and chose to pursue a career in education to share his love of learning with students as they work to understand new concepts. “I want to give students a space where they can work on their problem-solving skills in a different way.”
Tristan’s experience working with a physics faculty member on research projects at a national lab in Chicago clarified for him the importance of providing real-world opportunities for students.  “This project gave me an even greater understanding of physics and practical knowledge of working in a lab setting.”  

In addition to being a STEM Education Scholar, Tristan is a graduate assistant in the physics department, and a member of two honors fraternities - Kappa Mu Epsilon (math) and Sigma Pi Sigma (physics). As an undergraduate, Tristan spent four years as an orientation mentor, three years as a tutor in the Math Assistance Center (MAC), and one year as a tutor in the Physics Center and as president of the Society of Physics Students (SPS).

Jaeley Huelskamp is in her third 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.”
Lauren Isrow
Annelise Jorde
Sara Lapp is in her fourth year at Central Michigan University and in the STEM Education Scholar Program where she continues to serve on the program's eBoard. 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.
Lisa Liang
Ben Maleszyk
Brook Mathewson
Zach Moore is in his first year at Central Michigan University and as a STEM Education Scholar and plans to pursue a degree in secondary education with a focus on mathematics and physics. Zach appreciates the way STEM allows learners to uncover the creativity tucked within themselves by exploring new ideas through hands-on activities. As a four-year veteran of his high school robotics team, Zach has realized the impact that STEM programs have on students.  Not only did he discover the power of collaboration, but also the result of hard work and dedication.
In addition to being a STEM Education Scholar, Zach is also a member of Future Educators Learning Community (FELC) and part of the Education and Human Services Residential College. Through his academic and extracurricular pursuits, Zach has learned the benefit of doing difficult things, and feels that being a STEM Education Scholar will help give him the confidence to try new ways of teaching his future students in ways they may learn best.  When asked what advice he might offer students considering a career in education, Zach shares, "Dream big, but build bigger."
Chandler Nichols is in his second 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.”
Madeline Oles
Hope Reyna is in her third year at Central Michigan University studying English secondary education with a minor in English as a Second Language. Hope is a third 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
Chelsea Rostini
Justin Shepard is in his first year at Central Michigan University and as part of the STEM Education Scholar Program.
Dana Thome is in her third 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 third year at Central Michigan University and her second year as part of the STEM Education Scholar Program.
Jenna Waznyis in her second year at CMU and her second semester in the STEM Education Scholar Program. Before attending CMU, Jena graduated from St. Charles High School in St. Charles, Michigan. Being in the scholar program has given Jena the opportunity to work with students, meet new people, and grow and a student and future educator.

In addition to this program, Jena is a part of the Council of Future Educators (COFE), Multicultural Advancement Program (MAC), and the Chippewa Marching Band. Although her involvements are time-consuming, Jena uses these programs to strengthen her collaboration and leadership skills.

Emily Wenzlick is in her third year at Central Michigan University (CMU) and her second 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.
Shelby Woods is a freshman at Central Michigan University, and is a first year STEM Education Scholar. She is from Algonac, Michigan, and plans to pursue a degree in elementary education with a major in language arts and a minor in integrated science. Shelby believes that a career in education is more than just teaching students the curriculum, it also means being involved in their lives. She hopes to have a positive influence on students, and to inspire them to do what they love.
Shelby’s passion for teaching was sparked during her time on her high school robotics team, when she mentored the younger teams in her community. She loved getting to know the younger members and watching them grow. As a STEM Education Scholar, Shelby hopes to have a similar experience. Through all that she has done with robotics, STEM holds a special place in her heart. She can’t wait to grow as both a learner and an educator as a STEM Education Scholar this semester! 
This year Shelby is also a member of The Association for the Education of Young Children, Circle K International, The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, and CMU’s book club.



Bekka Zawisza  is in her third 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.”
Bekka is the outreach chair of the STEM Ed Scholars Executive Board and is so proud of everything the organization has done. 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. While there are time commitments and other requirements, Bekka manages everything well as she is also a Resident Assistant, EHS Ambassador, and an Honors Program student.