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Sept. 28, 2016

Head of the class

Sept. 28, 2016

So what did you do last Thursday? I got to sit in a room and have someone control my heartbeat from a computer without even touching me. I’m not exaggerating. Tap, tap, tap – my heart was racing out of my chest. Tap, tap, tap – my heartbeat plummeted making me feel like it was being sucked out of my body. It’s a disconcerting and uncomfortable feeling, to say the least.

It’s not the greatest way to spend a morning, but it’s all just part of the process to make sure the crazy little piece of technology inside my chest is working properly and keeping me going. Since it literally saved my life, I’m a little partial to it even when it does make me feel weird. I’m also partial to the nurses and doctors who care for me. And I’m really grateful for the scientists who came up with the technology in the first place.

How did they come up with it? What made them want to in the first place? Where did they learn to be curious, smart, determined and creative? My guess would be it started long ago. Long before they were saving lives, those scientists were first- graders learning to read. That caring nurse was once just a kid learning biology. That doctor was a middle-schooler studying algebra. They all were students, learning from teachers.

There’s no other profession in the world that impacts every adult that way. We all start as children and it’s our teachers’ jobs to give us the tools we need for the next level of education and eventually our careers. Our paths begin in kindergarten no matter where we end up. Our teachers work incredibly hard to help us find our way.

MSU’s College of Education has been teaching teachers for a long time – more than 100 years. They understand the importance of educators and the roles they play. They know strong teachers are the most important factor in a student’s success and are dedicated to preparing the next generation of educators. In fact, the college has been ranked No. 1 in graduate programs in elementary and secondary education for 22 years. Chances are strong you’ve been taught by a Spartan. If you were, chances are even stronger that teacher was pretty dang amazing. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Best in class, to learn more about the college’s programs and success.

At some point in his life, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering Nizar Lajnef was just a kid in a class. Maybe he built something out of straws when he was six. Maybe a teacher encouraged his curiosity about how things were built when he was 12. Certainly a teacher taught him the basics of science that helped him become the engineering researcher he is today. He’s working on research involving sensors for bridges that will ultimately keep everyone who uses them safer. Last week, he actually scaled the Mackinac Bridge to test the technology. Check out the FACULTY VOICE: Scaling the Mackinac Bridge, to learn about his high-flying experience.

Claire Morrison says she’s wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. She wants to teach science to high school students. She’s currently an Honors College senior majoring in physical science and secondary education. Watch the short video in the STUDENT VIEW: Creating for STEM, to learn how a first-year professorial assistantship led to her to a research internship. I have no doubt once she begins her teaching career, she’s going to inspire students to do great things.

Somewhere right now is a tiny girl raising her hand to ask a question. There’s a small boy getting help in math. That girl might grow up to cure cancer. That boy might figure out how to feed the world. Spartan teachers all over the world are inspiring our next generation of inventors, doctors, artists, nurses, scientists, engineers, leaders and lifesavers. Who will educate the next generation of world-changers? Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by G.L. Kohuth




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