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Robert Noyce Scholarship Program

Current Scholars Archive


Meet Noyce Scholar Benjamin Zupke

Name: Benjamin D. Zupke

Grew up in: Lynden WA for most of my life. Lived in Europe for about two years around when I was 11 years old.

Currently Pursuing: I am working towards a Washington State teacher certificate and a Master in Teaching through the Alternative Routes to Certification (ARC) program here at Seattle Pacific University

Pursuing Certification in: Secondary physics

Intended level of teaching: I really look forward to teaching physics and other general science classes at the high school level.

What teacher or professor has been most influential in your life? Mr. Millage, my 8th grade science teacher, was the first person to invite the idea of becoming a teacher into my head because his class was my favorite. This idea wasn’t brought to life until I attended SPU for my undergraduate degree and took some physics classes. It took the physics professors to nurture this notion that I had and it was due to Dr. Seeley and Dr. Vokos that I started to consider teaching as a career. The final person in this process to bring my idea of teaching into full bloom was a retired teacher by the name of Sherm Williamson. Sherm has taught physics for a long time and after talking with him via email and over a few conversations he convinced me to actually pursue this idea sooner than I had thought. So currently it was these individuals during different stages of my life that have influenced my life the most.

Why Seattle Pacific University? To tell you the truth I do not have the foggiest why I chose SPU for my undergrad program. It had somewhat to do with my desire to attend a university in Seattle, but outside of that I could not tell you. I did choose SPU for my graduate program because I know that they have one of the best education programs around and I have connections with the physics professors here due to my undergraduate degree.

What has been your greatest challenge this past year?

The greatest challenge I have overcome this year is the adjustment to becoming a student teacher. I had not planned on starting my pursuit of a teaching certificate until I got some experience as an engineer or in some related work field. Instead, I was convinced by my SPU professors and Sherm to try and pursue my teaching career starting this year. This started the hurried process of taking the GRE and PRAXIS test as soon as possible, applying to the ARC program past the application date and hoping that I could finance another year of classes right after finishing my undergraduate degree. Well, as luck would have it, things fell into place and now here I am, after a long process, in the midst of the ARC program.

What are you most excited to be offering to your students?

I am most excited to become a teacher and fulfill the role model figure that most teachers have for their students. I am also excited to share with students the wonders of physics and how it is such an integral part of our daily lives and if they are to pursue a career in the science field that they might never get bored with their work.

Any experiences are you currently looking forward to in this coming year? Graduating!!!

Anything you would say to someone considering applying for a Noyce scholarship? I have been told and I believe that this scholarship is a great way to help pay for tuition costs and its requirements can easily be met. For one year of tuition help you will need to serve in a public school classified in a high needs school district for two years. The wonderful part about this is that even though the first two years or so of your teaching career are the toughest by the end of it you will know if you want to become a teacher. With the Noyce scholarship you are able to minimize the cost of becoming a teacher and if you do not like it after giving it a shot for two years, the scholarship requirements have already been met. So if you are a person who is strongly considering teaching as a career it is a great scholarship that allows you to get started into that career.