The Gustavian Weekly

Christopher Stewart: Making a difference in education | The Gustavian Weekly

By Katie Volney Staff Writer | September 25, 2009 | Variety

After applying to only one college for admission, Chris followed the footsteps of four of his family members by becoming a Gustie.  By: Alex Messenger

After applying to only one college for admission, Chris followed the footsteps of four of his family members by becoming a Gustie. By: Alex Messenger

Just as four of his family members had before him, Chris Stewart made the decision to become a Gustie over three years ago. In fact, Chris was so sure of his desire to join the Gustavus community that it was the only school he applied to.

As he arrived on campus on that late summer morning, Chris brought with him a passion not only for learning, but also for sharing his knowledge with others. This is the main reason he chose to major in secondary social studies teaching (also accompanied by several minors, including geography and political science).

For almost his entire career at Gustavus, Chris has been involved in a variety of activities and organizations both on and off campus. He is currently president of the Student Educators Association, a member and former vice president of the education honor society Kappa Delta Pi, chapel apprentice, an economics tutor and has been a collegiate fellow for the past three years.

“[Working as CF] is really important to me and what I do on campus. My job has given me the opportunity to not only encourage responsible and safe living and learning habits, but also has allowed me to make a lot of great friends in the process,” Chris said. “Being able to support the mission and goals of Gustavus has really been a positive experience.”

In addition to his demanding academic responsibilities, Chris enjoys playing intramural sports and is captain of two of the softball teams.

Chris’ participation in the teachers’ union Education Minnesota provided him with incredible opportunities to shine in his area of study. Last year he was nominated to undertake one of two leadership positions within the organization, which he gladly accepted. He attended the Minnesota convention and succeeded in gaining an invitation to attend the national conference in San Diego.

Chris’ involvement with this organization proved incredibly valuable when he was nominated to receive the 2009 Audrey Erskine scholarship for students planning to enter the teaching field. He went on to win the scholarship as a result of his dedication to improving the greater education community and his extensive research in the education arena. Last year he completed a project on technology in the classroom and another that he is currently undertaking as an independent venture.

Chris’ success is due largely to his eagerness to make the most of his tertiary education experience.

“It is important [as a college student] to constantly be re-evaluating what it means to be active on campus,” Chris said.

He insists that time management is a great skill to cultivate throughout one’s college years, and that by the end of his sophomore year he was able to nearly double his available time for student activities and organizations.

“It’s important to decide [for oneself] what ‘busy’ means,” Chris said.

Chris is taking a realistic approach to his plans after graduation in the spring.

“It really depends on what the job market looks like,” Chris said. He hopes to complete his student teaching and eventually go on to get his master’s degree. As for his last semester at Gustavus, Chris also intends to study abroad in Spain as part of a teaching program there.

The future for Chris looks very bright.

“[Chris] is a great person and always has a huge smile on his face and a welcoming hello,” Junior Communication Studies Major Bergit Nerheim said of her classmate.

It is easy to see that Chris has made a difference in the Gustavus community during his time here, and there is no doubt that he will bring the skills he has acquired over the last three years and his passion for teaching to the rest of the world.