Changing Learning. Changing Lives.
We have many exceptional students here at Marion Technical College with many incredible stories to tell, but when a grown man says, “I just want to make my mom proud” it chokes up even the most callus of hearts! This was the motivation that started Bryan Albright down the road of a new beginning at MTC.
Bryan tells the story of his first days of College. “I was going to drop International Business because everything was on computers and so intense,” he recalls. “On my way to do that, I saw a classmate and told him what I was doing; he encouraged me to stay enrolled and helped me through the initial intimidation.” That’s what we do here at MTC – help each other. After Bryan’s first week of the class, his confidence level sky rocketed and he had a new outlook on College – and life!
Before he took the initiative to come to MTC, Bryan recalls being “tired of disappointing myself and others.” Bryan dropped out of school just three months shy of his high school graduation. After that, he said he made one bad choice after another and finally came to the realization that something had to change. The result was that lots of “somethings” changed. Bryan obtained his GED and enrolled at Marion Technical College.
His message to those of you who have made some wrong turns in life (who hasn’t) is that “change is possible!” Bryan also stresses that “If you don’t try, you can’t fail – but you also can’t better yourself.” Bryan was definitely nervous about heading back to school but is so glad he did. He also credits the instructor of the class he was going to drop for much of his success during his first term on Campus. “Ms. Zuppo was great! She made us challenge ourselves, but she was still very supportive. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun in her class too!”
So, how does Dr. Zuppo do it? Cori Zuppo came to Marion Technical College in Fall of 2011 and this was not her first time in the classroom – her energy and fresh approach to teaching is obviously making an impact. Zuppo had a career in industry and consulting before deciding to switch careers to be a professor. As a former employer seeking good employees for her organization, Zuppo realized that there was a gap between education and the real world and wanted to change that with a different method of teaching.
“I don’t lecture,” Zuppo says of her teaching style. Each student is different and in order for them to learn the textbook theories, I think it is important to find a way for students to relate their experiences with the material. I provide students with foundational knowledge but then turn them loose on real-world projects. Zuppo’s goal is to give students the freedom to design and present projects as they envision them (not as the instructor dictates). This approach facilitates opportunities to creatively solve problems and make the material more meaningful. “The whole point”, says Zuppo, “is to challenge students to find new ways to solve problems, think differently, and build skills that are valuable to potential employers while having fun.”