|by Howard Hewitt • August 30, 2005|
Aaron Wyman is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry who brings unbridled enthusiasm and energy to the classroom.
Wyman, who will at times refer to himself as introverted and other times as a circus clown, thinks his energy level is a valuable asset.
"For me teaching is all about energy and enthusiasm," the Alma College graduate said. "There are people who would probably argue that’s not accurate, but for me it works. If I’m excited and giving everything I got, the students know that and typically they’ll give me a little bit more as well. There’s no greater thrill than that."
Wyman got his masters in biology at the University of North Carolina and his doctorate at the University of Michigan. But he was struck by what was available to him at Wabash College.
"I was immediately struck by this building (Hays Hall), the technology, and what was available at a really small college," the sports enthusiast said. "The equipment here is on par with anything I’ve been using in my graduate experience.
"The undergraduates here are phenomenal students and they’re excited about being here. I love coming to work every morning. I look forward to the next day. I have the opportunity to not just teach classes but to create a course for spring semester."
Wyman plans on teaching a class in bio-chemistry he’s designing now. He’s looking forward to taking on a research assistant sometime soon as well.
"I had a wonderful mentor as an undergraduate. I really enjoyed that experience of working with her and learning what science is and how it’s actually practiced, the history behind it and the idea, the thought process.
"I want to let students do science as undergrads so when they get to grad school they’re sitting there saying I have learned all these things; I know the basics. So when they get there they can just go crazy and actually be two or three steps ahead of the next party."
Wyman grew up on a small Michigan farm but was heavily influenced by his mother and her siblings, who were all teachers. "I get no greater thrill than sitting down one-on-one or one on 500 and providing information, knowledge, and a thought process. I’m big on making students come to me – it doesn’t do any good to just give them information; they must understand why two plus two equals four. When they make that connection it becomes permanent and makes all the other connections come so much faster."
He admits to being curious about his classes at an all-male school. "I did my interview lecture and I’m looking out at 25 guys," he recalled. "I thought, ‘They’re happy with this; I’m not a guy who says they should change."
He found irony in that experience because his first teaching experience at North Carolina was with a class of 24 women. "I thought that was the greatest place ever," he recalled with a chuckle.
Wyman and his wife live in West Lafayette. He is an avid reader and loves to participate in and watch sports. "I feel like I’ve found nirvana learning that 40 to 50 percent of the students here play a sport."
Hewitt is Wabash College's Director of New Media/Web Editor.
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