Departments at DSU adapting to pandemic restrictions

After a semester of hybrid and Zoom teaching due to the pandemic, departments at Dixie State University are trying out new ways to go about social distancing in the classroom in an attempt to keep students coming to class in person.

Dance department

The dance department has decided to still hold all of its classes in person this semester. The students are dancing with a six-foot distance from each other the entire class and are always wearing masks. Professors are also keeping dance rooms clean and sanitized after each class.

“If we use the bars, we wipe them down, and we have a sanitation spray for the floors,” said Sara Gallo, associate professor of dance.

Ballroom is a high-contact style of dance that is very dependent on having connection with a partner. The dance department has taken a unique yet effective approach to ensure ballroom students are socially distanced with no contact during class time.

Gallo said she and her colleagues had to brainstorm numerous possible solutions, and she has to make the overall decision that all ballroom classes will be dancing with wooden dowels in place of a partner.

“In order to follow the guidelines and maintain 6 feet distance with no contact, the sticks are a compromise,” Gallo said.

As students are dancing with the wooden dowels, it allows them to somewhat practice the necessary ballroom technique.

“We’re creative people, this is just forcing us to be creative in a different way,” Gallo said.

Art department

The art department has also decided to continue its classes in person while maintaining a six-foot distance and wearing masks the entire class.

Alex Chamberlain, the art department chair, said it has been a hard change to teach art classes while having a few students joining the class remotely; however, more and more students are showing up to in-person classes each day, he said.

Music department

Timothy Francis, the music department chair, said students in the music department have realized the importance of going in person to class versus joining class remotely.

“I think students recognize that the face-to-face experience is the best experience,” Francis said.

Francis said he has no students attending class completely remotely this semester, and this is great news, he said, because teaching music through Zoom is no easy task.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Social media censorship legal

By: DSU student Ben Stephens

In response to the recent opinion piece discussing the concern over social media platforms and their lack of equal treatment toward the views of its readers, no mistakes were legally made.

This is because the constitution only applies to how the government must interact with individuals — not private entities. The constitution and the rights provided therein must be upheld in terms of how the government treats citizens, employees, companies and so on. This right also extends to how the government must allow private companies, including both news outlets and social media groups, to say anything that falls underneath the First Amendment boundaries of free speech.

This gives social media platforms such as Twitter the right to “de-platform” anyone who they feel violates their own guidelines due to the fact that they have no legal obligation to provide the use of their services to any individual or group.

Thus, social media platforms can in no way be held to that standard. The same goes for Facebook. This may lead to the appearance of leaning toward one political viewpoint over the other — which may, in fact, be biased — yet still entirely legal.

So, I completely agree that any individual who incites violence or criminal activities through social media should be held criminally liable regardless of their political party; however, the actions of former President Donald Trump were significantly more severe in terms of the violent response, when compared to that of the opposition.

So, it is easy to see why social media platforms took to more extreme bans against the former president in contrast to politicians attempting to incite harassment.

OPINION | $15 minimum wage won’t fix wealth inequality

The United States hasn’t raised the minimum hourly wage since 2009, and honestly, President Joe Biden’s $15 per hour proposal still isn’t high enough.

While the poverty rate has been gradually decreasing, as of 2019, the rate of Americans in poverty was at 10.5%. That’s 34 million people. 

Roughly one in 10 people can’t afford their most basic needs and necessities, and there are still lawmakers arguing that $7.25 per hour is fair, or that raising the minimum will take away the motivation for young workers to pursue higher education. 

Oh, please. 

The number one deterrent against going to college or university is and always will be the many thousands of dollars in debt that students are likely to accrue throughout their educational career. But that’s an article for another day.

The arguments against the minimum wage hike largely come from Republicans concerned about small business and the financial effect it will have on employers. And to be honest, I can’t dismiss that genuine issue. If small businesses have to close because they can’t afford to pay their employees the new legal minimum wage, that’s a definite problem.

In an effort to appeal to Republicans and ameliorate this concern, a tax cut for small businesses could be proposed and implemented; however, big companies like Walmart should not take part in any tax breaks. I have absolutely no sympathy for the corporations that make billions of dollars every year and pass none of it down to the workers.

Big companies who claim that they aren’t able to pay their workers a livable wage should be incredibly embarrassed. It takes so much audacity to horde wealth like Smaug and then whine about distributing it among your own workers that made you that money.

I’d argue that $15 per hour, after a decade of fighting for it, isn’t even a living wage for most of the United States population anymore. Inflation has reduced the purchasing power of a dollar by 17% since 2009, meaning even that measly $7.25 per hour isn’t worth what it was 10 years ago — it’s less.

For some perspective, the average cost of renting an apartment in St. George alone is $1,213, meaning that a minimum wage earner would have to work over 40 hours per week to cover rent alone. Would doubling the minimum wage reliably account for food costs, car insurance, gas, phone bills, utility bills or health care?

No, but it would be better. And since this country seems to like to do things in excruciatingly small baby steps, maybe we’ll get the $15 minimum wage passed this time.

As a possible backup plan, when the rich got too rich, the proletariat in France broke out the guillotine. Just a thought.

OPINION | COVID-19 vaccine should be required for school

We’re nearing one year of quarantine and COVID-19 vaccines have started being distributed. The time we’ve all been waiting for is coming, which is normalcy. Before everything can feel normal again, there are a few things we need to figure out, and one of the most pressing is if schools should require proof of being vaccinated for COVID-19 to participate in the coming school year.

As someone whose parent is a teacher in the Washington County School District, I see how K-12 schools handle their vaccine policies. Higher education should take some cues from K-12 regarding its vaccine regulations and require that students can prove they are being safe and receiving their vaccines.

Having a COVID-19 vaccine required for all schools makes complete sense to protect their students. Not only is it the best way to avoid causing schools to shut down due to a sudden outbreak of the virus, but it’s just the nicest thing to do for everyone around you.

Schools already require that students have certain vaccines or immunizations to enroll, which is why it should be obvious that the COVID-19 vaccine is included in that list, whether it be the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or Moderna’s vaccine.

Regardless of if the school is K-12 or higher education, if the school is public or considered a state school, it should require the vaccine. These schools provide education to the majority of the public, which means there are so many more chances that a student can get sick and get those around them sick.

In the Washington County School District, a student may not even enter the school for classes without a certificate that they’ve received their traditional childhood vaccinations. The only exceptions are if they have proof that they will be getting the vaccine soon, or other special circumstances. Those special circumstances could be either health issues preventing the vaccine or a religious reason as to why the student can’t receive it.

Why is the school district so determined to ensure that every student has been vaccinated? It’s because the district wants to make sure every student will be in a place that protects them from dangerous things, and an illness that can be prevented by a vaccine is dangerous and can be avoided.

It’s the same as requiring students to get a vaccine for measles. It’s an extremely contagious and deadly virus, and because of that, schools require students to have a vaccine for it before participating. It’s the same as any deadly virus that requires a vaccine; the difference is that it doesn’t have political viewpoints tied to it.

Some people are against requiring a vaccine for school on the grounds that it goes against their right to autonomy. While yes, no one has the authority to force you to get the vaccine, at the same time, no one is forcing you to go to a school that may require it.

When a higher education school is a public state school, it receives funding from the state and federal government; because of this, those schools should follow rules to ensure students’ safety regarding vaccines the same way K-12 schools have been. If a school is private, then by all means it can choose its own regulations as it sees fit, but if a school receives funding from the government, it’s the school’s duty to ensure students are safe just like K-12 schools have to.

The vaccines already being used for deadly viruses are widely accepted as necessary to the health and wellbeing of the world, while a COVID-19 vaccine has hundreds of lies connected to it largely due to disagreements in the United States’ political parties. If we took away the name COVID-19 and asked if schools should require a vaccine for a deadly virus that has shut down entire cities for months, most people would jump on board.

When people go to school, they expect to feel safe in that environment. Part of feeling safe is feeling like you aren’t going to be exposed to something that can potentially kill you or someone around you. Vaccines are here to protect us, and requiring that for enrollment is part of the school’s duty to keep its students safe.

DSU board of trustees discusses enrollment amid pandemic

The Dixie State University board of trustees met Jan. 29 to discuss enrollment in the COVID-19 era and the university‘s goals.

Sarah Vandermark, senior associate provost for academic success, and Darlene Dilley, associate provost for enrollment management, presented “Road to 16,000 in 2025: Fall 2021 Enrollment” to the board.

Dilley shared 2021 campus-wide enrollment targets:

Student Type20202021
Concurrent/High School3,0293,225
First-Time Freshman2,5432,650

“We enrolled over 12,000 students this past fall, which is amazing,” Dilley said.

According to “Road to 16,000 in 2025: Fall 2021 Enrollment,” Dixie State University aims to increase the number of university enrollment applications.

DSU has 13,184 applications to date, citing a 9% increase over last year. The university’s goal this year is to reach 15,750 applications.

Dilley said: “Nationwide applications are down as high as 10%, but [at] public institutions in the west, the average is about 1% ahead, so [for us to have a] 9% increase in a COVID year? We are celebrating.”

According to “Road to 16,000 in 2025: Fall 2021 Enrollment,” Dixie State University aims to increase its admission numbers.

DSU’s admissions to date are 9,014, citing a 28% increase over last year, and the university is setting its goal to 11,200 admits this year.

Three initiatives to encourage recruitment for first-time freshmen include application events, eliminating test score requirements, and hosting both virtual and in-person high school visits and fairs.

“We have to redouble our efforts,” said Deven Macdonald, a local entrepreneur and member of DSU’s board of trustees. “I’m amazed at how many people do not understand the caliber of our nursing program, accounting program or business program.”

Vandermark said the freshman retention rate from fall to spring typically stays constant, but DSU can do better with its part-time students.

“But there’s lots of reasons why they come,” Vandermark said. “Some of them come to take a class or two then transfer.”

Dilley said DSU starts marketing to sophomore high school students, then juniors, then really pushes seniors to enroll.

One initiative includes sending struggling freshmen students who leave academic probation a congratulations letter.

“We want to get [students] above a 2.0 before [the next semester],” Vandermark said.

Dilley said while there is a national expectation of first-year freshmen decreasing, DSU wants to focus more on adults.

“We know that 40,000 plus people in Washington County have some college but no degree,” Dilley said.

DSU women’s volleyball starts season 1-2, looks strong against SUU, NMSU

Three games are on the books for the beginning of the Dixie State University volleyball team’s Division I era.

The Trailblazers’ three games have been on the road against Southern Utah University and reigning Western Athletic Conference champion New Mexico State University.

DSU took care of business against the Thunderbirds and swept them three sets to zero. The key player for the Trailblazers during their first win of the season and DI era was outside hitter Whittnee Nihipali, a junior psychology major from Las Vegas. Nihipali had 12 kills and 13 digs against SUU, and she earned herself WAC Offensive Player of the Week.

Nihipali said getting the first win of the season felt great; she was proud of her performance against the Thunderbirds, and she said it felt amazing to be back on the court with her team.

Head coach Robyn Felder said the best part of defeating SUU was being able to play somebody other than themselves and take it out on somebody else.

“I felt like from beginning to end we just never lost our confidence, we just never lost control of that match, so that was a good thing to see that we can kind of start our season so strongly,” Felder said.

Even though it’s remarkable to see DSU earn its first victory over the Thunderbirds, they were the Trailblazers’ only preseason match.

    Felder said there wasn’t time to add any more preseason games before heading into conference play and the WAC wouldn’t allow her team to play any more nonconference matches. She said her team will take whatever games it can play and pursued on the road to face NMSU.

    DSU took on the Aggies in a doubleheader matchup and lost both games three sets to one. The key player in both matches was right-side hitter and setter Megan Treanor, a senior communication studies major from Salem. Treanor combined for 20 kills, 32 assists and four blocks from both games.

    Treanor said the team played well against a solid team like NMSU, and it hyped the players up because they made the Aggies work for both victories.

    “We were like, if this is the No. 1 team then we can be No. 2 and if not, No. 1 played them in the championship and try to get that,” Treanor said.

    Felder said she was proud of her team for demonstrating their mantra: “Out work, out talk and out hustle” the competition and play that type of volleyball.

    Felder said: “New Mexico State, they’re good. I felt like we played fearlessly, we were not afraid of them, we were not intimidated, so that’s good. At the end of the day, I want my [team] to go to war and we’re going to win some, we’re going to lose some, but I was super proud of just the way we played the game.”

    The Trailblazers’ next set of matches will be at home in a doubleheader against the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The Vaqueros are 0-2 overall and will be hungry to get their first win of the season against DSU.

    Felder said UTRGV won’t be an easy team to takedown, and if her team cleans up their weaker areas they were exposed to against the Aggies, they’ll have a solid chance to win.

    Felder said: “We have a lot of good pieces of just a great team. We’ve got good setters, we got a good libero, we got some really good middles that block well, so I feel like we need to put it all together and get the dub on Monday.”

    The Trailblazers will take on the Vaqueros Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 2 at noon in the Burns Arena.

    SPORTS OPINION | NCAA transition period hinders athletes

    Dixie State University has made the leap to being a Division I institution; with this comes a four-year transitionary period that prevents the school from competing for national championships.

    This transition period is unnecessary and hinders the players in transitioning schools.

    One of the reasons for this four-year transition is to allow schools to get comfortable with a DI program’s new rules and regulations. Making the transition to be a DI school is not a small task; it takes years of planning and petitioning to make it happen. The schools should be recruiting DI caliber players and support it by the time it happens financially.

    Schools making this transition have to adhere to different scholarship rules, which is part of the transition period. At the DII and DIII level, schools are allowed to offer partial scholarships to athletes, but once a school is a DI, the scholarships have to be in full since there is only a certain number that cannot be split.

    This allows older, potentially partial scholarship recipients, to graduate and bring in new athletes. If the NCAA had a uniform scholarship policy among DIII, DII and DI, this would not be an issue and would reduce the need for a transition period.

    Scholarship eligibility shouldn’t be the reason a school can’t compete for a national championship.

    This creates issues not just for the transitioning team but also for the freshmen in a school’s first year of transition.

    For DSU, this means the current freshmen class athletes, who are the class of 2024, won’t compete for a national championship ever, even if they qualify for one, since DSU won’t be fully transitioned until the 2024-25 school year.

    Although unlikely that this would happen, there is the possibility for it, and not allowing a team to compete at the level it has qualified for because it hasn’t been at the highest level long enough makes no sense.

    Any school should be prepared to be a DI school when granted permission to be one, so there should be no need for the school to transition.

    Megan Webb

    A similar example of this is in Major League Soccer. MLS is currently growing, and the league adds expansion teams regularly.

    In 2017, Minnesota United FC joined MLS after being a United Soccer League side for six seasons, but then in the team’s third year of existence in 2019, they made the MLS playoffs. This jump from USL to MLS is similar, just in professional sports, and there’s no comparable transitionary period for them.

    New teams tend to struggle, but if the team is strong enough immediately and doesn’t struggle, the team is encouraged to push through the playoff format. This is what happened with Minnesota United FC. This is how the NCAA should see it as well.

    The national championship format the NCAA has in place is there to determine who is the best team in the nation. The best team cannot be truly determined if teams aren’t able to compete because they are still in a transition period.

    Schools granted DI status are traditionally outstanding DII schools, as we saw with DSU in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and deserve a chance to compete at the highest level the school can get to.

    It makes no sense to allow teams to qualify for and potentially upset a conference tournament, even host one in the case of DSU’s women’s swim team, but then tell them if they win it, they can’t go to a national competition.

    Money and scholarship issues shouldn’t be figured out in the transitionary period; it should be a requirement for the schools to have figured out before joining. Any school should be prepared to be a DI school when granted permission to be one, so there should be no need for the school to transition.

    Women’s soccer playing in-state foes in nonconference games

    As the Dixie State University women’s soccer team prepares to take the pitch for its inaugural Western Athletic Conference season, the team will kick things off by hosting three of its first four games against in-state schools.

    Gonzaga UniversityFeb. 3Greater Zion Stadium7 p.m.
    Weber State UniversityFeb. 6Greater Zion Stadium4 p.m.
    The University of UtahFeb. 11Greater Zion Stadium4 p.m.
    Southern Utah UniversityFeb. 14Greater Zion Stadium1 p.m.

    “We are fortunate this spring to take advantage of the incredible location of St. George to host four very competitive programs,” head coach Molly Rouse said. “Each of these visiting programs will challenge and test our tactical and physical abilities and provide an amazing opportunity to learn, grow and prepare for WAC play in mid-February.”

    Weber State Wildcats (Ogden)

    Last year, Weber State finished just 2-10-5; however, its roster for the 2021 season consists of 16 upperclassmen out of 30 total roster spots. The Wildcats are expected to be more experienced this year, which could result in more victories.

    University of Utah (Salt Lake City)

    The Utes finished 8-9-4 in their 2019 season with a 3-5-3 conference record. The University of Utah is currently in the Pac-12, which is one of the nation’s Power-5 conferences. Because of the school’s conference ties, this brings recruiting opportunities and out-of-state talent some schools may not have.

    Southern Utah University (Cedar City)

    The T-birds didn’t have the season they were hoping for in their 2019 campaign, recording just one win out of 18 games; however, SUU comes back this season with more experience and ready to avenge its record from last season. With only six upperclassmen and 13 lowerclassmen, SUU is still a young team.

    As DSU transitions into Division I competition and the WAC, this has created the potential for more in-state rivalries to be born.

    “The excitement and energy surrounding [DSU] as we transition to the Division I level certainly played a major part in solidifying these matches,” Rouse said. “We are lucky to be in a state with a supportive soccer community, with strong programs who were each interested in scheduling a spring match with us.”

    Along with DSU joining the WAC, SUU also recently accepted an invitation to join the conference and will begin its transition period next year. As both schools look to create an identity for themselves, we can expect great matchups between the two teams. SUU will officially start its first season as a WAC member next year.

    “After hearing SUU was joining the WAC, it definitely set the tone,” said Jaci Cook-Dandos, a junior biology major from Farmington. “Because SUU is so close, a lot of times we get compared to each other, so it’s always fun to compete with them. We’ve scrimmaged SUU in the past and it’s always a competitive match.”

    As SUU becomes a common foe for the Trailblazers, the T-birds will also become more familiar with another WAC member and potential in-state rival: Utah Valley University.

    “We … know girls that played at the University of Utah, UVU or SUU from playing against them growing up, so it’s definitely going to be fun to have those matchups again,” said Ashlyn VanTussenbroek, a junior psychology major from Salt Lake City. “It’s definitely a Utah pride thing; you want to be the best school in Utah. [Now], playing schools like Utah, SUU creates the mentality of ‘who’s going to [be the best soccer team] in the state?'”

    Not only does joining the WAC create in-state rivalries for the Trailblazers, it also sends a message to the rest of the state.

    “[Joining the WAC] is going to push people to take us seriously, and I’m really excited about that,” VanTussenbroek said. “With us being in the category of prestigious schools like Utah, UVU and Weber, they all have great programs, so to be competitors with those guys makes everyone realize how serious and good our program really is.”

    Cook-Dandos views this as more than just a matchup for the Trailblazers when they face off against these in-state teams.

    “A lot of girls in high school would be signing on to [U of U] or BYU their freshman year, then when I signed to [DSU], it kind of felt like a jab in a way,” Cook-Dandos said. “Now it’s exciting to be playing games against them and to be able to show them what we are and how much we have worked for this. It brings out a whole different level of competition when you play against people you’ve grown up with.”

    To see the Trailblazers’ full schedule, visit the DSU Athletics website.

    Five shows DSU students can binge-watch now

    Every day is starting to feel the same. You hop into bed with a hot chocolate and your coziest blanket, turn on your TV, and Netflix’s signature “ta-dum” blares through the speakers. The streaming platform has been your only escape for the past 11 months.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has social interactions at an all-time low. There are no more adventurous date nights, parties or group hangouts. The loneliness is starting to creep in, and Netflix seems to be the only thing filling the void.

    Netflix has continued to roll out binge-worthy shows amid the pandemic. From true crime documentaries to sit-coms, the streaming platform has it all.

    Here’s what students at Dixie State University are currently binging:

    The first 15 seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” are available on Netflix, and season 16 is currently airing on ABC. (ABC Entertainment)

    Grey’s Anatomy

    Shonda Rhimes’ hit “Grey’s Anatomy” has been a binge-worthy medical drama for 16 seasons. The show follows main character Meredith Grey and her coworkers as they navigate life as surgeons. The medical drama has it all, from tragic plane crashes, to hospital shootings, to unusual medical cases to love triangles.

    Rhimes is known for randomly killing off characters, so watchers are always on their toes. It is super popular among audiences and it keeps things fresh by bringing in new faces and cases each season.

    Chloe Partch, a sophomore biology major from Silverdale, Washington, watched three seasons of the hit show in one week over winter break.

    “I was super addicted as soon as I started it,” Partch said.

    She said the show is the perfect balance between science and drama. Her favorite scenes are the love triangles between doctors on the show, especially between characters Meredith Grey, Andrew Deluca and Cormac Hayes.

    The first 15 seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” are currently streaming on Netflix. Season 16 is airing on ABC.

    The first season of “Bridgerton” is streaming now on Netflix, and the show has been renewed for a second season. (Netflix)


    Rhimes came out with yet another hit drama in December of 2020, this time a beautifully crafted show that takes place in 19th century England.

    “Bridgerton” follows 21-year-old Daphne Bridgerton’s journey to finding a husband. It gives watchers an inside look at dating in the 1800s as she attends prestigious balls in the hope of wooing a suitor.

    Daphne is desperate to find love and catches the eye of the Duke of Hastings. The young bachelor concocts a plan for Daphne to “fake” court him so he doesn’t have to get married and she can actually find true love. The two form an instant connection, but drama takes its toll on their friendship.

    Jessica Schab, a sophomore psychology major from Fresno, California, finished all eight episodes of “Bridgerton” in one sitting. She said the show was well-written and the drama was exquisite.

    “It was like ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ had a baby,” Schab said.

    The show is filled with Shonda Rhimes’ classic drama storylines and left watchers wanting more after each episode.

    The first season of “Bridgerton” is currently streaming on Netflix.

    All 12 seasons of “Criminal Minds” are available on Netflix and Hulu. (CBS)

    Criminal Minds

    Much like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Criminal Minds” ran for a long time, and people are continuing to watch it.

    The crime show follows the lives of FBI profilers who work to analyze the United States’ most twisted criminals and try to stop them from striking again. The show tells a story about the behavioral analysis team and showcases team members’ personal lives as well.

    Rebecka Anderson, a junior exercise science major from Green River, Wyoming, said: “The show is such an easy watch. I can sit down and do my homework while it plays in the background. I’ve probably seen every episode twice at this point.”

    All 12 seasons of Criminal Minds are streaming on Netflix and Hulu.

    All seven seasons of “New Girl” are available on Netflix. (Fox)

    New Girl

    If you are a fan of modern sit-coms, “New Girl” is the perfect show for you. The comedy follows the life of Jess Day after she breaks up with her serious boyfriend.

    She wants to make a new life for herself, so she moves into an apartment with three male roommates. Things get interesting and some feelings are caught. With all the drama that goes down, Jess and her roommates become like family.

    Kenzie Chesler, a junior exercise science major from Highland, said: “ I don’t watch a lot of TV, but ‘New Girl’ is an exception. I love how modern and realistic it is. It doesn’t weigh heavy on pointless drama, it shows real life situations.”

    All seven seasons of New Girl are currently available on Netflix.

    All four episodes of “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” are available on Netflix. (Netflix)

    Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer

    If you enjoy true crime and documentaries, “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” would be a great show to check out. The documentary follows the story of the two infamous investigators who caught serial killer Richard Ramirez. His murders took place in Los Angeles in the ’80s.

    The show is not for the light hearted, as it shows creepy and graphic scenes. Some scenes can get uncomfortable with the amount of gruesome details described, but it keeps watchers wanting more.

    Akalia Bostock, a freshman biology major from Provo, said she appreciated the new Netflix show. She’s a true crime junkie and watched the whole season the day it came out.

    “The show was very interesting,” Bostock said. “I’ve seen a lot of true crime shows and this one is definitely up on my list of favorites.”

    Check out all four episodes of “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” on Netflix.

    Faculty spotlight: Byungeun Pak dedicates life to teaching

    The education department at Dixie State University has been fortunate to welcome a new faculty member last fall who is determined to educate his students and be a friend to each of his colleagues. Byungeun Pak is an assistant professor of education, and he has prepared his whole life to be at DSU today.

    “As a first generation college student, I had a difficult time dealing with everything because I did not have a lot of support,” Pak said.

    Pak grew up in Jeon-Ju, South Korea, and that is where his love and passion for a college education was created.

    “When I was in South Korea, I wanted to become a teacher — an elementary school teacher to help students like I once was, so they could learn something that they deserved,” Pak said.

    Pak said he wants to be there for his students, and he wants to see them succeed. When he was younger, he struggled in school and wished someone was there to help him out.

    “I spent lots of time dreaming of my future,” Pak said. “I was a child who needed more academic support than my peers throughout my schooling.”

    Pak finished his teacher preparation education in South Korea and moved on to teaching at several public schools in his country for 22 years. After living and teaching in South Korea, he decided he wanted to continue his teaching education even further.

    “I needed to learn more about how to teach,” Pak said. “I decided to go to Michigan to learn more and to develop myself to become a better teacher.”

    Pak said as he attended Michigan State University, he was able to meet some of the most influential people in his college education. They always assisted him through his classes and encouraged him to keep moving forward.

    “He sees places where he can help and steps up to do so.” 

    Angela Child, associate professor of elementary education

    The support from these professors made a huge impact on Pak’s career and shaped him into the educator he is today.

    “I love his teaching style,” said Trisha Black, a senior elementary education major from Mesa, Arizona. “You can tell that he is very passionate about math and also is passionate about teaching students.”

    Pak teaches the course “Methods of Teaching Elementary Math.” Pak said he loves being an educator at DSU, but more importantly, he loves the people he works with.

    “He is a great colleague and is eager to be involved and contribute to the department of education and the DSU community,” said Brenda Sabey, dean of the College of Education.

    Pak’s colleagues said they appreciate the work ethic and determination he brings to the education department at DSU.

    Angela Child, associate professor of elementary education, said Pak has become an important asset to the department in such a short amount of time.

    “He is very responsive to the department needs and the student needs,” Child said. “He sees places where he can help and steps up to do so.”

    Pak has a love and passion for what he is doing at DSU, and he has impacted the lives of his community, his colleagues and each of his students.

    “I don’t see myself as a professor,” Pak said. “I really want to see myself as a teacher educator because I care about my future teachers.”