Timothy Ehlers, 1993 graduate, English teacher in Salem, Oregon
Area(s) of study: Geography/cartography
Occupation: English teacher in a local high school in Salem, Oregon. Switched to the educational world back in January 2014. Prior I had spent almost 23 years in the GIS arena at various govt. organizations from data-entry/manipulation to management.
What sparked your interest in your area of study?
Geography was a grad student at UNL when I was taking a physical geography course. I was at that time studying computer science and he said that there is this cool world of electronic mapping becoming big! I also did well in the class so changed majors. The education/teaching thing is my last work environment before retirement. Thought it might be good to give back and try to educate young minds that the world is much bigger than their phone!
What is the value of your major?
My time at UNL was a great experience, especially when I found my home in the geography department. It was an area of study that kept me wanted to learn more and more, along with professors that had a passion to help us learn and discover.
How did you get to where you are today in your career?
College challenges and education helped me to learn to work hard and think. I also learned a lot of discipline from being a strong high school athlete and my service time in the military. I think that my first run in college was not what was normal, having more fun than school! But, after withdrawing and doing the military it opened my eyes to what an education could provide if I was willing to put in the work. I believe that my education from HS, UNL and later at Corban University have taught me to have an open mind, work hard and be willing to learn from and share with others. No person is an island and needs to continually learn. Thinking of my impact to try and make my community better are things that were part of my underlying education.
What experiences at the university helped you get to where you are now?
The support and watchful eyes of the Geography department when I was there at UNL. They wanted us to succeed and challenged us to not only see our immediate environment but the bigger picture as it lay out in front of us.
Students in the department were willing to help each other, share ideas and revel in each other's successes.