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Jeff Rylander

Graduation Year: 1989
Major(s): Physics
Current position: Instructional Supervisor for Science – Glenbrook South High School  

Please describe your life journey since you graduated from Wheaton College.

After finishing my student teaching in December of 1989, I taught middle school science at Wheaton Christian Grammar School for the spring semester of 1990. This was a great opportunity and confirmed my desire to work with students. After my wife graduated from Wheaton College in May 1990, we moved to Dallas, Texas, where I assumed a position teaching physics at Trinity Christian Academy from 1990-1992. We moved back to Illinois and I taught physics at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Illinois, from 1992-2004. Most recently I have assumed a new role as Instructional Supervisor for Science at Lake Zurich High School in Lake Zurich, Illinois from 2004-2006 and now at Glenbrook South High School from 2006 to the present.

In what way has your Wheaton education in physics or engineering prepared you for your current (or past) job?

Academically, I felt very prepared to tackle the rigors of teaching physics and felt very prepared to handle the classroom as well. Perhaps the most important experiences I had at Wheaton were opportunities to think deeply about how to integrate my faith and the science I studied and would eventually teach.

Please describe the relationship of your Christian faith with your scientific training or career path.

While teaching at two private Christian schools, I began class with short devotionals, stories of scientists who were believers, and would often pray in class. This was modeled for me by several of the professors at Wheaton and was something that I so appreciated. While teaching in the public schools, I continue to look for opportunities to let my faith come alive in the perspective that I bring to studying the world around us.

Do you have any words for young students considering a physics or engineering major?

Take advantage of opportunities to explore the world of physics/engineering through internships or research programs at Fermilab/Argonne or other laboratories. These have provided a rich background for me that has strongly shaped my passion for learning by doing along with providing a great set of experiences.

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