Waynesburg native Tyler Whipkey made his experience at Waynesburg University worthwhile, leaving his mark in the Department of English and Foreign Languages.
Whipkey graduated in December as an English literature major with the secondary education certification option. His goal: to become a teacher.
“I have wanted to be a teacher since I was eight years old. My teachers used to inspire me to do my best. They were, and still are, some of the largest figures in my life,” Whipkey said. “I wanted to be like them. I wanted to change my students’ lives the way my teachers changed mine, and now I am.”
Whipkey is currently a substitute teacher at his alma mater. His dream came true as he explored the different paths destined for him.
“One of the weirdest experiences of my life has been eating lunch in a teacher’s lounge with a handful of my former teachers,” Whipkey said.
Special education caught Whipkey’s interest and inspired him to apply to graduate schools for the specialization.
WU helped me grow into a much more confident person. I started at Waynesburg as timid and reserved and I graduated as bold and outgoing."
His time at Waynesburg University will not be left behind as he continues his trek.
“WU helped me grow into a much more confident person. I started at Waynesburg as timid and reserved and I graduated as bold and outgoing,” Whipkey said.
Whipkey’s goal may have always been to become a teacher, but he did not always want to go into secondary education. Three months into his freshman year, he changed from a middle-level education certification to secondary education.
“I want to thank Dr. Jamie Dessart and Professor Jill Moyer Sunday for always being understanding and inspiring. I would like to thank Dr. Richard Pierce for inspiring me to join the English field and helping me throughout my studies,” Whipkey said. “Finally, I want to thank Dr. Kelley Solomon of WU’s Education Department. I would not be where I am today without her.”
Associate Professor of English Dr. Richard Pierce was an influential figure for Whipkey’s college career.
“Tyler is a careful, sophisticated reader and writer. I’m sure he will be a very good teacher. It was a pleasure to have him in class,“ Pierce said.
Tyler also thanked fellow English literature alumna Tessa Masula for helping him move forward along his journey.
“He has always gone above and beyond in his classroom and field work,” Masula said. “I’ve had the privilege to travel with him to academic conferences, and it’s been amazing to see his desire to learn and his talents in presentation.”
One of Tyler’s fondest memories from college is attending the Popular Culture Association’s National Conference 2019 in Washington, D.C.
“He’s truly going to be an amazing contribution to the literary world,” Masula said.
This article originally appeared in Waynesburg University's student newspaper, "The Yellow Jacket."