Posted by Tami DeLand at 9/6/2016 5:00:00 AM
Some Technical High School graduates head for the Olympics, others like Erin Saupe go on to become Oxford professors.
Saupe, a 2003 Tech grad, recently crossed the ocean to become an associate professor of earth science at Oxford. Her impressive education journey includes degrees from the College of St. Benedict, University of Kansas and Yale, but she admits there is a certain amount of pressure in taking the position at Oxford.
“It’s such an adventure!” she says. “Both exciting and a little scary.”
Saupe will be teaching earth science and evolution to undergraduates at Oxford as well as giving one-on-one, project-based tutorials. She explains that the tutorials are an expectation at Oxford and designed to encourage critical thinking.
A published researcher, Saupe will utilize her background to help students study species and communities over time while observing environmental changes.
Although high school seems a long time ago, Saupe credits some of her Advanced Placement teachers at Tech with launching her on this professional journey.
“Mr. Gerads is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had—anywhere,” Saupe says, referring to retired Advanced Placement History teacher, Jerry Gerads. “He inspired me to go into geology and become an archeologist.” (Her undergraduate degree.) “He is the reason I fell in love with the past.”
“My dissertation is dedicated to him,” she adds.
Other AP instructors at Tech inspired learning in her, too. “Jan Brown in English and Mr. Boatz in Math,” she reflects. “I honestly wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
Saupe took away other lessons from Tech as well. She ran cross-country and enjoyed it, appreciating the teamwork. She participated in Knowledge Bowl and Youth Service projects and tried out various activities.
One aspect of her high school experience she feels helped prepare her for a wider world perspective was “hanging out with diverse people.”
“I even won a Tech Alumni Association scholarship on What Tech Means to Me,” she remembers. “I wrote about diversity.”
Saupe grew up in Avon township on a six-acre hobby farm where her family kept sheep as pets. “They are our organic lawn mowers,” she says.
Her mother, Linda Shinehouse Saupe, recently retired from District 742 after 23 years as a school nurse.
Erin’s husband Brian Finley works as an auditor for Price Waterhouse Cooper and is transferring to London to share in her adventure. They will live right at Oxford.
“Oxford is made up of colleges,” she explains. “Kind of like Harry Potter houses,” she laughs.
Whatever this next year brings, Saupe is excited for the future, building on a sound foundation that began at Tech High School.