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One-on-One with Victor Akemann

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The Mirror reporter

Victor Akemann (Contributed photo)

Teachers are known for getting involved in activities, and Victor Akemann is no different.

He is a SPASH science teacher, a biologist, an adviser for the National Oceanic Science Bowl (NOSB) and one of the organizers of the upcoming Nobel Conference from Oct. 1-3.

However, Akemann is unique because he decided to continue his education by getting involved in the doctoral program.

After a doctoral program, an individual is awarded a doctorate degree which qualifies one to teach at the university level.

What is Akemann’s motivation and progression on the program?

Akemann has thought about the doctoral degree for a long time. Initially, he thought of being a superintendent and took some of the classes. He described his initial actions as “hoop jumping,” and decided to wait for other possibilities. Then Akemann met a former student who is now in her thirties still calls him “Mr. Akemann.” She reminded him of the doctoral program being offered at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP).

At first, Akemann was a little hesitant and asked if he should really apply since he is in his late 50s. The student responded with a gesturing “you should.” Akemann admitted he had discussed the doctoral program with his wife before his encounter with his former student.

Two hours later, Akemann met one of his former advisers, Dr.  Paula DeHart in a grocery shop. Dr. DeHart reminded Akemann of the same doctoral program being offered at UWSP.

Akemann described these two encounters as “Something that just happened in the universe.” It made him consider the program more seriously.

Akemann added that the information in the doctoral program connected with things he has been thinking about for much of his life and the role of education. At that point, he committed himself to the doctoral program.

Akemann admitted that the doctorate program is the “highest level of education,” because it challenges him at many levels to the point of being “scary and awesome.” He pointed out that anyone can learn at any point in his or her life.

He said the educational sustainability material and the doctoral program helps him make new connections with new people and old people.

How does Akemann combine his work as a teacher with his doctoral program?

Akemann who teaches three different classes including two Anatomy and Physiology and one general biology with an addition of a core science instructor said he was grateful for his family’s support. However, he feels the responsibility to be present and involved with his family and making sure that his children are okay. Akemann is still trying to navigate time and the difficulty of staying awake at night knowing that he has to prepare his lectures for his students and also complete his doctoral work. He called this process “part of planning.”

He used the analogy of “How do you eat an elephant?” to emphasize planning. Eating elephant one bite at a time is just like doing your work one step at a time.

What is the future for Akemann after his doctoral program?

 Akemann said, “I’m going to leave that to a higher power.” He will not allow bureaucracy to run him. Instead, he will be open and do things on his terms.

Akemann left a piece of advice for people aspiring to get into any sort of program, be it doctorate or otherwise.

He advised that people should look at their biggest dreams and aspirations and the kind of contribution they would like to make back to the world.


7 Responses to “One-on-One with Victor Akemann”

  1. Willow on September 26th, 2018 10:56 AM

    Mr Akemann is truly an amazing teacher who clearly loves his work. He is a fun and energetic.

  2. Rachel Placeway on September 26th, 2018 11:06 AM

    This article was very well written and was organized in a way that really got the story across. I was surprised to learn how much Akemann is involved in outside of the classroom.

  3. Madison Rindahl on September 26th, 2018 11:11 AM

    Wow! Great article on Akemann. Very well done, goes into great background on him. I had no idea that he does so much. I can tell he really cares for his students and loves his job. Great job.

  4. Soren Luther on September 26th, 2018 11:16 AM

    Great job! I like that you gave many examples of what Mr. Akemann personally thinks. I also like that you included future advice he gave to anyone trying to get into a program.

  5. Maryann Silva on September 26th, 2018 11:19 AM

    Good job on this article! Mr. Akemann seems like a great teacher. I loved how even when you’re in your late 50’s you can still go to school. I hope I do that to further my education and never stop learning.

  6. Bryant VanRossem on September 27th, 2018 11:04 AM

    I did not have Mr. Akemann but he sounds like an amazing teacher

  7. Lauren Huebner on September 27th, 2018 11:21 AM

    That is really good advice. I had him last year, and he always talked about new discoveries that were being made in science, and what he was doing for his doctorate.

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