Education Foundations major aiming for career as elementary school teacher
Eric Gunderson, 19, a 2018 graduate of Apple Valley High School, is a sophomore earning an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Education Foundations at Inver Hills Community College. Eric has plans to graduate from Inver Hills in May 2020 and then transfer to Concordia University, St. Paul, to earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Education K–12.
“My dream job is to be an elementary school teacher,” he said, “preferably for students in second or third grade at a school in the Twin Cities metro area.”
Eric works while going to college at the Minneapolis Gun Club, a shotgun range in Prior Lake, Minnesota. He is a trap puller—the person who keeps score.
“I mainly pull trap so I’ve gotten to know many different shooters,” he said. “I try to make the experience fun for me so I offer suggestions to shooters who are struggling to hit the targets.”
More about the A.S. in Education Foundations…
The Associate of Science (A.S.) Education Foundations prepares you for the field of teaching through a series of pre-professional introductory courses and recommended electives. The curriculum includes opportunities to examine professional knowledge, engage in reflection, and understand culturally relevant approaches to instruction while also becoming immersed in classroom experiences at local school districts.
The A.S. in Education Foundations also prepares you for transfer to a four-year college or university to complete a bachelor’s degree and subsequent recommendation for teacher licensure. You may also have the potential to earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.), if they complete Physical Education (1 credit) and Health (1 credit) courses.
More about Eric…
An only child, Eric has found that having no brothers or sisters has “good and bad times.” Eric’s father, Michael, works at 3M as a storage analyst, a job he’s had for more than 10 years. Eric’s mother, Natalie, graduated from the Inver Hills Nursing program and went on to work as a registered nurse for two decades. The family has a 4-year-old orange tabby named Cooper, who likes Eric best and has earned the nickname “Mr. Spoiled Butt.”
Eric’s favorite pastime is trapshooting, a sport both his mom and dad also enjoy. All three own Browning Citori 725 shotguns. Eric was on the varsity trapshooting team at Apple Valley High School his junior year and Burnsville High School his senior year.
“I fell in love with trapshooting in the Boy Scouts,” Eric said. “My mom would buy tickets at the shotgun range and would sit in a lounge chair with a book and some bug spray and hand out the tickets. The range was the only place I wanted to be.”
Eric’s mom was the first in the Gunderson family to purchase her own Browning Citori 725; she worked many hours of overtime at her nursing job to buy Eric one as well so that he could continue improving as a competitive shooter.
“I mainly shoot trap during the summer,” Eric added. “I go to different cities in Minnesota and other states, including Iowa and Illinois, and compete against shooters of all ages.”
Eric will be going to the 120th Grand American World Trapshooting Championships later in July and the first part of August at the World Shooting & Recreational Complex in Sparta, Illinois. The Grand American attracts professional shooters from around the world and is the largest shooting event of its kind.
Eric is also an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). He was awarded his Eagle Scout medal and badge in 2017, receiving seven Eagle Palms in the process by earning more than the required 21 merit badges. Becoming an Eagle Scout entails undergoing a rigorous review process—and only four percent of Boy Scouts earn the prestigious designation. Eric resides with his parents and Cooper in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
Eric Gunderson • Q & A
Why did you choose education as your career path?
I chose Inver Hills because my mom went to this institution back in the day. She was able to pursue her dream of being a nurse. She recommended Inver Hills because she absolutely LOVED this school and thought it would be good for me.
What advice would you give students thinking about becoming teachers?
Start by getting as much experience as you can to make sure that you want to become a teacher. It doesn’t matter where you get this experience, whether it’s in your job or in an actual classroom. The more experience you get, the easier time you will have in determining if you really want to become a teacher.
Three words that describe you as a college student:
PERSEVERING. EASYGOING. OUTGOING.
What is one thing every education student should know?
Every education student should remember that you will be teaching the children who will control the future. It is your job to make sure that they have the knowledge to be successful in life.
What have you learned so far about the teaching profession that has surprised you?
I have learned that A LOT of planning goes into becoming a successful teacher. You need to be able to adapt at a minute’s notice if your plan doesn’t work out. You need to plan a couple weeks ahead to make sure that you can fit everything in.
What attributes do you have that will make you a successful teacher?
I am a very easygoing person. I am the type of person who plans to make sure that everything can get done. I also have the ability to change plans at a moment’s notice in case something goes wrong. I absolutely love children. I want to make sure that they have the knowledge they need to be successful in the future.
One word that describes your experience at Inver Hills:
Eric Gunderson • 12 Answers
- Favorite sport or physical activity: Trapshooting
- Place you would most like to visit: Tokyo, Japan
- The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Achieving Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts
- Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Invest 2) Spend wisely 3) Plan for the future
- Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Don’t really watch TV anymore. However, I love watching Food Network whenever I’m eating dinner.
- Best movie you’ve seen lately: SAW franchise (1–8)
- One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Be a successful elementary school teacher
- Your national mammal if you were your own country: Bat—I’m a huge fan of Batman.
- Dream occupation: Elementary school teacher
- Person you would most like to meet: My future wife
- Skill you would most like to learn and master: Influence children’s decisions that affect their future
- Most important issue or problem facing humankind: World peace
Learn more about Education Foundations at Inver Hills by contacting:
Other degree options in Education at Inver Hills…
Special Education Foundations Transfer Pathway A.S. Degree ¹
The Special Education Foundations Transfer Pathway A.S. offers students a powerful option: the opportunity to complete an Associate of Science degree with course credits that directly transfer to designated special education bachelor’s degree programs at Minnesota State universities. The curriculum has been specifically designed so that students completing the pathway degree and transferring to one of the seven Minnesota State universities ² enter the university with junior-year status. All courses in the Transfer Pathway associate degree will directly transfer and apply to the designated bachelor’s degree programs in a related field.
Elementary Education Foundations Transfer Pathway A.S. Degree ¹
The Elementary Education Foundations Transfer Pathway A.S. offers students a powerful option: the opportunity to complete an Associate of Science degree with course credits that directly transfer to designated Elementary Education bachelor’s degree programs at Minnesota State universities. The curriculum has been specifically designed so that students completing the pathway degree and transferring to one of the seven Minnesota State universities ² enter the university with junior-year status. All courses in the Transfer Pathway associate degree will directly transfer and apply to the designated bachelor’s degree programs in a related field.
¹ This program has been submitted for approval to Minnesota State as well as the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB). Students may take the required courses and once approved may officially declare the program. Prior to receiving these final approvals four-year institutions may review coursework on a case-by-case basis.
² Universities within the Minnesota State system include:
- Bemidji State University
- Metropolitan State University
- Minnesota State University, Mankato
- Minnesota State University, Moorhead
- Southwest Minnesota State University
- St. Cloud State University
- Winona State University