Eric Stoudnour has been teaching at Altoona Area High School for over 25 years. As a chemistry teacher, he’s been showing teens the wonders of science and as a teacher always looking for new ways to inspire his students, he is one of the first adopters of the Inventionland Institute Curriculum. He doesn’t just offer run-of-the-mill science classes, either…he’s also offered courses based around forensics. Let’s get to know a little more about Mr. Stoudnour, October’s Inventionland Institute Teacher of the Month.
ILI: How long have you been teaching the Inventionland Institute Curriculum?
ES: I started teaching with Inventionland Institute in mid-January of 2018.
ILI: What do you find most interesting about the curriculum?
ES: I find the real-life applications fascinating. It gives the students a real-world problem to solve from inception to a working prototype. The diverse amount of different traditionally-taught disciplines that this curriculum touches on is amazing. Anything from science, math, communication, marketing, advertising, engineering, prototyping, business, research, development and so much more.
ILI: What inspired you to start teaching?
ES: I was studying to become a physician in college when I took a job tutoring other people at Penn State University. At the same time, I got involved with coaching track (pole vaulting) back at my old high school. I found that I loved it! This was followed by a comment from my father who gave me some of the best advice I ever received. He said, “Make sure you love your job because you spend most of your time doing it for a large part of your lifetime.” And that made the difference in why I teach now! I do love my job!
ILI: What’s the best advice you can give to other teachers at the start of the school year?
ES: Be open-minded and positive with your students. They bring such pure energy, raw enthusiasm and inspiration into the classroom. Sometimes it’s masked behind looks of disinterest and a bit of attitude, but don’t be fooled because they all want to be inspired and successful. It’s our job to help them find it, bring it out of them, and help shape them into a success.
ILI: What’s the best advice you can give to students at the beginning of the school year?
ES: I am here to help you achieve greatness. Some of you may not know what you are capable of yet or even believe in yourself. But you will! It is my job to do this with you. I will do whatever it takes to help you. What I ask of you is to bring a positive attitude and an open mind and we will achieve greatness together.
ILI: Most memorable experience about the ILI curriculum?
ES: The most memorable experience was the cultivation of the course in the competition last spring. It was wonderful to come to Pittsburgh with our students and my co-teacher Frank Harpster. After three and a half months of work, it was a humbling experience to be with all of these talented people from such a vast array of different school districts and business disciplines.
ILI: Do you run any extracurricular activities or clubs?
ES: Over the past 25 years of teaching, I have coached football, wrestling, track, weightlifting, and martial arts. It’s very rewarding to work with kids outside of school in a different environment. It really helps in understanding them better and working with them.
ILI: What area of study, outside of chemistry, do you think is the most interesting?
ES: After teaching various chemistry courses every year for 25 years, I have also developed an interest in this new Inventionland Institute curriculum. I’m also writing a real estate investing curriculum. Both of these areas interest me greatly!
ILI: Tell us about yourself: Where did you go to school? Any hobbies you’d like to share?
ES: I attended Penn State University and still go to many sporting events there especially football and wrestling events. I have a real estate investing business that I have run for the last 20 years. I’m currently writing a book with my kids on teaching young people how to get started and involved with investing in real estate. I love to travel and have gone cross country several times with my wife Kelli and two kids, Taylor and Hunter. I am lucky enough to work with my wife every day as she teaches across the hall from me.
Last words…for everyone out there with something to share…TEACH! It is so rewarding!