Stephanie Riese ‘09

  • Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012

Hometown: Monroe, Wisconsin

Notable: An English major while attending, Ms. Riese graduated Magna Cum Laude, and is a Graduate of the Honors Program. She’s currently off the coast of Japan, on board the USS George Washington.

“I work for NCPACE (Navy College Program for Afloat College Education) which provides sailors with college classes aboard naval ships at sea. Most of the classes are basics – Math, English, History, Business, etc. – but there are upper level and specific classes offered as well. I teach college writing classes, basic classes everyone needs for their degree.

“I chose to teach for the Navy for several reasons. First, it’s a very unique and challenging environment in which to hold a regular college writing class. The idea intrigued me far more than a standard college setting. Second, I wanted to provide our country’s sailors with the opportunity to take quality college classes while they’re serving, setting them up for a solid future when they end their military service. And third, this was my way of serving our country, my way of saying thank you to the men and women who make the sacrifices to defend our nation.

“This is the best teaching job in the world because it’s rewarding on so many levels. Students come up to me and tell me how things they learn in class impact their day-to-day jobs and Navy careers, how they do better on advancement exams and are accepted to officer school because of the fine quality of their application packages, that they are accepted to a university they’ve always dreamed of attending, all because of the NCPACE classes they are able to take on deployment. My job is worth every struggle and challenge if even one student comes and says, ‘I’ve always struggled with the use of semi-colons, but now I know how to use them perfectly every time.’

“The job is challenging because classes have to work around the ship’s functions. For example, on aircraft carriers, flight operations run almost 24 hours a day, which means there are catapults launching aircraft off the flight deck directly above the classroom. Every time a plane launches, I have to stop talking for about five seconds until the deafening roar subsides. Also, the ships run drills frequently, to maintain fighting readiness. A drill could be scheduled or it could be a surprise. When they’re called, class has to be canceled and held another time because the students are required to man their stations.

“I never expected to find myself teaching. I had no desire to stand in front of a classroom as a career, and that didn’t change when I arrived at Edgewood College. As a freshman, I was asked to be a Writing Tutor in the Writing Center, and I accepted. There I met Angela Woodward, who completely changed my attitude about teaching. For the first two years I worked with her, I told Angela that I hated the idea of teaching, although I loved being a tutor. Finally one day, she said, ‘You like tutoring? You realize you’re teaching, right?’ What a revelation! From that day on, I didn’t plan to teach, but I didn’t rule out the idea. When I came across the NCPACE job, I applied with no hesitation. If tutoring at Edgewood College was so much fun, how much better would teaching writing, my passion, be?”