According to Bay College graduate Chad Leisenring, he was not a student at Bay for very long. He only took classes at the college for a single semester. However, that semester had a significant impact on the course of his college education.
An Escanaba native, Chad graduated from Escanaba Senior High School in 2015. He started college in the fall 2015 semester but was not attending Bay at that point.
"I spent 2 1/2 years studying at the University of Michigan, and then I transferred to Bay for a semester after that to prepare for a secondary education math degree," he said.
As a University of Michigan student, Chad was majoring in computer science. However, he soon began to have second thoughts about this major - due in part to his experiences working at Camp Batawagama in Crystal Falls.
"I really loved working at the camp, and it made me realize how much I wanted to work in education and with students. Because of that, I decided to switch my major from computer science and get my math education certification instead. I transferred to Bay College to knock out some electives and to start working towards my education career," he said.
He was further encouraged to make this change after hearing good things about Bay from other education majors who had attended classes there.
"I knew I wanted to switch into education, and I knew people who had went from Bay College to Northern Michigan University for their education degrees. They had very successful education careers and were very happy with how they were able to go from Bay to Northern Michigan University," Chad said.
After switching his major to secondary education with a minor in computer science, Chad transferred to Bay for the winter 2018 semester. He said this proved to be the right move for him, primarily because of the teachers he studied with.
"I primarily did my education courses with Penney Parmet. Penney was fantastic - she very clearly cared about students and our success, and she was very supportive and knowledgeable. We did what I consider meaningful work under her," he said.
He also appreciated his other teachers at Bay, such as math instructor Spencer Slade.
"I took a lot of the ideas and techniques that Spencer used in class, and I thought about how I could use them in my classroom," Chad said.
While studying at Bay, Chad took both online and in-person classes. He appreciated the flexibility these options created for him. Along with this, he enjoyed running into people he knew as a high school student in Delta County - and meeting new people in his field.
"Being from Escanaba, it was nice to know people in the area. I reconnected with some old friends and acquaintances in my coursework, and I ended up being roommates with some education students from Bay," he said.
Chad transferred from Bay to Northern Michigan University in time for the fall 2018 semester. In May 2019, he earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics there, while his studies have continued beyond that point.
"I got a standard non-educational math degree, per the advice of my advisors. I am just now finishing up my master's in mathematics at NMU," he said.
He aims to graduate with his master's degree in August 2021.
In the meantime, Chad has begun putting his experience with mathematics to use in the working world.
"I am currently a data analyst for DVS Baseball - they're a startup baseball technology company. I'm hoping my career evolves thanks to this real-world math experience. Eventually, I'd love to be in a teaching role in a high school or college in the future," he said.
Chad said he is interested in becoming involved with coaching or volunteering in some capacity to get ready to work with students.
Though he is happy with the way his college education has gone, Chad said that he regrets not going to Bay at an earlier point in his life.
"I had a great experience down in Ann Arbor, but I wish I had gotten some experience at Bay sooner. I wish I had taken advantage of dual enrollment, summer classes, and online classes. All of those things are so helpful to kids who want to go to college affordably while getting a good education," he said.