Debating where to attend college wasn’t an issue for Kyle Hammer. The Eveleth, Minn., native knew he wanted to attend Winona State University because it’s the only institution in Minnesota that offers a major in Business Education.

“The education program has both fantastic professors and a unique program in which you get a significant amount of time working with and being around real students,” he said.

The real-world teaching experience provided through WSU’s Business Education program is one of its greatest attributes, said Hammer. Students volunteer as tutors in an after-school program at a local housing development, attend classes housed in local high schools, complete classroom observation in a number of courses, and network with teachers in the field.

“I’ve been provided the opportunity to work with and be around students for a significant amount of time before student teaching even began,” he said. “I’ve learned teaching strategies and classroom management strategies, both positive and negative, that I can use or avoid in my own career.”

Hammer is currently student-teaching at La Crescent-Hokah Secondary, which has given him firsthand experience running a classroom. This placement also led to the opportunity to serve as a long-term substitute teacher at the school this year, since he already has a previous bachelor’s degree.

“I’ve been able to do everything—design curriculum and assessments, grade student work, manage the classroom with the support of my supervising teacher,” he said. “Being fully in charge of my own classroom before graduating is an invaluable experience.”

Hammer, who was selected as the Marketing Business Information Technology Education (MBITE) Outstanding Student at WSU, emphasized the support that WSU faculty provided throughout his journey.

Hammer said, “Dr. Dana Brigson has been a constant source of information and positivity since before I even officially enrolled. She’s gone above and beyond to help me in every sense as an advisor, professor and person. I’m excited to stay in touch with her and glad to have been her student.”

Following graduation, Hammer will seek job placement in the Twin Cities area, where he hopes to instruct high school students. He said that the real-world teaching opportunities offered to him during his time at WSU has greatly impacted him.

“Getting to know the students and having them get to know me has been the best experience,” said Hammer. “This allows me to cater my teaching and content to the students’ lives, so the content can connect with them.”

WSU Spring Commencement Ceremonies will take place Friday, May 4, in McCown Gymnasium on the Winona campus. The 9 a.m. ceremony will feature the College of Business and College of Science and Engineering. The 12:30 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts. The 4 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

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