From the cubicle to the classroom: Chancellor's Medallion recipient treasures school the second time around

December 15, 2014

Ronnie TrontSometimes life has a way of pushing you in a new direction.

Just ask Ronnie Tront. The former engineering designer was just 15 days away from retirement when she received her layoff notice in 2007. Far from demoralized, Tront took the time off as an opportunity to return to college, she enrolled at University of Michigan-Dearborn to cross something off her bucket list: Earning a degree in elementary education and science, including a teacher certification.

Tront graduated with high distinction  Saturday, earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a focus in integrated science. This is her second degree. This time around, her education had a different meaning.

“It became a passion,” she said. “My life was a lot different. I saw value, not just in grades, but in learning something.”

Coming back to school for a second time, Tront decided to take advantage of the full college experience and get involved in as many ways possible, finding opportunities to merge her love for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with education. This past winter, she was chosen to be a tutor for Professor Patricia Hartshorn’s NSCI-331 Physical Science course.

Off campus, she volunteers with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics and serves as a mentor with U-M’s Michigan Engineering Zone (MEZ) in Detroit. Using her experience from engineering and design, especially in the area of electronics, Tront works with local Detroit high schools, sharing her knowledge with the students and helping them prepare for robotics competitions around Michigan.

Tront plans to continue to volunteer with FIRST while looking for ways to further her education, both inside and out of the classroom. She would like to return to University of Michigan-Dearborn in fall 2015 to complete her student teaching, and start a Master’s program. She also has various opportunities lined up to work in the classroom as a substitute teacher. She would like to eventually work as a computer or STEM teacher in an elementary school.

“I’ve had many opportunities to have been lucky to volunteer for things I’ve been passionate about and love.” she said. “I don’t see myself stopping. I don’t see a time for myself not volunteering, not teaching, not continuing education.”

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