Your Future Child’s Favorite First Grade Teacher: Julia Gwizdz

First Grade. What a time to be alive. Between the mandatory naps, Pizza Fridays, and monthly book fairs, it was practically heaven. But let’s not forget the person that truly made it the best year of our lives: our teacher. First grade teachers are truly one of a kind. Not only do they put up with 20+ six year olds for 40 hours a week, but they also somehow manage to teach each and every one how to read and write; a true miracle if there’s ever been one. The world would be much worse off without the species that are First Grade Teachers, and luckily, we’ll never have to know what that’s like. Meet Julia Gwizdz, lover of all things algae, watermelons the size of Pluto, and fortunately for us, teaching tiny humans.

Her Campus: I think by now we have an idea of what you’re studying…but let’s get specific.

Julia Gwizdz: I’m Majoring in Elementary Education with an endorsement in integrated sciences. Basically, that just means that science is the subject that I chose to get all of my pre recs done in.


HC: How did you decide you wanted to hang out with six year olds for the rest of your life?

JG: I was OBSESSED with my elementary school teachers. Ever since first grade I’ve known I’ve wanted to be an elementary school teacher so I could get back into that environment, back into the classroom.


HC: I hear you went to the University of Michigan’s Biological Station (located in Northern Michigan) this summer, how did you hear about it?

JG: When I was younger, my dad always used to take my family there for vacation in the summer. As an alumnus of Michigan, he still goes up every year.


HC: What made you actually want to commit to spending a summer up at the Bio Station?

JG: It’s one of my very favorite places on earth, it always has been. I love being outdoors and I love education, and the Bio Station perfectly brought both of my passions together.


HC: Tell us a little about the application process.

JG: The application for biostation was due in March, but I applied around January. The only pre recs are completion of any two bio classes, or an override from the professor. The application was very straightforward, you really just needed to express why you wanted to go there and what you wanted to learn. They really want you to come; they’re not trying to cut anyone.


HC: What was the campus like?

JG: There were about 100 people there, and everyone takes two classes during the two months (from the end of June to the end of August). We all stay in tin-can cabins, which made it feel more like camp than anything. We also spend most of our time outside. Only an hour or two out of the daily nine hours of class is spent in a classroom, the rest of it we’re just standing around in some bog or something.


HC: What classes did you take?

JG: Limnology, which is a fancy word for freshwater ecology. I also took Algae. Best. Class. Ever.


HC: What are other classes students can take there?

JG: They offer a ton: Botany, General Ecology, Insects, Mammalogy, and Forest Ecosystems are just a few. They even offer several during the Spring Semester.


HC: What was your favorite part of the Bio Station?

JG: Being around so many people that like to do the same things. And having such casual, but still respectful relationships with my professors. Trust me, they were very cool.


HC: How has your semester at the Bio Station impacted your experience here at U of M?

JG: I got to take my favorite class ever. And I made a ton of amazing, really chill friends. I also have genuine relationships with my professors now, something I’ve never had before.


If you’re ready to fall in love with Algae the way Julia did, check out the Biological Station at the following link: If you’re not feeling all the Bio and want a little more Enviro or even Humanities, check out U of M’s Camp Davis, located in Jackson, Wyoming ( ). No matter what your major is, you will always be able to find a home away from home at one of Michigan’s off campus teaching facilities, so start your applications today!