Loyola University Chicago

Weekend of Excellence

Caleb Steindam

PHOTO: Natalie Battaglia Doctoral candidate Caleb Steindam shares a laugh with his students during a class in Dumbach Hall. "I love the students at Loyola, grads and undergrads alike,” he says. “I don’t see cynicism among the students here; I see passionate, caring people."

Caleb Steindam

Doctoral candidate: EdD in Curriculum and Instruction
Expected graduation: 2016  •  Hometown: Westerville, OH  

For Caleb Steindam, education is everything.

As a doctoral candidate in the School of Education, he knows that strong teachers are essential to help young students reach their goals. That’s why Steindam is heavily involved with Loyola’s teacher preparation program and works with other EdD students to conduct education research.

Here, he talks about his experience in Chicago Public Schools, how his mentors motivate and inspire him, and why he thinks Loyola students are dedicated to making a difference in the world.

What’s your favorite Loyola memory?

My favorite Loyola memories have actually occurred off campus. I work with TLLSC, Loyola’s field-based teacher preparation program, so I’ve had amazing opportunities to teach and learn in Chicago Public Schools as part of my Loyola experience. I’ve heard from many principals and teachers how much they appreciate Loyola’s work with their schools. Those are really proud moments for me.

Talk a little about a professor or mentor who inspired you.

I’ve learned from so many great professors here, it’s hard to choose just one. Ann Marie Ryan has been an inspiring professor and mentor to me. She’s also our program director, and TLLSC would not be what it is without her tireless work and leadership. Another inspiring mentor has been Charles Tocci, who works as a liaison for Loyola’s partnership with Nicholas Senn High School. The two of them have taught me that education is more than what happens in classrooms; it’s a collaborative, community-wide endeavor.

Tell us about your research: what it is, how you got involved, and what you hope to accomplish with it.

TLLSC’s innovative approach to teacher preparation creates exciting research opportunities. My colleague Kelly Ferguson and I have conducted a study exploring how experiences with the program influence teacher candidates’ understandings of the role of culture in teaching and learning. I’m also working with colleagues on research into TLLSC’s multi-institutional partnerships to see how our school and museum partners benefit from our program.

How has your involvement in student organizations or service work helped shape you as a person?

As a Student Development Committee member, helping run the Research Symposium has deepened my enthusiasm for education research and my appreciation for the important work happening throughout the School of Education. It’s hard to describe how service work has shaped me because I come from a service-oriented family, and it’s been fundamental to my values, my identity, and my worldview.

What do you think differentiates Loyola from other universities?

I love the students at Loyola, grads and undergrads alike. I don’t see cynicism among the students here; I see passionate, caring people who believe in the difference they can make. I’m humbled to be a Loyola student and also an instructor to many incredible students dedicated to the work of education.

And finally, what do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?

My life has been full of surprises so far, and I expect it will continue that way. I hope that 10 years from now I’ll still be involved in education work that aligns with my values and beliefs, and I hope to continue to learn and grow through my work.