Derek Fischer didn’t know he wanted to be a teacher, but his students really enjoy the classes where he dives into controversial questions, such as, “Is a hotdog a sandwich?” and, “Is pizza a vegetable?” He said, “I took a pretty indirect route to teaching. While I did teaching as my job in the Marines I went the route of Dietetics when I got to BSU and fell in love with the subject area.” Fischer is a 2016 Ball State Graduate, with a BA in Nutrition and Dietetics, and also holds an MS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Case Western Reserve University.

He says of his undergraduate experience,  “I had so much fun talking with and working with my classmates on projects and trying to think outside the box on how to present information whether it was a research project or a presentation. I felt so encouraged by my professors that I would tell my wife, (fellow Ball State alum, Kayla Fischer) that I wished there was a job where I could continue finding fun engaging ways to teach and present nutrition to people.” He landed a job as a FACS teacher, in Greenwood, IN, where he teaches, Nutrition and Wellness and Advanced Nutrition and Wellness.

Person watering plantsThis coming school year, Fischer is introducing a class of his own design called Food Science and Agriculture. The course dovetails with his sponsorship of the garden club, with Construction Trades teacher Allan Figy.  Fischer said, “We were overwhelmed to have over 20 students regularly attending club meetings last year. As the club grew we pursued a number of grants the McDonalds MAC Grant ($500) and the Forum Credit Union Grant ($1200). We just finished our first fundraiser selling plant starts to teachers and families. We set a goal of selling 200 plants and in a week and a half received over 600 orders. We have started filling orders and are using this as an opportunity to teach our club members about principles like germination and maintaining seedlings.”

Fischer says, “From my first moment at Ball State I found a group that understood my intense passion for all things nutrition. I owe so much to each of the professors at BSU especially Dr. Friesen, Mrs. Tunnell, and Mrs. Pike who would listen and work with me whenever I wanted to find a creative way to complete a project or explore a topic that was not exactly what they expected for the assignment. Without that support when it worked and when it didn’t go as planned I don’t think I would have the confidence to explore alternative teaching methods that connect so well with my students.”