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Frank Jaeckle '08

Unexpected Directions

MA in Mathematics

By all respects, Frank Jaeckle ’08 was already an accomplished academic before deciding to pursue a graduate degree in Mathematics at Brockport. A 1975 graduate of Cornell University, Frank went on to study at Juilliard and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Iowa. His career as a musician and instructor brought him to teaching positions in Iowa, Alabama, Wisconsin and Tennessee.

But an injury brought an end to Frank’s music career. Looking for a new direction, he began studying mathematics and worked briefly as a writer before earning a master’s degree in Computer Science from George Mason University.

Gainfully employed and working in software support, Frank wanted more. “I missed teaching,” he says. “I wanted a credential that would enable me to teach part-time. Brockport offered the Mathematics degree I was seeking at an affordable price, and the hours of instruction are well-suited for students who work full-time.”

Still, going back to school was not an easy decision. “As an older student, in my fifties, I was initially apprehensive about how I would fit into the college scene. But the environment turned out to be very congenial and I met many wonderful people in the classroom.”

He also felt the familiar spark of higher education. “Math classes can get a little intense, but I enjoyed learning to think about things in new ways.” One professor who stands out for Frank was Dr. Howard Skogman. “I always enjoyed my classes with him,” he says. “He found joy in the subject matter. I had many good conversations with him that helped me see how I would like to approach my own teaching.”

Perhaps most importantly, Brockport gave Frank an opportunity to do what he loves. “I taught math for one semester as a part-time lecturer. It was an honor and privilege that I may enjoy again if circumstances permit.” And while Frank is not currently in front of a classroom, he regularly sees the value in graduate work. “Even when I’m not doing math per se, the mathematical modes of thinking inform my work in software as well as my extracurricular interest in economics.”

When asked what advice he might have for current or future students, Frank offers, “Life is full of surprises and takes us in unexpected directions. So take full advantage of your college years to broaden your skills. Even if you know exactly what you want to do, it’s a good idea to have a Plan B.”

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