Student Profile Elementary Education Major

James Boonstoppel
Elementary Education major

International student, senior elementary education major, volleyball line judge and men’s basketball team member James Boonstoppel is a force to be reckoned with. The Australia native came to Mount Mercy from Adelaide, a city of 1.29 million residents in South Australia, after being recruited for the basketball team.

“It’s a great life experience,” Boonstoppel said about living and studying outside of his home country. “It took me away from my culture to live in another country’s culture. I’m learning about the values Americans have. You can learn so much just by talking to different people about where they came from—their values, beliefs, etc.”

For Boonstoppel, juggling basketball, work, and studies takes planning and determination.

“It’s tough, but I just make sure I don’t leave anything for the last minute. There are many sleepless nights.”

Sleepless nights and hard work are worth the unique reward Mount Mercy gives its dedicated students—the chance to be a part of the Professional Development School (PDS) model. The program provides education students the opportunity to apply the theory and content they learn in class directly into the district classroom settings. In turn, K-12 students benefit from additional instruction and support provided by Mount Mercy’s teacher interns.

“My favorite thing about being an education major is the opportunity to teach in a classroom. I believe many kids are being led down the wrong path. I believe if I can help a few kids get onto the right path and create a better future, then I have achieved something meaningful with my life.”

Boonstoppel said he appreciates the opportunities Mount Mercy provides for its students. A picture of Boonstoppel at the University’s Multicultural Fair was featured in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

“Being able to represent my country of Australia was certainly a memorable moment for me.”

Dr. Joe Nguyen, associate professor of chemistry, has also created memorable moments for Boonstoppel, who has focused his education studies on reading and science.

“Dr. Nguyen is awesome to talk to. He provides great examples and chemistry demonstrations every Friday, some of which include fire and explosions.”

In his free time, Boonstoppel enjoys spending time in the gym, playing basketball and spending time with his mates.

After he graduates, he plans to either work as a teacher in the United States or Australia.