Chas Zachar Heads to Hawaii with Teach For America

Chas Zachar Heads to Hawaii with Teach For America

MUM student Chas Zachar

Teaching at Cardinal High School in Eldon, Iowa

With his younger brother at his high school graduation

Chas Zachar, a native of Arizona, came to MUM because he became interested in learning the Transcendental Meditation®technique. As a former Waldorf school student, he was also interested in alternative education.

Chas enjoyed science, especially biology, and considered majoring in sustainable living, but decided to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a teacher. “I had a great experience working with the education professors here,” said Chas. “In my second education class, I was already leading lessons at Maharishi School.”

He also gained experience teaching in a high school 20 miles from Fairfield. Chas is graduating this June with an undergraduate degree in education and a certification in special education. “My biggest takeaway was Consciousness-Based education, so I try to utilize the universal principles of Consciousness-Based education whenever I can,” he said.

Chas applied to Teach For America (TFA), a national program that recruits teachers to work in underserved areas, and was one of the 10 percent of applicants accepted. He was also able to get placed in Hawaii, which is one of the most popular locations and therefore very competitive.

This fall he will head to Kona on the Big Island to teach high school science, math, and English. As part of the program, he has also been accepted into graduate school, and at the end of his two-year commitment he will have earned a master’s degree in education.

“We’re very proud of what Chas has accomplished,” said Paula Armstrong, chair of the Department of Education. “We know he has what it takes to be an outstanding teacher and have a powerful impact on his students, and we look forward to even greater success as his career unfolds.”

Chas says that people at Teach For America are intrigued by MUM and its unique approach to education. “The cutting-edge principles TFA is talking about are part of Consciousness-Based education, and have been here the whole time.”

Watch a video of Chas talking about his MUM experience here.

MUM Alumnus Wins Four Awards at Iowa Motion Picture Event

MUM Alumnus Wins Four Awards at Iowa Motion Picture Event

Writer/director Gregor Kresal at the Iowa Motion Picture Association’s 2017 awards

Directing on the set in Slovenia

Lead actor Joey Maida on set in Slovenia

The poster for 8 ½ Circles

A short film by Gregor Kresal, a graduate of the David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts, won four awards in April at the Iowa Motion Picture Association’s annual awards ceremony, including the top award for cinematography and three Awards of Achievement for editing, soundtrack, and long-form live-action entertainment.

His film, titled 8 1/2 Circles, is a semi-autobiographical psychological drama about a professional mountain climber who becomes so obsessed with an expedition in Pakistan that he loses interest in day-to-day life. The film is loosely based on Gregor’s life as a professional mountain climber, and is about why he stopped climbing mountains after 25 years.

“The practice of Transcendental Meditation has been very helpful in discovering and reconnecting with my personal story,” Gregor said. “It uncovered many suppressed feelings I had not dealt with because of the trauma I experienced due to losing so many friends to mountaineering accidents.” He also said the David Lynch program played an important part in the success of 8 ½ Circles by connecting him with a great crew to work with.

The film was shot in Fairfield, Iowa, the mountains of Slovenia, and on the high-altitude glaciers around Europe’s highest mountain — Mt. Blanc, in France. The film uses actors from around Fairfield and from Slovenia, as well as Joey Maida from California in the lead male role.

Gregor has also collected numerous other awards, including the first prize at the Alpi Giulie Cinema in Trieste, Italy, the Seven Summits Award at the Mountain Films Awards, the Award of Excellence at the Headline International Film Festival, and Platinum Winner at the International Independent Film Awards. Gregor is currently in a pre-production phase of turning his 32-minute film into a full-length feature.

How to Craft Your Career — and Your Life:  Free Online Course

How to Craft Your Career — and Your Life: Free Online Course

Steve Langerud

With MUM alumnus Troy Van Beek at Leadership Iowa

Speaking at Iowa Association of Business and Industry

Are you interested in many different things? Are you pretty good at a lot of them? Do you sometimes have trouble deciding what direction to pursue?

Then you may want to take a look at a new free online course titled Crafting a Life of Meaning, Significance, and Service.

Taught by Steve Langerud, a nationally recognized workplace culture strategist and consultant, the course offers a simple framework for how to identify, articulate, and act on your purpose.

“The course is for anyone who likes too many things, is good at too many things, and really doesn’t want to be pinned down to just one option — which seems to be most of us,” Steve says. “The fact is that our work matters. Finding meaningful professional and personal purpose drives our connection to others and contribution to the world. Understanding that this purpose is not just within our careers but across our lives is key.”

During the past 25 years, Steve has worked with over 15,000 people to discover and develop their purpose, identify their capacities, and guide their personal, professional, and organization development strategy. He is a contributor to media, including MarketWatch, Fast Company, New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, and Time magazine on issues of workplace and professional and career development.

“Anyone seeking personal and dynamic attention for their own growth, or that of their organization, should seek Steve’s insight and advice,” said a CEO from Cedar Falls, Iowa.

“I cannot think of a person more readily willing to help students pursue career opportunities, whether it be internships or full-time positions, than Steve,” said a college senior from Indianapolis, Indiana. “Steve knows how to highlight people’s strengths and transform them from students to highly qualified professionals.”

The context for Steve’s work comes from experiences as an archaeologist, street performer, carpenter, and president of a bicycle company. Prior to coming to MUM, Steve worked at Grinnell College (where he was dean of experiential education), the University of Iowa Law School (where he was assistant dean), and DePauw University (where he was director of professional development). He currently works as dean of Admissions at MUM. Steve also offers free career coaching to MUM alumni, including career goal setting, skills assessment, and job search strategies.

“I have learned that we know a lot about ourselves and little about where we can have a life and career that matches our needs,” Steve says. “Unfortunately, the best advice most people get is to ‘follow your passion,’ which is simply too vague and unhelpful. First you have to identify those things that matter most to you, then discover where people get paid to do those things — often a big surprise — and, finally, make a plan to act on your needs. When you focus on purpose, you can focus your needs in more meaningful and actionable ways.”

Find out more and watch an introductory video of Steve’s course here.