Lupfer incorporates love of traveling in classroom

Ferdinand Magellan was the first person to travel around the world. Magellan’s journey became global news, as nobody had ever done something like this before. However, history Teacher Elizabeth Lupfer has had a lot of traveling experience around the globe as well throughout most of her life.   

According to Lupfer, her interest in traveling emerged from her family’s experience of visiting different places around the world.

“I have a great aunt who went and worked in China in the 1920’s, so I heard stories about that,” Lupfer said. “I [also] have an uncle who is an entomologist. He studied bugs and he would go around the world collecting beetles, so he would come back with stories [as well].”  

Lupfer said that she first began traveling in her twenties during her time in college. In order to fund her trips, Lupfer would use grants that she received from schools such as University of Illinois and Indiana University, and the grants came from a company known as Academic Enrichment Grants, or AEG, according to Lupfer. In particular, Luper said that she used a Fulbright Hays grant, which is a program that gives grants to teachers to travel abroad for educational purposes.

“There is educational plans for teachers, [as] certain countries and certain companies want to pay for teachers to travel so we develop more curriculum when we come home and teach about those particular countries to our students,” Lupfer said.

According to Lupfer, she has enjoyed many of the destinations that she has visited. One of her favorite places that she has traveled to was the Soviet Union, according to Lupfer.

“I went there when I was young,” Lupfer said. “It was still a dictatorship, so being an American and being in the country and seeing people who really did not have freedom, that left a really big impression on me.”  

In addition, Lupfer said that she has made many memories during her trips around the world. One moment that stands out to her in her traveling was a memorable experience she had when visiting Honduras, according to Lupfer.

“One time I had to travel alone through Honduras, which has a high crime situation,” Lupfer said. “On my travel route with the Hondurans, they all were looking out for me. I felt like I was a little eight year old kid traveling by herself, but everybody just wanted to make sure I was okay.”

According to Terry Jozwik, instructional supervisor of the History Department, Lupfer’s traveling experiences have sparked his own interest in traveling.

“In a trip to Guatemala she studied Mayan culture, and she was also in Peru studying Incan culture,” Jozwik said. “I’ve always wanted to go to Peru to study the Incas or to Mexico to study the Mayans, and maybe someday in retirement I will.”  

Jozwik also said that he has learned from Lupfer’s traveling experiences as well. In particular, one lesson that Jozwik learned is that people are never too old to travel, according to Jozwik.

“Try to be forever young,” Jozwik said. “Sometimes when you get older, you settle and you think maybe traveling would be too challenging. Traveling is not easy, so it’s the idea [to] keep yourself in a good shape and get out there and do it, and no matter how old you are, you’re not too old to see the world.”

According to Librarian Kristen Jacobson, one of Lupfer’s traveling experiences had a large impact on her son. She said that her son was very concerned about the kids in Haiti after the earthquake that occurred in 2010. When Lupfer informed her that the kids needed shoes, Jacobson said that she and her son were eager to help out.

“We went to Target and we got some shoes, and we picked out boys shoes and girls shoes and whatever, and my kid was very excited about this,” Jacobson said. “[Lupfer] is obviously an incredibly kind person to give up her time to do this, but to make that something special for my son and just to make that extra effort was just incredibly thoughtful.”   

According to Saarah Bhaiji, a junior that had Lupfer during her freshman and sophomore year, Lupfer often incorporates her traveling experiences into her teaching.

“Anything that we were doing in World History, she went to that country,” Bhaiji said. “She would integrate it into the powerpoint that she was using and she would [say], ‘This is a picture of me in front of this,’ and she would always have photos, which is crazy – like that is helpful.”

According to Julia Jakubiak, a sophomore that currently has Lupfer for AP European History, Lupfer is not only passionate about traveling, as she also cares about her students as well. For example, Jakubiak says that Lupfer was able to help her out after her grandmother passed away.

“It was really rough for my family,” Jakubiak said. “We had a test that day and I was really stressed out and I wasn’t able to look over my notes, [as] it happened all of a sudden in the middle of the night. She rescheduled my test with me and she talked through it with me, and I walked out feeling a lot better.”  

According to Maddy McGrath, a freshman that currently has Lupfer for World History, Lupfer is a lot different from other teachers. McGrath says that Lupfer’s traveling experiences around the world is what makes her stand out against most teachers.

“I think she has a lot more experience [than other] teachers,” McGrath said. “I think the fact that she has traveled makes her a lot more experienced in history because everything is sort of relatable. I don’t think that she has ever done a unit where she hasn’t been able to relate what we’re discussing [to] one of her travels.”

According to Lupfer, she has learned many valuable lessons from her traveling experiences.

“It gets me out of my own regular life, so I can sort of think a little bit more and have a better perspective on life back here,” Lupfer said. “I [also] learn to appreciate my family and my life better by traveling instead of taking things for granted.”

Lupfer says that she plans to continue traveling around the world, and one place that she hopes to visit soon is India.

“The number one place that I want to go to and I have not visited is Nepal and India,” Lupfer said. “I have not visited India and I want to go before I retire from teaching.”