Excellence in Academia

Alumna Profile: Dr. Cheryl Schrader by Andrew Schrader

 

Cheryl Schrader

Valpo Alumna and Missouri Science and Technology Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Schrader

Valparaiso University's College of Engineering has seen many gifted and enterprising students grace its classrooms. One such student, Dr. Cheryl Bunnett Schrader, was recently appointed as Chancellor of the Missouri University of Science and Technology in April, 2012. Dr. Schrader is not only an accomplished electrical engineer (EE '84), producing award-winning research in systems and control, but she also has dedicated her life towards mentoring students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, andmathematics. During her long-standing engineering career, Dr. Schrader has been recognized as one of "Idaho's Women Making History", as one of the "150 most influential people of Valparaiso University", and as the "World's Best Mom" according to her two children Andrew (myself) and Ella. As her son, I have had the privilege of being under the tutelage of my mom, Dr. Schrader, and have witnessed first hand her thriving engineering career. I also know that the roots of that career are planted firmly within the Valparaiso University College ofEngineering.

Dr. Schrader was born in Batavia, Illinois on September 23, 1962 to Lutheran pastor Robert Bunnett and wife Florence Bunnett.  She was the second of three children, the eldest being her brother Robert Bunnett (EE '83) and her younger sister Tami Bunnett. Although her family moved from the Chicago area to Los Angeles one week after her high school graduation, Dr.Schrader decided to attend Valparaiso University in the fall. One of the reasons Dr. Schrader was drawn to Valparaiso University was the unique blend of liberal arts and professions that the university offered her. She claims that the appeal of Valparaiso University was, "...the size, small enough for personal attention, while also offering the opportunity to participate in the Christ College program ... it combined both the liberal arts and humanities with engineering." This combination made Valparaiso University stand out because,"in a lot of institutions one specialty or the other gets lost." Dr. Schrader capitalized on this opportunity by graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering partnered with Christ College associate honors in1984. While attending Valparaiso University, she also met my dad, her husband Jeffrey Schrader (Finance, '84), and the two were married in 1986. Dr. Schrader continued her education by earning both a Masters degree ('87) and Doctorate degree ('91) in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. My dad also earned his J.D. degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Schrader's career has taken her across the United States and to multiple countries. She began her engineering vocation by interning and consulting at both McDonnell Douglas Aeronautics and Chimera Research. She also served briefly as an instructor at Valparaiso University ('84-'85) and as an adjunct assistant professor at Rice University ('91). She eventually earned a tenured professorship at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she also served as an Associate Dean for the College of Engineering and the College of Sciences. In 2003, Dr. Schrader was appointed Dean of the College of Engineering at Boise State University where undergraduate admissions increased by 60% under her leadership. She also served as the Associate Vice President of Strategic Research Initiatives at Boise State University before accepting the position of Chancellor at Missouri S&T in 2012. She is the first female chancellor in Missouri S&T's 142 year history.

Dr. Schrader's career path has followed two distinct but parallel paths -- engineering and academia. During high school, Dr. Schrader was interested in mathematics and teaching. After personal deliberation and subsequent conversations with her family, she decided upon acareer in engineering because, "engineering combines my passion for mathematicsand science, along with my pursuits in arts, music, and creativity." Dr.Schrader's commitment to academia also developed during her college experience as a result of the many mentors who devoted their time to counsel her. Dr.Schrader considers herself, "blessed that I had so many mentors along the way and people who took an interest in me and my dreams to help foster my growth."  Throughout her career, Dr. Schrader found mentors who both encouraged and challenged her. Her wonderful experiences with such mentors has greatlycontributed to her love of academia and her passion for assisting students to pursue their own dreams.

Dr. Schrader's experience at ValparaisoUniversity's College of Engineering prepared her for a long and productive career. As a former graduate, Dr. Schrader expects nothing less than the absolute best in the years to come from Valparaiso University Engineering graduates. "I expect Valpo will continue to produce innovative engineers and leaders who are poised to make a difference in this world ... Frankly, I'm counting on them to do that!"

As an observer of my mother's many successes resulting from experiences inValparaiso University Engineering, I also chose to attend this university and am confident that my experiences here will enable me to succeed as well. Dr.Schrader represents true excellence in academia, and is a testament to the success that can be achieved with a Valparaiso University College of Engineering education.


Andrew Schrader

Andrew Schrader (Center): Valpo ME Student and Story Author