Erik Volkman

Rider Profile
HometownLake Villa, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorCurriculum and Instruction
Miles Ridden4380
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The short story of my life is that I was born and raised in the far north suburbs of Chicago, practically Wisconsin. I've been a student at the University of Illinois longer than I really care to admit, first as an undergraduate studying Computer Science and now as a graduate student in Education. My research interests lie primarily in how to improve Computer Science Education, specifically through the improvement of teaching methods and the retention of minority groups. In the end I hope to make just a small positive change in the world. I recently transferred into a Teacher Education program focused on Secondary Mathematics. Through this I hope to be able to teach Computer Science at the high school level. Eventually I would like to go back to school, finish up a PhD and become a Professor, but for now I'd like to take a break from being a student and get a bit more experience in the classroom. Hopefully I can use this time as a teacher to better understand some of the issues that these students face in high school as they decide what fields they wish to study in college. When I'm not being a student, I spend a significant amount of my free time around bikes. Either riding through the countryside, reading about the bicycle adventures of others, or by serving as the Director of Information for the Illini 4000. I consider bicycles to be a vital component of my identity and strive to lead a car-free life.

Personal Statement

When I initially joined the Illini 4000 in the fall of 2008, I didn't think I knew anybody who had had cancer. It was something I heard about on the news and read in the papers, but had never impacted me personally. Through my fundraising efforts for the 2009 trip, I came to see that cancer actually had a much wider spread in my life than I had previously thought. Through talking with relatives and friends, I learned of quite a few people in my life who had known somebody who had cancer, or they themselves had cancer. Combined with recent statistics from the American Cancer Society showing that men have a 1 in 2 chance of developing cancer over the course of their life, while a women have a 1 in 3 chance, has really helped show me that cancer has impacted me and will continue to be an influence in my life as I age. So for all those people I have known who have had cancer, and for all those people who will have it in the future, I ride for you.