Alumni Highlight: Marie (Grupczynski) Espin

Marie Espin

Alumni Highlight: Marie (Grupczynski) Espin

Marie Espin

About Marie

  • ’87 BS Education

What drew you to pursuing a career in education and why did you choose the University of Nevada, Reno, and the College of Education & Human Development? 

Being the first in my family to go to college I wanted to be close to home, receive an excellent education, and have the support from my family and friends - UNR was the perfect fit. What drew me to a career in education was the two things that I truly love, kids and math. What better job than to become a math teacher?

What were your favorite traditions at UNR? 

College diploma

I loved being part of the Greek life (Alpha Chi Omega) and all of their traditions.

But, I would have to say some of my favorite traditions were the tailgate parties, the football games, and then heading to the Wall afterwards to celebrate our victory.

How did your education in the College of Education & Human Development contribute to your career and life journey? 

I had many amazing professors that shared their love of education with me during my time at UNR. The support, the discussions, the projects, the practicums, the group study sessions, and the feedback I received from my student teaching are the reasons I am the teacher I am today.

Having a career in education allowed me to be there for my own children. I was home with them during the holidays, summer vacation, and afterschool. I was there to help with homework, go to their activities and take them on memorable vacations.

The College of Education gave me the best of both worlds, a career that I love and time with my family.

What are you most proud of in your professional life? 

My entire career has been spent at my alma mater, Sparks High!

I started my career at Sparks in January of 1994 and I am planning to retire in 2023, if all goes well. During this time I have been a mentor, advisor, leader, confidant, and some have said spirit week dress-up days queen. I have seen many changes over the years but the one thing that will never change is my pride in Sparks High. I have been blessed to be able to do what I love at the school that I love! Once a Railroader always a Railroader!

What advice would you give to students following in your footsteps today? 

Love what you do - be passionate - show that you care - be flexible - be a role model - understand that you will make mistakes and that's ok, learn from them.

Most importantly - give the students in your class the education that you would want your own children to receive!

What has been a recent meaningful moment for you in your teaching? We are calling these “Moments that Matter”.  

Why I am a teacher binder with notes

There is nothing better than when a student thanks you because they "get it". I have had students tell me they have hated math until my class. I was at my sons graduation when a former student approached me to tell me that he was perusing a degree in math (something he never would of dreamed of doing) but because of my class and the passion I showed he fell in love with math. I have a binder of all the notes and thank yous' I have received over the years, a practice that I would encourage every new teacher to start. When I'm having a bad day I read through them, they remind me - this is why I do it, why I am a teacher. These are the moments you live for - the "Moments that Matter."

COEHD Alumni Highlight

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Student on the front lawn of the William Raggio Building
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