Luke Loboda is a 2004 graduate of Ashland University and the Ashbrook Scholar Program. Luke currently is employed as a social studies teacher at Upper St. Clair High School in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania where he teaches Civics and World Geography to 9th graders and Law to 12th graders. He is also the coach of the 7th grade football team. Since graduating with his undergraduate degree, Luke has completed a Master’s degree in American History and Government from Ashland University.
HOW HAS YOUR EDUCATION IN THE ASHBROOK SCHOLAR PROGRAM IMPACTED YOUR CAREER?
“The Scholar Program led me into classes at Ashland that provided me with a serious challenge and forced me to think critically. The Scholar Program is responsible for teaching me how to construct an argument and provide written and verbal defenses of it. The conversations that I had with my fellow Ashbrook Scholars were just as influential in molding my ability to think critically as my classes were. The friendships with fellow Ashbrook Scholars have lasted beyond college, and our conversations still have a level of seriousness and depth which is rare to find elsewhere.”
HOW HAS YOUR EDUCATION IN THE ASHBROOK SCHOLAR PROGRAM SET YOU APART FROM YOUR PEERS?
“The program helped me acquire a focus on large philosophical questions as a teacher. For example, my students study the Declaration of Independence as ‘an expression of the American mind.’ We analyze the political philosophy of the Declaration and its assertion that human equality is an equality of rights rather than of equal ‘outcome.’
“I believe that one of my most important tasks as a civics teacher is to teach students the meaning of the self-evident truths of America’s Founding. Without this understanding, students have little basis from which to judge how our government works. Further, they will not notice that most conflict in American history and politics revolves around the interpretation of these truths.”
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ATTEND ASHLAND UNIVERSITY?
“To be quite honest, I was probably going to attend a different school until I had my interview with Dr. Schramm. That meeting left me feeling challenged and with a sense that there was something special about the University and the Scholar Program. I knew the high expectations and academic seriousness would make me a stronger person.”
DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE WRITING YOUR ASHBROOK THESIS.
“Writing my thesis for the Ashbrook Scholar Program was a wonderful culminating experience for me. My thesis was on the radical Islamic philosopher Sayyid Qutb. I began wanting to do some analysis of Islam and democracy. However, Dr. Schramm mentioned an article on Qutb to me and I decided to focus my project on him. I learned a great deal about Islam and it has molded the way that I speak to my students about the war on radical Islam. I don’t mean to brag, but I have even discovered that a number of college courses include my thesis as a part of their class syllabus! It is rewarding to know that others are still reading it.”