On April 22nd, the RCPD hosted its forty-fourth Annual Awards and Appreciation Reception in the MSU Union Ballroom. Hundreds of guests gathered to celebrate exceptional students, staff and faculty, generous donors, and well-deserving award and scholarship recipients. Among the many recipients, a former Spartan and Lansing native, Dr. Christopher Dunckle, was honored as RCPD’s new “Outstanding Alumnus” in light of his accomplishments at MSU and beyond.
By the end of his time at MSU in 2007, Chris earned two undergraduate degrees; Physics, Math, and a minor in Secondary Education, earning nearly all 4.0 grades. He devoted his time to many extracurricular activities as President of the MSU Tower Guard Organization, a member of the Mortar Board Honor Society, and a member of the Men’s Glee Club. He immersed himself in new cultures during his time studying abroad in Russia with the help of the Cole International Study Abroad Scholarship. He also found the time to be a Physics Teaching Assistant and worked for the RCPD as an Electronic Text Manager from 2003-2005.
Christopher’s drive for success didn’t stop after undergraduate graduation but accelerated. After leaving Spartan Country, he journeyed to the University of California-Irvine where he received a two-year National Science Foundation grant to earn his Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Physics. His efforts outside of the classroom continued at UCI as well. He was the President, Vice President, and Council Member of the UCI Associated Graduate Students, as well as a Graduate Student Researcher. He led several higher education policy initiatives at both state and federal levels. Inside and outside the classroom, Christopher exemplified what it means to have a Spartan’s Will.
At Intel Corporation in Hillsboro, Oregon, Christopher focuses on developing cutting-edge processes in microchip production as the Senior Process Engineer. This highly technical responsibility requires him to apply both classroom and life skills to prioritize, maintain focus and balance, and complete goals in a demanding and prestigious environment.
As we see Dr. Dunckle presently with all of his success, it can be hard to imagine the struggle and hardship through his journey. RCPD was there with support that helped him persist, grow, and learn to thrive despite significant invisible challenges.
His former RCPD Specialist, John Pedraza, said, “His accomplishments give meaning to Spartans Will; he defined his disability, successfully navigated the complications of living with a mental health disability, and chose to use his abilities to thrive and flourish.” His story shares a lesson about persevering and what it means to embody a Spartan’s Will.