July 20, 2024

Teaching in the West brings psychology instructor to CEU

From Utah to Tennessee and back to Utah, Tyson Chappell mirrored his love of teaching with the study of the human brain.

This archived article was written by: Caitlin Wright

From Utah to Tennessee and back to Utah, Tyson Chappell mirrored his love of teaching with the study of the human brain.
He grew up as a farm boy in Southern Utah, Loa, cutting hay and feeding cows. Attending college had never been pressured by his parents, but Chappell always knew he wanted to attend, that was never a question. Throughout his years in high school, he took some Ed-Net classes then attended a quarter at Snow College, and two years at Weber State before leaving on his mission to Portugal. After returning from his mission, he continued working on his bachelor’s at Weber State with the intent of majoring in psychology.
After taking the required psychology course “theories of personality”, he realized that he hated the philosophy behind human behavior and had no interest in furthering his study of the workings of the mind along those same lines. Psychology hadn’t turned out to be what he expected. Then while in his junior year at Weber State, Chappell took the course “abnormal psychology.” He was totally and completely blown away. He was intrigued and fascinated to learn that our thought patterns and behaviors were directly related with actual chemicals and electrical signals that could alter a person’s understanding of reality. He loved learning about how disruptions in the chemical neruotransmitters and electrical signals of the brain could cause people to have visions and hallucinations that were so real that the person’s perception of reality would be completely altered. It was an entirely new experience and he knew that this was what he wanted to be a part of.
As Chappell became more engrossed in the subject of Neuroscience, he knew that he needed to learn everything he could about the brain. He decided that he wanted to go to graduated school to learn more about neuroscience. This decision found him attending the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis, Tenn. While there, he studied a rodent model to better understand the possible effect of fetal alcohol exposure on the developing human brain.
He graduated one and a half years ago and taught at the Memphis College of Art, and also at Rust College full time. He had applied for several different teaching jobs, and the opportunity to come work at CEU came at an absolutely perfect time. For Chappell and his wife Amber, this was the perfect position and it would be like moving home again.
Even though CEU is one of the smaller colleges, Chappell has always taught in class sizes ranging from 20-30 students. Nevertheless, he is teaching what he loves to teach, and in the position and location he wants to be in.
He says that his biggest accomplishment is being able to teach anatomy, physiology, and biology back in his home tate of Utah. The seven years of trial and struggle that it took for him to get to where he is now, was totally worth the effort. “This job is perfect and ideal. It’s been my goal for a long time.”
In his life now, and even throughout his years in high school and early college, he was never much of a rebel. He characterizes himself as always being “moderate.” Although he was never a rebel, his appearance might have suggested otherwise. Throughout his first two years of college his his look consisted of long shoulder length hair and three earrings.
One of the things that people always have to say about Chappell is that he is honest. He has always been a firm believer in this. He says, “People say I’m pretty honest. If people want to know the truth, I will tell them.”
Chappell has never been compelled to hold a grudge and it has never been hard to forgive someone. The honorable answer he gave was, “I don’t hold grudges at all. I forget things quickly, water off a ducks back. We all just need to get along. There is no reason to discriminate of hate.”
Outside of school and in his spare time, Chappell is an avid photographer. It is likely that he will be seen at the games with a camera, ready to capture still moments forever. “I use it to vent and it keeps me sane.” Also, he enjoys riding motorcycles with his dad and brother.
As far as books go and any favorites, Chappell says, “I haven’t read a non-scientific book for 7 years. In the past, I have really enjoyed Steven King, especially the Dark Tower series. The Da Vinci Code is the one book I have read outside of school books lately.” But this seems to work out pretty well since he loves to read science-related books so much. He enjoys reading them, so he does.
Sci-fi is Chappell’s favorite movie genre. “The Matrix is one of my favorite movies … I love that it deals with our understanding of truth, reality, and how the brain forms our perceptions.” And he thinks it has a pretty good soundtrack too. It consists of a lot of his favored kind of industrial music.
Chappell and his wife met while they were attending Weber State. The rest is history. They have four children. Alexis is six, Zack is four, and the twin boys are two, Drake and Garrett. Where his family is concerned, what he really wants is to be a good father and a good husband. Oftentimes, as all parents do, Chappell wonders and questions if he is teaching them what they need to know through life. Even between the hectic schedules of home life and work, he makes time for his family. These fatherly characteristics are also shown in his teaching. He says, “My students are like my children, even though some may be older than me. I just want to teach them what they need to know to be success in life.”