It is often said one job leads to another. Maria Yuhas is living proof of that bit of wisdom.
Yuhas grew up in Dunlo, Penn. She received her mechanical engineering degree from the University of Pittsburgh and went to work for Pitt/Des Moines Steel Inc. This job brought her to the Des Moines area and then to rural Winterset in 1993.
In 2002, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. When her oldest son was in elementary school, she became a parent volunteer in his classroom. It was during this time she became interested in teaching.
“I was impressed by what I saw in his classroom, and I realized it was a challenging and rewarding job,” she says. Yuhas enrolled at Simpson College in the night graduate program. After doing her student teaching at Winterset High School, she received her master in the art of teaching secondary education with an emphasis in math and physics. The chemistry and physics position opened up here at Winterset High School, and Yuhas was offered the job. She taught those classes her first year and then became the engineering teacher.
Yuhas is currently teaching intro to engineering design, principles of engineering, digital electronics, and curl engineering and architecture.
“Students are digital citizens,” she says. The district high school PC Lab uses AutoCAD software and serves ninth-12th grade students. She loves giving students the opportunity to see if engineering is their thing.
“Students are first intimidated but then quickly assimilated,” she says. She teaches the basics and a place to start.
“They aren’t tied to particular software,” she says.
A few of her students have been hired by people in the community to do engineering work.
“My students are proud to work for people in the community doing real work,” she says.
Yuhas is the Ivy League teacher sponsor. The Ivy League student volunteers built a house for an elderly Winterset resident, and they are hoping to do interior house painting soon. Yuhas also teaches for the Madison County Career Academy and has some students from other school districts. Next year the district will be offering a new class called computer science and software engineering.
Yuhas was Air Force Association’s Teacher of the year in 2012 for the Rocketry Club. She loves to run and is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
“I love watching kids succeed and do something they didn’t think they could do,” she says.