top of page

Dr. Travis Shutz isn’t your run-of-the-mill elementary school teacher. An East Asia Historian and SUNY Empire State College Lecturer whose research focuses on “transregional maritime violence,” Dr. Shutz puts his vast knowledge base to the test by offering students invaluable cultural and language enrichment programs. “Last month we did a program that was more culture and languagebased,” he explains. “We basically just printed out 3D coins for them, and these 3D rabbit coins, we had them assemble them in class just like, ‘Here you go, at the end of the day, you’re gonna have this.’” The use of 3D printing in his enrichment programs indicates his goal to introduce students to new technological solutions.

Raider of the Language Arts

“My goal was to, one, give them those actual technological skills in 3D printing, but also a little bit more cultural, you know, knowledge about Chinese holidays,” he explains. China has a permanent spot in Dr. Shutz’s heart. He began as an undergraduate major in philosophy with a minor in Chinese studies, and his love of the language carried him to the University of Buffalo and Binghamton University to finish his graduate and doctoral work in history. He’s lived in mainland China, as well. Following the 2008 recession and facing scarce job prospects, Dr. Shutz went to work for the Council on International Education Exchange and taught English in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.

“At that point, I didn’t know history or any direction beyond Chinese studies, in learning the language to actually get proficient enough to use it professionally,” he explains. “The first MA was just learning the language, right? The second one was that you need something more than just language skills. I’ve been a history nerd since I was a kid, and it just kind of all came together.”


Dr. Shutz’s time in China wasn’t his first grand adventure. Straight out of high school, he joined the army for four years as a member of the 82nd airborne division. “Then after getting out of the military,” he says, “I went to college. It was a little different, where I was at in life, than the average freshman student.” By all accounts, the academic environment helped him thrive after the regimented military structure. “It helped me transition out of the military,” he says, “because there’s no lag time or anything like that. It was easy to stay motivated and stay disciplined whenever it came to classes and that.”


Right now, he’s at the helm of the special education room. He was a fantastic draft pick when the district snatched him up in the Fall of 2021. He was teaching at a university in New York at the time. For Dr. Shutz, knowing so many different people across the communities of New Berlin and Waverly has reconnected him with a place where he hadn’t lived for the past few years. “It’s nice to actually give back a little bit,” he says of Waverly, a place he only knew about through their holiday tournament when he was a child. “When I was a little kid, my great uncle would bring us here to get ice cream over by the high school. It used to be a well-known ice cream shop,” he reminisces. Funny how those simple visits to the ice cream shop have evolved into an illustrious career with a stopover back ‘round home for the time being.


Sadly, Dr. Shutz is departing his role at the school to take a position at California State University in Los Angeles. “Another big move,” he comments. “It’s exciting, you know, new phase. Actual career position in the department of history.” We knew we couldn’t hold back historical greatness for our sake. Wherever he may go, we believe Dr. Shutz will still carry the valuable impressions from the students of Waverly on to new opportunities and fortunate occurrences, even as his impressions on them will change them forever.

I’ve been a history nerd since I was a kid.
bottom of page