After sampling several different majors (Plastics Engineering, Nursing, Computer Science) I finally determined that the common component of all of my favorite classes was math, leading me ultimately to my first degree in Mathematics. I then developed that passion further into a love of teaching mathematics on my way to my Master’s degree.
In the middle of my degree explorations, I had a successful career in business, rising to the position of Sales Operations Manager, responsible for launching broadband internet service for the company that is now Comcast (does anyone even remember dial-up?). I left the business world to have a family and then returned to the workforce as a teacher, first at the high school level and then at the college level.
As a teacher I like to go beyond just teaching mathematical content, I like to dedicate a lot of attention to helping students understand, “When are we ever going to use this stuff?” I approach all of my courses with a strong focus on applications of the topics we’re studying, whether I’m teaching statistics, general math, or algebra. This is where my background in engineering, nursing, business, etc. is so valuable; drawing on my experience, I use real examples of how a topic we’re studying will be useful in their future. As I get to know my students I personalize assignments and projects to their interests and majors to keep the course relevant and to keep students engaged. I have yet to find a major that doesn’t require some math application (and believe me, students have tried to stump me in the past). Believe it or not, even Algebra IS used every day.
I also try to incorporate some life and career skills along the way. Technology is used extensively in my courses, especially online collaborative tools like Blackboard. I know from personal experience that students will be entering a workforce where they may be working daily with people they will never meet; they may be working together over the internet and/or via conference calls. Having experience with this coming out of college will give them a leg up over other job-seekers. Also, whether students are looking for a career in health care, business, art, history, you name it, they will find that the critical thinking skills they develop while studying math will be invaluable in their future. The ability to think critically and problem solve successfully are highly marketable skills.
- B.A. Mathematics, New England College
- M.A.T. Mathematics, Rivier College