Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mathematics; Sociology
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Secondary Mathematics
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Northern High School (Durham (NC) Public School System)
I am from a tiny town in northeastern North Carolina,Edenton. I went to a small high school that had a graduating class of 121. I then went on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with a second major in Sociology and a minor in Music. I then went on to Duke University in Durham, NC where I received a Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in Secondary Mathematics.
Why do you want to teach:
I want to teach because that’s what I was born to do. Helping people understand Mathematics is a gift that I possess and I love the fact that I am very good at it. More than just teaching mathematics, I love teaching underprivileged students life lessons and I enjoy the hard task of motivating them to become the best that I can be.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
A memorable teaching experience would be when I was student teaching in an Algebra II (standard) class and I had been working with this one student who had been in trouble with administration and the law. She was no stranger to the juvenile court system. She had been progressing in class by participating and making good grades, and then she said to me: “Mr. Downing, you are the only reason I come to school”. I was touched, but also puzzled because I was her 3rd period teacher. I asked her what about the beginning of the day, and she told me that 3rd period was the only class she ever attended. I was touched; however, I told her she needed to start to come to all classes.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program means an incredible amount to me. It has allowed me to attend one of the nation’s best and highly ranked institutions without the worry of having to pay their extremely high tuition price. One thing I have learned is that a top-tier education isn’t cheap. One of the main concerns that I had about pursuing a masters degree in order to become a teacher is the cost associated with it. Why would I want to become a teacher in North Carolina that pays about $35,000 to it’s incoming teachers when I would have to take out a tremendous loan, upwards of $60,000?!? This scholarship allowed me not to have to worry about the cost to an amazing education experience.