Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mathematics
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics, grades 7- 12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Texas at Arlington
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Arlington Heights High School, Fort Worth ISD
The second eldest of four children and daughter of Mexican natives, I grew up with an appreciation for education and a desire to be a good role model for my younger siblings. I went to charter schools in California but became familiar with Title I schools when we moved to Texas. Despite having less resources, it was in the Texas schools that my love of math and science was fostered due to an array of wonderful and engaging teachers.
Why do you want to teach:
Math, in particular, has always fascinated me. As a child, it seemed as wondrous to me as magic. However, a large majority of my classmates had varying degrees of aversion toward the subject, much to my confusion. It wasn't until middle school that I became aware that students saw math as synonymous to 'right/wrong' answers. They saw it as merely a grade with no real-world applications. From then on, I became an advocate, of sorts, for mathematics and wished to help students discover the wonderment in the subject.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
I remember a junior high student who felt the need to declare that she was 'bad' at math to me early on. However, she would still offer her responses to my inquiry-based questions, especially after she figured out I wouldn't shut her down for 'wrong' answers. What I quickly found out was that she had a grasp of the material conceptually, in fact she was able to derive the volume formula for a circle before I introduced the proof! With further assessment, I found that she approached math in a different manner than her peers and was more visually based. Equations without context were meaningless to her and would be unlikely to stick. Hands-on activities and visual representations were where she would shine. It really cemented to me the difference between grade and assessment, as they both told drastically different stories. From then on, I valued assessment much more and made sure that my lessons considered the variety of learning styles.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
It gives me the opportunity to gather with like-minded individuals who not only share the same passion for teaching as I do, but also exposes me to a variety of different teaching styles and teaching personalities. Discussing experiences, advice, and set backs with my fellow Noyce scholars has provided me with valuable knowledge that couldn't be derived from textbooks alone. I am immensely grateful for the resources, support systems, and opportunities to give back to my community.