Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mathematics
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: 5th to 9th
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Name of Noyce institution:
CUNY Herbert H. Lehman College
Current academic or teaching status:
Last Year of Undergrad
School and school district:
My name is Kasmira Torres. I am a
senior at Lehman College studying Mathematics in Secondary Education.
I live with my mother and father. I have
an older brother, Emmanuel Torres. He is
in the Navy and married. My brother and
I spent many days at home with our parents, where we were taught how to read, write
and basic arithmetic before we were in school. My mother taught us everything through creative mean: painting, drawing,
or building our own diagrams to help us better understands science and math
concepts. We always asked a lot of
questions and she wanted us to have a chance to fully understand while we were
still “inquiring minds” as she use to put it.
I spent my entire educational career in Math, Science, and Art school in the
public school system here in the Bronx, and I believe that it has a lot to do
with who I turned out to be. I am a
public high school, DeWitt Clinton, Alumni.
Where I was a part of the Veterinary Program for Small Animal Care and
Participated in extra curriculums such as math peer tutoring and art
classes. I am the president to the
Student Theater Association on campus as an extra curricular activity, because I believe that students math and science skills are put to practical application when involve in the arts. I have worked with Bronx Arts Ensemble from second to fifth grade assisting in math skill
development and multicultural teaching through the demonstration of art. I worked with College Now: Bronx Innovation
Center with ninth to twelfth graders in geometry and algebra. I was assigned to Taft education campus in: Jonathan Levin High school, Dream Yard Prep, and Urban Assembly Academy of Male Leadership and Citizenship.
Why do you want to teach:
Those early days of school memories explain why I want to teach… the teacher that
would greet us warmly and full of great excitement. I always enjoyed being in school, I believe that one person could make a difference. My entire educational experience I would be surrounded
with teachers that would inspire me and influence how I teach and learn
material, because they could make a difference.
Mrs. Boothe was a strict teacher that would kill you with kindness. She was my high
school math teacher and I was a sophomore in her senior Trigonometry class. I would walk in and quickly find the answer, so Mrs. Boothe and several other teachers would turn me to teaching. Then there are the teachers that would be negative and pessimistic all the time. Teachers that would constantly yell, hate kids, or just keep teaching because it pays their bills. The teachers that exuded no drive to
teach at all would make me passionate about teaching, making it a goal was to
prove to them that teaching was not just a job but a world you would create
brighter for those in involved. Teaching
whenever I get a chance even if it not math related: about animals, building
sets, or playing piano. Patiently and providing more than one way to cut an
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
My sixteen year old cousin,
Clarissa, is home schooled. She is the
type of student that needs to physically solve it herself in order to
understand the steps necessary to solve a type of problem. I am the same way, and when I was with the
Bronx Innovation Center I realized that many students are that way. I was able to sit down with a student and a
mini whiteboard explain to them why something was done a specific way.
I recall one student… Lisette Colon. A brilliant young lady and I had the pleasure of attending her graduation this past spring. She was in Dream Yard Prep and she always wanted to know the practical application of everything taught in her math class. I was able to explain every thing to her she need to understand but it still didn’t answer her question: “why
they need to know it or when is it used at least?” She left me stumped in the back of her class and reverted to doing something I do when I need to concentrate so I drew a
triangular park with a circle inscribed.
This park had a piece sign path meant pattern and building around it, when it occurred to me- I know an architect that builds small models and uses this very idea of inscribed circles and mid points to determine and create precise miniatures.
So I before she left I gave her the picture, and was able to explain to her the application as well. I don’t remember ever being given a solid reason as to why when I was a student, and it felt good- it was empowering- to be able to give her a reason
why. Very pleased with the explanation
she earned an A her test on inscribed circles and mid points, and her teacher was
very pleased to know that I was able to reach her curiosity. I make it a point now to provide that real world application because it seems to give them something to focus on, to comprehend, when they are doing the math themselves.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The NOYCE program saved me. My last year of college, and I have no financial aid and no job to pay for the tuition. My father was doing his best but he has bills to pay at home and text books are just too expensive. My dad works for NYCHA, full time at nights and an Emergency Maintenance Man on Truck #1. With my mother working part time it still wasn’t enough, my Mother would baby sit my younger cousins. I was
trying to figure out how much more money I would have to save in order to pay
for my Fall 2010 tuition when my cat got sick. I know that sounds funny, but he’s been with me since I was nine years
old and losing him was emotional distressing. I was able to pay for the bills with the money I saved so far and my job with the Bronx Innovation Center gave me just enough to pay for my summer
course and save up half the tuition for Fall. I applied for the scholarship that could not have come at a better time,
my brother’s wife had given birth and my dad’s car needed fixing. When I was accepted I didn’t believe it but I
didn’t even tell my parents. I was
contemplating the thought of dropping out until I can save the money to
finish. I was later told by a fellow
classmate in the program already that I did in fact make it into the NOYCE
program and to check my email and mail for confirmation, and I was thrilled.