Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: B.S. Mathematics (Tulane University), M.A. Mathematics (University of Texas at Arlington)
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Secondary Mathematics, preferably high school
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Texas at Arlington
Current academic or teaching status:
Graduate Student, Masters
School and school district:
Arlington ISD (Substitute Teacher)/University of Texas at Arlington (Math Tutor)
I am from a small town called Marble Falls in the great state of Texas. Throughout my childhood, my parents encouraged me to travel and experience new things, to always be in the pursuit of new knowledge. So, when I graduated from high school, I found myself in New Orleans attending Tulane University. After four amazing years, I graduated with a B.S. degree in Mathematics, and minors in Psychology and Music. While at Tulane, I did several semesters of Service Learning inside New Orleans schools, both tutoring students one-on-one and supporting and observing teachers as they taught their classes. I have always been a band kid, doing everything that my school’s band program had to offer (i.e. Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Pit Orchestra, etc.). I am an alumni member of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national marching band fraternity. My life has always revolved around music, which is why New Orleans was the perfect place for me after high school. I find myself in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area now, wondering what will come next in this grand adventure called life.
Why do you want to teach:
Math has always been my favorite subject because it is all about patterns and processes. Either the solution is right, or it is wrong. There is no room for debate. I want to teach because I am sick of hearing students saying things like, “I hate math because I have never been good at it,” or “Why do I need to learn this? It’s not like I’m ever going to use it” I want to teach students to see what I see, that through all of life’s changes, mathematics will remain constant. The universe is filled with patterns that can be mathematically measured and modeled, and I would love to share the idea that everything about our world can be related to math. Everything from the recipe for their favorite drink at Starbucks to the computer science that went in to creating their favorite video game, to the probability of their friend being elected homecoming king/queen can be summarized with a mathematical equation and solved. Mathematics is more than numbers and letters on a piece of paper; it's a systematic way of problem solving that can be applied to their actual life and their actual problems. I want to teach so that I can inspire students to appreciate the power of math and its connections to their world, even if it isn’t their favorite subject.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
This experience happened during my freshman year at Tulane. Through the Tulane University Marching Band, I signed up to do some community service with a local high school marching band called Roots of Music. It's also an after-school program that provides tutoring and the opportunity to learn an instrument for city kids who don’t have a place to go after school. On the weekends I would go into the French Quarter and lead the clarinet section rehearsal. At the time, there were 3 clarinetists, all about the age of 12. One had proclaimed herself section leader because “she was the best”. During each rehearsal I would take her aside and teach her something new. For example, she had a scale test where she was expected to know two octaves of the F-scale. That day I taught her a third octave, just to see if she could do it. It took her several tries, but eventually she memorized all three octaves of the scale. I remember her excitement as she went in to her scale test because she had not only met expectations, she knew she had exceeded them. This moment stands out in my mind because many students in New Orleans do not believe they can succeed, but I showed this one girl that if she tried, she could accomplish anything, that failure is part of the learning process. I firmly believe that with enough effort, any student can exceed anyone’s expectations, and this belief was inspired by this girl who I worked with over the course of a semester. She has inspired me to be the type of person who sees potential in others, just as I saw in her.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program has meant support as I embark on this terrifying journey that is teaching. Teachers have a lot of responsibility, and I feel a lot better knowing that I am part of a community of other beginning teachers who are figuring it out, just as I am. This program gives me an amazing opportunity to be mentored by experienced teachers, and to continually receive support as I get into my first classroom. One day I hope to join the ranks of experienced and inspirational teachers who positively impact their students. What I love most about this program is that I will be supported all the way through this journey.