Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mathematics
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics, grades 6 - 12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh ACT! Program
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Field teaching experience - Ashwaubenon School District, Practicum - Preble High School and West De Pere Middle School
My love of mathematics and problem solving began at a very young age. I remember discussing the concept of infinity with classmates in kindergarten, and one of my favorite dinner activities was to answer my father’s story problems. I want to share this love of math and problem solving with my future students. My passion for both learning and math, combined with my experiences in business, coaching, and volunteering, serve as a strong base to a career as a teacher.
I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics with an emphasis on actuarial science from the University of Wisconsin Madison. After college, I continued my studies by taking actuarial exams to earn my fellowship in the Society of Actuaries. I am licensed as an actuary to certify health insurance rate adequacy. I worked as a health actuary for seventeen years. In 2010, my position at Humana was eliminated. This has given me the opportunity to reconsider the direction of my life and explore new opportunities. As a lifelong resident of the Green Bay area, I would like to remain in this area and give back to my community.
Since 2003, I have volunteered on an examination committee for the Society of Actuaries. My responsibilities include writing and grading examination questions. These questions are a combination of computational and essay formats. From this experience, I learned how to assess mathematics knowledge using a variety of cognitive level questions.
My other volunteer activities involve working with children. As a Destination Imagination coach, I learned how to facilitate a group of creative fourth and fifth graders. I also served as a fill in Destination Imagination coach for a sixth grade team. In fall of 2011, I coached a rookie First Lego League team. Since it was our first year, we all learned a lot. I am proud of the team’s accomplishments. Additional volunteer activities working with children include helping in the Valley View library, serving as treasurer for Parkview Parent Faculty Club, and serving as the popcorn kernel for cub scouts.
Why do you want to teach:
In 2011, I decided to return to school and earn a teaching certification through the ACT program because I believe mathematics education is important. I have always considered mathematics an important skill that is lacking in our society. I know I can’t get every student to love math, but I would like them to gain enough understanding to use it effectively in their everyday life.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
During my observation in middle school, it was especially rewarding when I was working with students individually and they had a break though. I was also excited when the students realized that math was not hard and that they were actually good at math. I want to continue to work with students to change their attitude towards mathematics. I would like to teach the children the tools – math, logic, and problem solving – needed for them to succeed in what they choose to do with their life.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program provided financial assistance so I could attend the ACT! program to earn my teaching certification. In addition, the program has created opportunities for me to network with other scholars and continue professional development.
The ACT program considered my experiences in business, coaching, and volunteering as a base to a career as a teacher. This impacted the number of courses I needed for certification. I am amazed how quickly I was able to take the required ACT courses. After a year of classes, I am currently student teaching.
I appreciate the flexibility of the ACT program and the assistance of the Noyce program. I was able to learn a new profession while still having time to spend with my family.