Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mathematics Education
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics, grades 6-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
University of South Florida
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Hillsborough County School District
My name is Athena Vanessa White, and I was born in Brooklyn, New York in the summer of 1988. Though New York City is my birthplace, I moved to Florida at the age of 6 and consider Orlando my hometown. I attended West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Florida. While at West Orange, I was a member of many academic and social clubs which include Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society) and the National Honor Society. I was also the valedictorian of my class. After high school, I attended University of South Florida (USF) four years where I was also an Honors College student. I earned my B.A. in Mathematics and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Why do you want to teach:
I have a passion for mathematics and a respect for education. I have gained this passion and respect largely from my middle school and high school teachers. The teachers who impacted my life the most were all of my high school math teachers. These wonderful people always believed in me and pushed me to do well. They instilled in me a confidence in my mathematical abilities. I would love to teach secondary school mathematics in order to instill the same confidence in today’s youth. Math is usually not high up on the list of favorite subjects. As a college tutor for 4 years, I have seen students who are discouraged in their mathematical abilities, causing them to give up before they really try. I find that by trying different learning approaches, positive feedback, and encouragement, you can raise the student’s confidence and ultimately their level of understanding of the subject. I would love to teach at the secondary education level to reach students earlier to raise their confidence early, and give them a ‘can do’ attitude about math.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
Although I have yet to start teaching, I do have a lot of tutoring experience at the university tutoring center at USF. One of my most memorable tutoring moments was taking on 8 walk-in students all of whom were studying for their exam later that day. In a very tiny room built for maybe 3 students, I organized the allotted hour for the session very efficiently. I was able to cover the general “need to know information,” break each concept down in different ways until everyone had understanding, gave sample problems, and answered questions. The students left more confident about their exam. It was a great feeling.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Being selected for the Noyce STEM Fellows program at USF has meant a great deal to me. It has given me the opportunity to not only further my education, but to set me on a positive career path. It will give me the opportunity to teach a subject that I have a true passion for and maybe instill that same passion into my future students.