Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mathematics Education
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics 6-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
The University of South Florida
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Hillsborough County School District
My name is Alyssa Williams and I was born in Rapid City, South Dakota in 1991. My father was in the military at the time so we moved every two years. One of the most interesting places we lived was in the Azores, a group of islands off of Portugal. My father retired in 2000 to the state of Florida, so my family then resided in Orlando. I received my high school diploma from Timber Creek High School while participating in an internship my senior year at Avalon Elementary. I then attended the University of South Florida for three years and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Mathematics.
Why do you want to teach:
Ever since Mrs. Hall, my second grade teacher, gave me a Beverly Cleary book I have known that I wanted to teach. I want to be able to leave that mark on a student just like she did for me. Everyone always told me that I would change my mind when I grew older, but the only thing that changed was the age group I would teach. Once I began my high school and college education I was beginning to grow fond of mathematics. This is when I realized how important teaching this subject would be. Growing up I didn’t always have the best math teachers and many students to this day complain about them often. I also want to teach to fix this issue, so that students will then want to learn mathematics rather than avoid it.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
Although I have do not have any formal teaching experience, I was a peer leader at USF in the subject of calculus. During one of the classes, there was one group of students who were stuck on the concept of limits so couldn’t get passed a section of problems. I then tried to connect it to what almost every student in that classroom does, drive a car. When comparing it to the fact that cars usually come really close to a speed limit but never actually remain on that speed, it clicked. There were still a few students that didn’t fully understand. However, another jumped in to explain the problem from a different perspective so that they all ended up understanding the concept. That in itself was memorable because I realized that students can often explain things to their peers in ways that some teachers cannot. After the class had ended however, that same student came up to me to ask about becoming a peer leader because the moment he was able to get through to one of his peers was something he would never forget. The fact that he had said that to me, was what really made this experience stand out.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Being a Noyce recipient means that I can continue on with my college education so that I can fulfill the dream I have had since I was in the second grade. They have allowed so many students to be able to give back to the surrounding schools so that we can improve the high-need fields. I am extremely thankful that this has given me the opportunity to receive my masters and to be able to leave an impact on hopefully many students in the near future. The Noyce program has allowed me to feel better prepared once I enter the education field to finally give back to so many students what many of us lacked going through our schooling.