Ph.D. in Mathematics Education, 2012
It was in fifth grade when I knew I was going to be a teacher. Before this time I struggled in school and believed I would never be successful. Luckily, all it took was one incredible teacher to convince me otherwise. This experience has guided and propelled me throughout my career and led me to dedicate myself to working with students who struggle in school. During the ten years I taught high school mathematics I worked to create a classroom where all students learned, and more importantly, believed they were capable of learning. Although I loved my job as a high school teacher I wanted to make a difference beyond the walls of my own classroom, and therefore decided to go to the University of Texas at Austin to study mathematics education.
As I reflect on my time at UT and in the STEM Education Program I am filled with appreciation. The STEM Education faculty inspired me through their commitment to high quality teaching and research. During my coursework I was provided with a model of outstanding teaching that I continue to try and emulate today. I am particularly thankful to Dr. Marshall, Dr. Empson, and Dr. Carmona for helping me see the important role listening plays in being an effective teacher. My doctoral advisor, Dr. Riegle-Crumb, taught me to be a researcher, supported me through every step of my dissertation, and helped prepare me for life after graduate school. Beyond the faculty, the University of Texas and the City of Austin are vibrant, exciting places to work and live. There is no shortage of things to do, whether it is attending a lecture by a world-renowned researcher, supporting the Longhorn sports teams, hanging out at the lake, or frequenting one of the outstanding local restaurants, you will not run out of things to do.
Life After UT
I am currently an assistant professor of mathematics education at Florida International University in Miami, FL. All in all, the job is everything I dreamed it would be. My work with pre-service and in-service teachers is incredibly fulfilling, as is my research. I continue to work on research projects with my doctoral advisor and other students I met during my time at UT. These connections have been instrumental in helping me make a successful transition from graduate school to being an assistant professor.
Advice for Students
My advice for current students is to enjoy the process. Do not spend so much time obsessing about your dissertation that you are unable to enjoy each day. Above all else, graduate school should be able growth. It is a long process, but incredibly rewarding. Have faith in yourself, work hard, and enjoy each moment.