I entered UC Davis as an English major and, after taking a fascinating course in logic, switched to Math. After finishing my bachelor’s in Math, I found I liked it so much that I went back for graduate school. Three years into a math PhD program, I passed my qualifying exams and promptly determined that I would rather teach than do my thesis.
Throughout graduate school I worked as a teaching assistant in the Math department for a wide range of courses. My favorite assignment was drop-in tutoring for calculus students because every one of them came with the attitude that we were going to tackle the material together. Many students began the term saying they were terrible at math and after ten weeks sat down excited to do their homework because of the self-respect it gave them to know they had accomplished something worthwhile. One of the most rewarding parts of 1-on-1 tutoring is the joy I experience when my students overcome their math phobia and discover that they are fully capable of mastering once-intimidating material.
I especially enjoy taking students beyond the ‘whats’ and the ‘hows’ of math into the ‘whys’ of its importance. The theoretical basis of mathematics, esoteric though it may seem, is altogether comprehensible and even beautiful. Learning theory is by no means an abstract art–it facilitates memorization, enables students to retain information longer, and minimizes careless mistakes. It is also excellent preparation for college courses, which prioritize critical thinking and innovative problem solving over mechanical manipulation of numbers.
Aside from teaching math, my interests include reading, writing, drawing, composing, playing soccer in the hot sun, and sandwiches: delicious, delicious sandwiches.