Math Corps Participation: High School Teaching Assistant
High School: Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School, Detroit, Michigan
Undergraduate Studies: Howard University, Washington, DC
Undergraduate Degree: Mathematics
Immediate Future Plans: Graduate studies in Mathematics (PhD track) at Duke University on a fellowship from the National Security Agency.
What do you believe are the keys to success?
Doing something you like, establishing a relationship with a mentor, and hard work!
How did the Math Corps impact your life?
I want to be a professor. I like Math, but more importantly [at Howard], I just saw how a lot of people struggle with Math. I had a lot of friends who wanted to go to medical school and do engineering, but they would have trouble with those Math courses. So, they ended up changing their major just because they can't pass [the Math]. From Math Corps, I learned that anybody can learn this stuff, you know? Anybody can learn this.
I never really wanted to be a teacher. Math Corps was good because you had all these inner-city kids who normally don't do well in math and sciences, at least that's what they [the public] like to say. I saw some bright kids come through, and I think the thing that really impacted me the most was how [the students] take the pre-test and then they take the post-test. It was worlds of difference. [Students] that people try to count out are really learning. That's when it really hit me that I should do this.
[Math Corps] was my first exposure to professors; I never really knew what they did. They showed me a different way to make things interesting for kids. I would love to go back to teach and be at a university. In the beginning of my career, I want to be able to do some research, and see what I can get published. I placed into Calc II my freshman year, and I did some undergraduate research. The most significant [research] I did was in Ohio at Miami University of Ohio on the continuum hypothesis and the different levels of infinity. I really like to think; I'm an abstract mathematician.
However, I've had experiences where I've gone to conferences or gone to do presentations, and people sort of judge you beforehand. Once you get up there and you know what you're talking about, all that comes down. As long as you are confident with what you're doing and what you know, it's totally fine. I'll be doing that internship [with the National Security Agency] next summer. It's going to deal with codes and cryptography. I'm just trying to see the different things that I can do with [Math] right now. It's opened up so many doors; I'm really glad that I went this way.
What is the one thing you think others should know about the Math Corps?
The thing that distinguishes Math Corps from other Math programs is that there's something for a student at any level. As long as you're willing to work hard, you can really take something away from the program. That's pretty amazing. You have a lot of programs for high achievers, and you have a lot of programs [for students] who are struggling. But this is for everybody, and everybody will have a really good time.