Overcoming challenges prepares seniors to become math teachers: Indiana University Kokomo

KOKOMO, Indiana – A major in math, a major in biochemistry and a minor in physics make for an exciting college career for Tifany Burnett.

Add to that that she accomplished all of this with dyslexia, and it truly is an inspiring story.

“It just makes me work harder to get what I want out of what I do,” said Burnett, who is graduating in May and has already been admitted to two graduate programs.

Her goal is to obtain a doctorate. in math, to be a math teacher.

“The challenges I’ve overcome will make me more empathetic with my students,” she said, adding that she worked as a tutor at the Math Commons while graduating and enjoys explaining math.

“I try to help students relax and feel like it’s not so scary. Just think differently about it,” she said. “You have to work hard for it, you have to work to figure it out, that’s why it intimidates some people.”

She is excited to graduate in May, noting that with two majors and a minor, all in difficult areas, and her dyslexia, it took her six years to complete her studies. Working with the campus accessibility center, she arranged accommodation to have more time to take her tests.

“It takes me a little longer to understand what I’m reading, so I read slowly,” she says. “I’m pretty sure every course I took, I read every chapter I was assigned multiple times. It was certainly a lot of sleepless nights.

Physics professor Patrick Motl described Burnett’s course load as one of the toughest on campus.

“Tifany represents one of the best examples of student success that I could cite during my time at IU Kokomo,” he said. “She persevered and excelled in her academic work, regardless of her knowledge of the subject at the start of the course. She probably has the toughest course load of anyone on campus during her time here. »

She is also considered one of the best tutors on campus, Motl added.

Burnett, who lives in Logansport, will decide in the near future where to attend graduate school. She was accepted into a Master of Science in Mathematics program at Purdue Fort Wayne and a Ph.D. math program at Purdue in West Lafayette, and is interviewing for a Ph.D. program at IUPUI.

Burnett credits his success to exceptional teachers.

“It didn’t come naturally,” she said. “I certainly struggled, but I’m persevering. That’s what gets me through, with great teachers.

It was in a calculus class taught by Amelia Tebbe, an assistant professor of mathematics, that she was inspired to become a math major. She described Assistant Mathematics Professor Christopher Caruvana as a “smart villain” but also someone who validates questions.

She has enjoyed working with Diane Hampshire, Maths Program Coordinator, in her tutoring role, and appreciates Hampshire’s work in making Math Commons a welcoming place.

She added her minor in physics under the encouragement of Motl and said he was always available to help her when needed.

Burnett was a research assistant with Hisako Masuda, an associate professor of biochemistry, and attended a biochemistry conference in Chicago and the Indiana Academy of Sciences meeting with her.

“The people were the best part of my experience at IU Kokomo,” she said. “I have developed excellent relationships with the faculty and with my friends. I am delighted to move forward in my career. »

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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