Personal Statement
Printable Version

My interest in mathematics began in high school, when I enrolled in an advanced algebra/trigonometry course. The wonder and excitement that I felt when I was able to solve a difficult problem, and the joy I received from helping others learn the concepts that I was able to grasp, was a rewarding experience. It was this experience that I realized that not only do I love mathematics, but also that I was interested in teaching career in mathematics.

However, at one time, I was not sure when or even if I would be able to pursue my interest in mathematics any further than high school. I come from a poor, single-parent home, where the possibility of attending college seemed pretty remote. But since both my twin brother and I had a strong desire to continue our education, we worked out a plan where one of us would go into the Armed Forces, while sending the other to college. Fortunately, we were able to get enough money, through loans and scholarships, to attend college at this same time. My brother decided to attend Norfolk State University where he is majoring in history, and I decided to attend Elizabeth City State University, majoring in mathematics

At Elizabeth City State University, I worked to expand my mathematics experience beyond the classroom. As a result, I have participated in an assortment of research projects and training activities. For example, during the past three academic years, I have conducted research on how mathematics and the ecology of northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia can be used to explain mathematical principles to elementary and middle school children, using multimedia and other educational aids. I have presented results of this research at Elizabeth City State University, as well as at the Second Annual Tennessee State University/National Science Foundation/National Aeronautics and Space Administration Research Symposium held in Nashville, Tennessee in April of 2002, and in other venues. I will also be continuing this research during the 2003-2004 academic year.

To supplement and diversity my research experience, I have also participated in three internships leading up to my senior year of undergraduate study. The first two were with the Undergraduate Institute in Physics – Research Experience for Undergraduate (UnIPhy-REU) program at Hampton University in the summer of 2001 and 2002. In this internship program, I was able to conduct research in both theoretical and experimental elementary particle physics during the respective summers, and I won local, regional, and national awards for my research. In addition, the National Technical Association in their “Journal of the NTA” published my first undergraduate internship research report.

After completing the first two internship assignments, I decided that I really preferred theoretical physics because of its strong basis in mathematics. In my junior year, I researched internship programs in mathematics and found the Minority Graduate Education Summer Research Experience program at North Carolina State University. I applied and was accepted into the program. With this internship, I was able to work in the mathematics department under Dr. Ernest Stitzinger, where I was introduced to mathematical research related to cryptography and the many types of cryptosystems that can be used to encipher and decipher cryptic messages. Conducting this research and learning more about the field of mathematics while at North Carolina State University confirmed my intent to purse further study of mathematics at the graduate level.

A number of other experiences have helped me develop skills that I believe will help me succeed in graduate school. For example, I have help train other students in multimedia, desktop publishing, and the mathematical software Mathematica. I have also participated in the Elizabeth City State University Department of Math and Computer Science annual Celebration of Women in Mathematics Day. For that event, in each of the past two years, I formulated the test used in the competition portion of the event and served as a test proctor.

After graduating from Elizabeth City State University with honors in mathematics, I want to pursue a M.S. in applied mathematics and Ph.D. in mathematics education with focuses on minority issues in mathematics, and curriculum and instruction issues in mathematics education from middle school to undergraduate education. After earning my doctorate in mathematics education, I would like to obtain a postdoctoral appointment at a major research university conducting research in mathematics education. Ultimately, I want to have a successful faculty career at a university where I could teach mathematics, conduct research in the sciences and in education, and mentor students, especially minorities and women, helping them pursue degrees and careers in the sciences.

Finally, I believe that I have the intelligence, perseverance, work ethic, research experience, and enthusiasm for mathematics that will enable me to succeed in any graduate program, and in my future professional life.