Jessica Russell '14
Hometown: Leetonia, OH
Future Math Teacher
Vice President of Pi Mu Epsilon, Kappa Delta Pi, Alpha Lambda Delta National Academic Honor Society, Alpha Xi Delta Sorority and Calculus tutor
MY EXCEPTIONAL STORY
I first heard about Mount Union when my high school math teacher told me about how much she loved her time as an undergraduate here. Then, during my senior year, I visited the campus myself and immediately knew this was where I wanted to spend the next four years. It was close enough to home without being too far away, and it had everything that I was looking for. After seeing the campus and meeting the professors, Mount immediately felt like a place where I would be valued as a student. Not only is Mount Union a highly respected university, but it's also a place where you will feel instantly at home.
A Caring Community
The thing that I like most about Mount Union is how the school makes up such a caring community. This is especially true to the professors. They are willing to help you anytime you need them, and they respect you as a person – not just as a random student in a class. Among all the faculty, professors and students, the amount of Mount Union pride is what makes this school such a welcoming place.
Almost all of my math classes have been in Tolerton and Hood Hall, and it’s where all of the math professors have their offices. If they are not in a class or a meeting, they always have their doors open and are willing to go the extra mile to help students succeed. That is what sets Mount Union apart from bigger universities – you are not just a number. They want everyone to be successful academically while leading fulfilling lives.
Why Teach Math?
I chose to major in math and minor in Adolescent to Young Adult education because I like the content of higher level math, and it also gives me the opportunity to do what I love – teach! High school students generally don't enjoy math, so when I can help them learn something in a way they understand, it's a rewarding experience.
An Interactive Education
Mount Union has been preparing me for a teaching job in the future by giving me hands-on experiences. Since my second semester, I have been given opportunities to observe, tutor and teach actual classes at nearby schools. My favorite hands-on experience so far has been in my math methods class where we took over teaching a high school Algebra II class for almost two weeks. We had the opportunity to teach consecutive lessons, plan review activities and give quizzes. It really allowed us to assume the responsibilities of actually teaching in a school setting before doing our pre-student teaching. I am currently student teaching at East Canton High School, and I am responsible for five classes. When you are going into a career in education, these experiences give you the chance to verify that teaching is what you want to do.
My favorite class has been my Teaching High School Math Methods class. During the semester, we learned everything that we would need to know about how to run a successful, well-managed classroom, starting with what to do as a teacher on the first day of school. We learned how to do everything from write a syllabus to establish effective classroom procedures and how to write engaging lesson plans.
My favorite professorat Mount Union is Stacey Cederbloom from the math department. I had her for two classes: Pre-Calculus and Teaching High School Math Methods class. During my first semester, she challenged me academically and helped me realize that I wanted to teach high school students math. She saw me having potential in something that I didn't even know I wanted to do. She always goes above and beyond when it comes to helping students and displays all the qualities that I hope to model myself as a teacher someday.
A Liberal Arts Education
Going to a liberal arts school allows you to figure out what you want to do if you are not sure when you first step on campus. I started out in a different major, and if I hadn’t been taking other classes at the same time, I would not have found what I truly wanted to do. This liberal arts experience makes students well-rounded, which is beneficial in professional settings.
My ultimate career goal is to get a job teaching high school students mathematics. I want to be able to change the negative connotation that students associate with math so they have a positive outlook on the subject and enjoy learning it.
Not only is Mount Union a highly respected university, but it's also a place where you will feel instantly at home.