Megan Richardson '19 of Adams, Mass., always wanted to be a high school teacher, but it wasn't until her junior year of high school that she decided she wanted to teach math.
"I wasn't always the strongest math student in my classes," she explained. But, all the concepts finally clicked and I learned to really enjoy the subject."
The struggles she faced with math – and which she at times continues to wrestle with – are similar to those that all students face, Richardson said. "It is with that knowledge that I believe I can help others unlock their true potential when it comes to mathematics."
The cool thing about math, according to Richardson, is that different problems may be approached in a variety of ways, but one still can end up with the same answer. "With certain problems, you need to get creative and use theorems, definitions, or formulas in ways that you might not have first thought about. That is the part I love about math: solving the puzzle. The satisfaction you experience at the end is indescribable."
Richardson did not begin her freshman year at MCLA, but decided to transfer to campus after her first semester because of the rigorous course schedule that the math and secondary education majors must complete. MCLA provides that instruction. "I am prepared to answer any question a student may have in class because of the math courses I am completing here," she said.
She also wished to join MCLA's women's soccer team. "I have been a part of a team my whole life and I wanted to continue to be able to play the game I love while I continue my education."
MCLA's women's soccer program truly embodies what it means to be a student-athlete, Richardson said, as participants are encouraged to be the best they can be – both on the field and in the classroom – and also to become involved with clubs on campus. Richardson is the co-president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She also belongs to the math society.
"Soccer is a major time commitment," she explained. "We only have one day off a week, so time management is crucial to my academic success."
In addition, Richardson is a math tutor in MCLA's Math Drop-In Center.
"I am able to work with students either one-on-one or in a group setting, and am learning how to explain the same concept differently to each," Richardson said. "Everyone learns differently; some people are visual learners, others are auditory learners, and some are hands-on learners. It is important to know how to work with each student as an individual, because that is how they will see the most success."
Professors in the math department are "engaging, energetic, and have a passion not only about the content they are teaching, but also their areas of research," Richardson said. "The passion that our math professors exude in class is contagious, and improves the overall classroom experience.
"On any given day you will see a group of math majors continuing class discussions and doing practice problems on the board," she continued. "Professors will walk in and join the discussions. It is this camaraderie that makes the math department great!"