The Short Story
I am the daughter of immigrants to the United Sates (my mom is from Portugal and my dad is from Brazil) and I was a first-generation college student. These aspects of my life played and continue to play a large role in shaping my identity. After graduating from the University of Florida with a B.S. in mathematics, I taught high school mathematics in Orlando, Florida. As I was teaching, I earned my certification through my district’s alternative certification program and earned a Master’s in mathematics education from the University of Central Florida. Wanting to learn more about teaching and learning mathematics, I enrolled in the University of Georgia’s doctoral program in mathematics education. Upon graduating from UGA in 2012, I accepted a position as an assistant professor in mathematics education at the University of Missouri and have been there ever since (now as an associate professor). I live in Columbia, Missouri with my husband and two dogs.
The Longer Story
I am the daughter of immigrants to the United Sates (my mom is from Portugal and my dad is from Brazil) and I am a first generation college student. These aspects of my life played and continue to play a large role in shaping my identity.
I was a strong mathematics student in high school. I never really studied and I still excelled, largely because I am a good memorizer. When I arrived at the University of Florida, I quickly realized I didn’t know how to study and I really didn’t understand mathematics deeply. I struggled with mathematics for the first time in my life. I ended up majoring in mathematics at UF. This was not because of a particular passion for mathematics, it was just the area I had the most credits in.
After graduating from the University of Florida with a B.S. in mathematics, I decided to try to get a job as a mathematics teacher. Lacking any education courses or teaching experience I was hired as a high school mathematics teacher for Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida. Although I enjoyed my work with high school students, I knew I had a lot to learn in order to become an effective teacher. In my first couple of years in the classroom I mostly taught algebra 1 for students who were repeating the course and geometry. I completed classes through the district office to earn my alternative certification. These courses helped me learn some classroom management strategies, but did not help me teach mathematics more effectively. I eventually taught a number of other classes, including AP Calculus AB and BC, as well as courses at a local community college. During my final two years in the classroom I completed a Master’s degree program in mathematics education at the University of Central Florida. This experience exposed me to mathematics education research and sparked my desire to continue learning by enrolling in a doctoral program.
The University of Georgia’s doctoral program allowed me to study research related to the teaching and learning in depth. In addition, I was able to take a number of graduate courses in mathematics and statistics. My time teaching had helped me develop a deep understanding of mathematics and I had learned to study, so my experience in these courses was drastically different than in my undergraduate program. I also developed a deep interest in learning how to teach emergent bilingual students (English learners) effectively. As a teacher in Florida, I had a number of students who were gaining proficiency in English while learning mathematics and I felt that I had not taught them effectively. Reading and conducting research in this area connected to my family’s background and my experiences as a teacher and I was excited to spend a career continuing to learn more!
After I graduated from UGA in 2012 I accepted a position as an assistant professor in mathematics education at the University of Missouri. In this position I continue to research teachers’ use of curriculum broadly, and with emergent bilinguals in particular. I also teach a number of courses or preservice teachers, inservice teachers, and graduate students. I have remained at Mizzou due to the strength of our program and faculty. Columbia, Missouri is also a great place to live! In the summer of 2018 I was awarded tenure and promotion to associate professor.
Currently, I am an associate professor in mathematics education (I was awarded tenure and promotion in the summer of 2018), the PI on an NSF-Funded grant studying flipped mathematics instruction, and the co-creator (along with my friend and frequent collaborator Sam Otten) of the Two-Minute Teacher’s Guide.
In my free time I enjoy gardening, hanging with my husband and two dogs, running, and being outdoors.