UHV Education Students Receive Mathematics Teachers Council Scholarships | New

Two students from the University of Houston-Victoria School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development are recipients of a scholarship awarded to only seven state students by the Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Sandra Coleman of Wharton and Amy Spalik of Pflugerville will each receive the 2021-2022 Cynthia L. Schneider Mathematics Preservice Teacher Scholarship from the board, a professional organization that provides development for mathematics teachers and encourages an active interest in mathematics.

The $ 1,000 scholarship is awarded annually to students who will teach in the next school year and pursue teacher certification at the elementary, middle, or high school level with an emphasis on mathematics.

“We congratulate Sandra and Amy on this well-deserved scholarship,” said Rachel Martinez, Acting Dean of the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development. “Teachers are essential to the success of our children and the future of our communities, and we wish them the best in their classrooms and their careers. “

Coleman and Spalik are the seventh and eighth UHV students to receive this scholarship in recent years, said Barba Patton, UHV curriculum and teaching professor with a focus on math. Patton is a member of the Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics and is a past member of the board of trustees.

The scholarship is named after Cynthia Schneider, a former board member, in recognition of her years of service in many positions and her work with teacher-in-training.

To apply for the scholarship, students must have two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a current board member. Students must also have a minimum of 3.0 GPA and write an essay describing their philosophy of teaching mathematics or a specific mathematical subject.

Patton said she was happy to hear that both Coleman and Spalik were chosen for the scholarship because UHV has a general education program and does not have a specific math education program.

“Both students go above and beyond with their homework in class, and I was delighted that they were both chosen,” Patton said. “We are a small university and we are proud of our students and the work they do here and in the classroom. “

Coleman works for a publicly funded center in Katy where she mentors girls aged 10 to 17 who have gone through traumatic experiences. Previously, she worked for 21 years as an officer in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education through Grade 6 with a core subjects certification and plans to teach students in the Fort Bend Independent School District this fall. She hopes to graduate in December.

“Being told that I was a recipient was great and unexpected,” she said. “There are hardly any words to describe how I feel but happy.”

Coleman decided she wanted to become a teacher after years of teaching newly hired officers, and in 2017 she became a UHV student. Although she had always loved math and science, she saw her son struggling with his math homework as a child and wished she could help him understand the subject better.

For his essay, Coleman wrote about the importance of training specialized math teachers and how specialized math programs in colleges and universities help future educators stay focused on certain topics.

“I discovered that I love teaching young children and it would be great to teach math to younger children,” Coleman said. “There is a wide range of areas where math is involved and is part of our day to day activities, such as budgeting. It is important that children understand mathematics from an early age.

Spalik is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Education from Grades 4 to 8 with certification in core subjects. She also plans to teach students in the fall. In addition to the certifications required by the state, she is pursuing additional certification in order to be a mathematics teacher in grades four to eight.

“I am very honored to receive this scholarship, especially since so few students have been chosen across the state,” she said. “This scholarship is so great to have as I prepare to teach students.”

Spalik had her first teaching experience when she was in fourth grade helping care for young children in a day care center. She quickly volunteered for student programs in school, in her community, and in church throughout elementary and middle school. In high school, she was a math student teacher for two years for second and third graders. She enjoys seeing the moment when a student who is struggling with math is able to solve the problem and begins to excel.

Spalik would like to make mathematics fun and interesting for students. So for her scholarship essay, she included an example of a math-based classroom activity. The activity is based on the “War” card game and students have to solve expressions to find out which person has the most number.

“I would love to be a math teacher who helps students engage in learning math, enjoy the topic and not worry about it,” she said.


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