I love math and solving puzzles is something I have really enjoyed since I was little. My high school ESOL teacher, Mr. Lee, is one of the reasons I wanted to become a teacher. I moved to Virginia from Taiwan when I was 17. Mr. Lee was a wonderful teacher and mentor to me. He greatly impacted my life, helped me understand different perspectives, and expanded my view towards the world, especially for me with English as my second language. He taught us the importance of reading and writing, to not feel afraid to ask questions, and to put ourselves outside of our comfort zone.
Today, I love to read and write. I am not afraid to ask questions and I am always trying to learn and to appreciate things around me. He is my inspiration to be a teacher and also inspired many of my values and principles towards my life, especially in learning and teaching. He helped me to be a good student, teacher, and good human being, and I cannot wait to tell Mr. Lee soon that I am a teacher just like he once was.
I did not think about going to college right after high school because I had decent job with good income. However, becoming a teacher has been on my mind since high school. It was not until I was pregnant with my son, Kato, a few years ago that I realized I wanted to go back to school. I want to pursue higher education and be able to set an example for my son that it is important to learn.
I started to take some basic college classes in Virginia while I was working, but then I took a break when I had to move around with my husband who was in the Army. My husband and I decided to stay in the Huntsville area after he got out of the military, and that is when I decided to finish my Associate Degree at Calhoun.
When I was ready to transfer, the first thing that caught my eye was that Athens State was built in 1822 for women who became the inspiration of others. Then, I did some research and found out the class size is smaller than other universities, which was ideal for me – I thought I would learn the best in smaller size classes. Finally, during Transfer Day in 2018, I met Dr. Newland in the math department and right away I knew I would enjoy being a part of Athens State.
Truthfully and sincerely, Athens State has wonderful mathematics and education programs. My son was a couple months old when I transferred from Calhoun to Athens State. There were some hiccups in the beginning because my son was so small and my husband was also pursuing his education at Athens State. The math and education department of the school really worked with me and my family – a lot of thanks for Dr. Hester and Ms. Debbie Wilson! I love Dr. Newland, Dr. Glaze, and Dr. Merritt – they helped me so much and always answered my millions of questions in class or out of the class. I did not take any breaks for the past two years because Athens State was always encouraging me, pushing me, and helping me to move forward. I truly appreciated it.
Earlier this year, Dr. Glaze told me about this opportunity to apply for the Alabama Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ACTM) scholarship. I was very excited because Dr. Glaze received the same scholarship exactly 20 years ago. It was an honor to be asked by her, taught by her, and I am so blessed that I also received the scholarship she received 20 years later.
I am proud of my accomplishments, but I feel more thankful to all the people in my life that helped shape me to be who I am. My dad passed away 15 years ago, and I wish he could see the accomplishments I worked very hard for. I appreciate everything my mother, husband, and mother-in-law have done for me. I just feel like I have such a great support system from my home to Athens State over these past few years – thank you very much.
Ming is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Math & Computer Science Club, and the Alabama Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Soon she will be sharing her love of math with her students and showing them how fun and easy math can be. She hopes that in a few years she will be able to help other prospective teachers become awesome teachers – just like Mr. Lee did for her.