Friday, March 13, 2015

PLF Spotlight: Sara Spear

In this blog post, STEM Gateway presents our very first PLF Spotlight! 

Each month, our Peer Learning Facilitator program will highlight the story of one of our current PLFs to demonstrate the profound affect the grant has had on students at the University of New Mexico. In the month of March, we are featuring Sara Spear.

Sara’s first interaction with STEM Gateway was in the fall of 2012 when she enrolled in a PLF-served Math 180 (Elements of Calculus) course. In this class, she was able to experience directly the support that PLFs provide. Sara excelled in the subject and was urged by her instructor at the end of the semester to apply for a position. After she spoke with her Math 180 PLFs about the opportunity, the rest is history!

STEM Gateway is fortunate to have had Sara with us for five semesters now. She has supported the grant’s mission of helping underrepresented students succeed in lower level STEM courses through service in MATH 116 (Trig/Pre-calculus), MATH 121 (College Algebra), and MATH 180 (Elements of Calculus). Even further, Sara has contributed to the STEM field by becoming a student of the discipline herself.

Sara began her undergraduate career as an architecture major. But after working as a PLF, she realized her true passion-- mathematics. Since then, Sara has changed her major with the intention of going on to graduate school and ultimately becoming a mathematics professor. Sara believes the most rewarding parts of her the job are when students thank her on test day and when she sees students finally connect with a concept they have been struggling to understand. These cherished moments have led Sara to realize her calling as a mathematics professor. She knows the skills gained as a PLF will serve her well in her future career.

As a math major, honors student and PLF; it has not been easy but Sara excels in all that she does. Moreover, she exudes a positive and enthusiastic attitude noticed by all, especially the students in her classroom. We are immensely proud of Sara and all she has accomplished.