Author Archives: luterbachk

Ryanne Hilliard

Ryanne Hilliard

My name is Ryanne Hilliard, and I will graduate with a BS in Secondary Mathematics Education and a BA in Mathematics from ECU on May 4, 2018. I am currently an intern at Ayden-Grifton High School in Pitt County, which I am absolutely loving! My experience as a student teacher has been much like that of my own high school education, except I’m playing the opposite role. I received my education at Halifax Academy in Halifax County from kindergarten through 12th grade. This meant I was surrounded by the same people in every class, every year, for thirteen years. The deep sense of community I developed goes without saying. In many ways, I have experienced the same support and comradery through involvement in my program at ECU. I have grown to know my classmates and professors very well, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I came to ECU as a freshman with the plan to become a high school math teacher and to coach volleyball, softball, or basketball as soon as the opportunity would arise. Four years later, I am proud to say I’m almost there!

My high school career prepared me for my time in the MSITE department more than I could have imagined. I worked very hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA while playing three sports (volleyball, basketball, and softball) every year since 7th grade, and holding leadership positions in four organizations — Student Government Association (SGA), Color Guard, Junior and Senior Beta Club, and the Octagon Club — each year in 9th – 12th grade. Little did I know, my efforts paid off in the form of scholarships and awards. As a senior in high school I received the Academic Athlete Award, SGA Leadership Scholarship, the Halifax County Farm Bureau Academic Scholarship, and the Jordan Family Trust Scholarship, each of which provided me with financial awards toward my college education. When I began my undergraduate academic career, I sought ways to become invested in my higher education. I joined a campus ministry and became a leader; participated in the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCCTM) Gamma Chapter meetings and assumed the role of Eastern Region Student Representative; took the opportunity to tutor students in college algebra in the MATH Cave; and held the office of Chair to the COE Dean’s Junior Advisory Board for two years. As I became more involved with ECU’s clubs and organizations, I was given even greater opportunities than I could have dreamed. As a first-semester freshman, I received recognition from the College of Education as an ECU Excels recipient for maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Later I was awarded the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Mathematics Education Award, the Craig W. and Margaret T. Joyner Family Scholarship, and the Noyce Scholarship, and I was nominated to be NCCTM’s Outstanding Mathematics Education Student. I cannot thank the faculty of the ECU MATH and MSITE departments enough for the honor it has been to be involved in such an amazing community of scholars.

I truly am overjoyed at what my experience in mathematics education has been. It has not been easy, but my passion for this career has made every challenge all the more worthwhile. I have learned not only a great deal of math, but how the world around us is shaped by mathematics and why it is important to teach young minds. As a Pirate teacher, my goal for students in my class is never just a grade, but growth. I can say with confidence that my professors in the MSITE department have made every possible effort to ensure that I reach my greatest potential as an educator, and I have made it my mission to pay it forward by encouraging my own students.

Today, I hold a 3.963 GPA and will be graduating Summa Cum Laude in a few short months. In every aspect of my life I strive to be my best while understanding that, though perfection is not always attainable, the end result is always something to be proud of, knowing I put forth my absolute best. I have learned, and will teach my students, that there is always room to improve; tomorrow, we can all be better than today. I am thankful that I chose to become a high school math teacher; I am thankful I chose ECU, and I am thankful for my future, which will provide me with unbounded opportunities to instill in my students the joy of seeking to capture what they see on their horizon!

Go Pirates!


Katrina Turlington, MAEd student in IT

Katrina Turlington

Congratulations to Katrina Turlington! Katrina is an MAEd student in Instructional Technology and the recipient of the 2016 Diane Kester award. We asked Katrina to discuss her work as a teacher and an Instructional Technology Facilitator.

Teaching is more than a career for me; it is my passion. I knew I wanted to go into education for as long as I can remember. My maternal grandparents were both teachers and education was always a top priority in my family, which is what inspired me to become a teacher.

I grew up in Williamsville, New York. After graduating high school, I moved to North Carolina to attend Campbell University. I graduated from Campbell in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. For five years, I taught 4th grade at Wayne Avenue Elementary School in Harnett County.

During my first year as a 4th grade teacher, I worked closely with the Instructional Technology Facilitator (ITF) at my school. I attended every workshop she offered and collaborated with her to learn how I could integrate technology into my lessons. Over the next few years, my interest in creating technology-rich lessons grew. My ITF became a mentor for me and inspired me to study Instructional Technology.

In the fall of 2014, I began working towards my MAEd in Instructional Technology at ECU. This program has not only prepared me to work as an ITF, it has also helped me grow as an educator. Last year I accepted a position as an Instructional Technology Facilitator at Benhaven Elementary School in Harnett County, which has provided me with the opportunity to apply what I have learned from my courses at ECU. Every week, I meet with each class in grades K-5 for a 45-minute lesson during which I teach students their grade level curriculum through the use of technology. I also coach teachers on how to integrate technology into their lessons by offering workshops and modeling lessons with their classes. My ECU courses have changed the way I approach my instruction so that I am designing more effective instruction for both students and staff.

As I continue on in my career, my goal is to improve upon my instruction and learn about new educational technologies that I can share with the staff at my school. I frequently seek out opportunities to learn more, whether it is attending workshops and conferences or reading about current research on best practices, so that I can meet the needs of the students and staff at my school. Eventually I would like to work at the district level as a technology coordinator.