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!