Noyce Scholars
Ashley Jackson

Ashley Jackson headshot

Program
M.T., secondary mathematics

Undergraduate major
Biomedical engineering, physics

Current subject area and level of teaching
Math, grade 6

Where are you currently teaching?
Elkhardt-Thompson Middle School, Richmond, Va.

Background
A native of Westmoreland County, Virginia, I am a December 2013 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. There I majored in biomedical engineering and physics, and was involved in a host of organizations and activities that included the National Society of Black Engineers, Kinkz and Curlz Club, and the Eta Tau Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

I am currently pursuing a Master of Teaching degree for middle school mathematics at VCU. Having had little resources financially to attend college, I became a Gates Millennium Scholar, a VCU Provost Scholar and a Fary Memorial Scholar. I aspire to one day become a professor myself in order to encourage other young people, especially African-American females, to pursue science, technology, engineering or math degrees.

Why do you want to teach?
Having the opportunity reach young people in my community has always been a lifetime dream. As long as I am lifting as I climb, I feel that my purpose is being fulfilled. I will also be in a position to encourage others to seek the STEM fields.

Please tell us about a memorable teaching experience and why it stands out in your mind.
At the end of every assessment, my co-teacher and I ask our students to reflect on their performance. The four questions we give them ask why do they feel they receive their scores, what things could they have done differently, what things will they changes, and what things could we as teachers change to help them.

One of students responded after an assessment, “Actually they should be getting the spotlight, because without them I would not have been successful. I also like my teachers. They educate me and teach me, so I want to give them something back in turn which is doing homework, listening, and most important getting good grades to show them I was paying attention.”

This simple response let me know that simply showing a student you are invested in their success goes a long way. I was humbled, and now I strive to build strong relationships with all of my students.

What has the Noyce program meant to you?
Becoming a Noyce Scholar has given me the opportunity to become the first person in my family to pursue a master’s degree. The Noyce program also provides me with a network of people who have experience in the education field. Being in this program will provide me with support and a breadth of knowledge as I embark upon my career as an educator.