Noyce Scholars
Leah Powell

Leah Powell headshot

Program
M.T., mathematics

Undergraduate major
Mathematics

Background
My experience with teaching thus far includes a program I participated in during my junior year of high school. This was a program called Teachers for Tomorrow, which enabled me to observe and teach in two settings, a kindergarten class and a middle school Spanish class. Teachers for Tomorrow enabled me to realize that middle school, or secondary education, was the place for me.

Since high school, I have been involved with various programs in education. In my undergraduate career I took a few classes that allowed me to stay in the classroom, and in the meantime, I took time to tutor middle and high school math students. I took a semester off between my undergraduate and graduate education and completely submersed myself in substitute teaching. Through those few months, my passion was reaffirmed, so I began my graduate education to become a teacher.

Why do you want to teach?
Ever since I was a little girl, forcing my parents through class in our living room, I have wanted to teach. My passion has grown stronger as I have gotten older as well as my reasoning. Too many people in today’s society despise mathematics, but why? I feel that the majority of this stems from the fact that these people must not have been in an environment that fostered learning in mathematics. I want to be the one that can at least enable people to be comfortable with mathematics. Math is an important subject that recurs in any profession or any lifestyle; it is nearly insane to live with something that you hate. Everyone deserves the chance to learn and be comfortable with mathematics.

What has the Noyce program meant to you?
I struggled for about a year to be admitted to Noyce and am beyond proud to be a part of this program. It provides a deeper focus of my passion for teaching lives with working in high-needs schools. The struggle with mathematics exists everywhere, but high-risk schools tend to have a more difficult time fostering the learning of math. Be it teacher proficiency, resources, or student engagement, the struggle is more defined.

It took me a while to notice that a high- needs or high-risk school was where I wanted to be, but once I got a taste of what is needed in these schools, there was a fire lit in me that isn’t going out anytime soon. The fact that Noyce is a program designed for STEM teachers with a focus in high-needs schools, I almost feel that this program was designed for me — it just took a while to find it.