M3 Math Majors Matter ----------------------------------

SPOTLIGHT ON ...

           Megan Sawyer




Megan Sawyer is a junior math major.
She is the first winner of our Problem of the Month contest and is a student assistant in our MERC Lab. We've asked her to fill out this questionnaire.
Where were you born?
Denver, Colorado
Where did you go to high school?
Denver School of the Arts
What was your major when you first arrived on campus?
Biology
What made you decide to change majors to mathematics?
I decided that I wanted to teach, and I love tutoring math, so putting the two together didn't seem like too bad of an idea
What area of math do you enjoy the most?
I really like calculus. It's the best thing to tutor as well
What advice or tips do you have for younger math majors?
Do your homework. Take productive notes. And go to lectures all the time, not just when you have a test. Too many times in the MERC Lab, I see people struggling with interpreting another classmate's notes -- find a note-taking strategy that works for you and stick with it. And probably the most important thing: your professors want to see you succeed. If you are struggling, go to their office hours and that extra effort on your part will really pay off.
What is a common misconception about studying math?
I think the greatest misconception about math is that you either can do it or you can't. My tutoring experience has allowed me to meet people with all sorts of learning strategies, and regardless, people can understand math if they believe in themselves. That's half the battle. The other half? Understanding their own notes!
What do you plan to do when you graduate?
My goal is to teach. Ideally, I will find a good niche in a local middle-school and be able to work more individually with students who are either more challenged in math, or those who excel in it. I had a great math teacher who made all the difference in middle school, and I want to be that person for someone else.
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
Any job? I'd like to be a smoke-jumper. It has that element of danger to it while still making a difference in someone's life
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy playing rugby when my body allows it. Otherwise, I like to cycle. Colorado has some great passes (in both the sense of magnitude and awe-factor) and my goal this summer is to make a loop from Denver to Grand Junction via Craig and then back through Aspen. It's a lot of butt time!
What has been your favorite travel destination?
Outside of Colorado, it is a toss-up between the Shetland Islands and Costa Rica. The first I like because of the open space and the amount of adaptability the human race shows by colonizing such a northern area (the islands lie almost completely within the Arctic Circle north of Scotland). Costa Rica is on the list because of the gratitude and the wonderful generosity that the people demonstrate.
What is your favorite movie?
Rainman tops the list
What is your favorite restaurant?
I don't really have a favorite place to eat -- the company is what matters. Some of the best meals I have had were at McDonald's with a bunch of friends.
What has been your favorite thing about the UCDHSC campus?
I really like the open environment, and especially the amount of grassy space. Classes are generally smaller compared to other universities, and the Metro-linked classes allow for students from both schools to get to know each other a bit better.

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