Virginia Parkman joined the NIMBioS team in the summer as Education & Outreach Intern and will be with us again for the fall semester. Virginia is a sophomore in mathematics at the University of Tennessee and also participating in the the teacher preparation program VolsTeach. She is originally from Knoxville, TN. Here’s a little more about her, in her own words:
Why did you decide to participate in the VolsTeach program?
I first learned about VolsTeach in my senior year at Bearden High School. It seemed interesting at the time, but I still wanted to explore my options during my first year at the University of Tennessee. After exploring in the first semester, I found myself tutoring friends and the people living on my hall. Once I realized I was spending most of my free time tutoring and basically teaching everyone who asked for my help, I decided I should get into the VolsTeach program.
What have you been learning so far at NIMBioS?
So far at NIMBioS, I have learned so much that I would never have had the opportunity anywhere else. The most interesting piece of technology I have learned how to use at NIMBioS is the 3D printer. Before coming to NIMBioS, I had only read and knew a little about 3D printer, and now I know how to design, print, and fix a 3D printer. Also with the 3D printer, I helped in making a poster, which for me was an entirely new experience. Along with 3D printing, I have been privileged to go to a seminar with biology teachers from around the country. From them, I learned how to approach tough subjects and how to connect math and science. I have also learned many things I want to incorporate into my future classroom but to tell all of them would take up pages.
What drew you to the field of education?
It started in my sophomore year in high school. I began to find math much easier than my classmates, so I would often be asked for help on homework. This pattern continued throughout all of high school, but when I reached my senior year, I had the most wonderful teacher. Her name was Catherine Buckner. The way she taught and cared so much about the understanding of the material inspired me to want to do the same with future students. After having her and many other wonderful math teachers at Bearden High School, I figured teaching was an option I had for the future.
What are your current plans for after graduation?
My current plans are to graduate through the University of Tennessee and the VolsTeach program and to become a high school teacher for a few years. After teaching at a high school, I want to come back and get a PhD in mathematics.
Do you have anyone who inspired you to pursue education, or who has inspired you in general?
My inspiration comes from a lot of different areas. Of course my parents inspire me to be a great person and try my hardest at everything I do, but my inspiration for teaching comes from many people. Through my education at Bearden, I met some of the best teachers who inspire me to this day. To name a few: Mrs. Buckner, Mr. McWhirter, Mr. Savery, and Mr. Vacek. They were such fantastic teachers that they inspired me to become a teacher.