Amazing Student: Charlotte Weng
Charlotte Weng (B.S.Ed. ’22) wants to show her students that math is valuable and interesting in its own way, a viewpoint that not everyone shares about the subject.
“Almost any American you meet has a strong opinion about mathematics, and most recoil when I tell them I am going to teach math,” she said. “I want to show students that success in a math classroom is attainable, that math is about progress, not perfection, and that math will always teach you more than what is on the paper.”
A student in the Morehead Honors College majoring in mathematics education, she mentors students in math for organizations including UGA MathCounts and the Thomas Lay After School Program and will begin teaching high school geometry this fall.
- Hometown: Cumming, Georgia
- Degree objective: B.S.Ed. in mathematics education; minor in public policy and management
I applied to UGA knowing that it was the best university in the state for what I wanted to do. Because UGA is a large school, I was excited for all the opportunities the university could offer me, from hundreds of majors to every club imaginable. During the college application process, I happy cried only once for an admission, and it was UGA. I am so grateful that I chose UGA, and I know it is where I’m meant to be.
What campus and community organizations are you involved with?
I have been a member of Alpha Phi since my freshman year and have had the honor of serving as the organization’s vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion and director of community service. In my director role, I partnered with Extra Special People, Inc. to serve their participants joyfully.
I’ve also volunteered with education-based organizations on campus. For the past three years, I served on the executive board of UGA MathCounts, an organization that provides math tutoring and high-level tasks and competitions to middle schools in the greater Athens area. One of my favorite organizations at UGA is Thomas Lay After School Program, a program that provides homework help and activities to local Clarke County students in grades 1-8. I served as a head mentor there and loved every minute—an experience that reaffirmed my love for students and mentorship.
What were some of your favorite classes in the Mary Frances Early College of Education and why?
My top three favorite classes in the College were Inclusion of Students with Special Needs Grades 6-12 with Dr. Kim Viel-Ruma, Connections in Secondary Mathematics II with Dr. Cameron Byerly, and Professional Seminar in Teaching Mathematics with Dr. Kelly Edenfield.
Dr. Viel-Ruma’s course was one of the best classes I’ve taken at UGA, as we focused on highly practical methods for inclusion and success of students with special needs. Additionally, we learned the ins and outs of what differentiation actually looks like in a successful classroom and how we can creatively implement differentiation in our classes. Dr. Viel-Ruma inspired me to look for small and consistent ways to make my class fun and encouraged me to think creatively as a teacher.
Dr. Byerly’s course is the second of three conceptual courses in the mathematics education program. Dr. Byerly is such a fun professor, and the course helped me to see mathematics as a teacher, rather than a student. We spent days working on creative projects and critical thinking tasks, and Dr. Byerly modeled a teaching style that I hope to emulate in my classroom.
Dr. Edenfield’s course is a seminar that coincides with full-time student teaching. I loved all of Dr. Edenfield’s classes, but the seminar was by far my favorite. It was exciting to discuss what was happening in our classrooms, how it related to things we had read and learned over the years, and what to do to better ourselves as educators. The seminar felt like a strong conclusion to the program, where we were able to fully realize all we had learned and were capable of doing. Dr. Edenfield is a phenomenal professor, mentor, and role model.
Why are you passionate about mathematics education?
I am passionate about mathematics education because math can be incredibly taboo. Almost any American you meet has a strong opinion about mathematics, and most recoil when I tell them I am going to teach math. That is why I am passionate about mathematics education. Math is incredibly beautiful, useful, and interesting in a way that is unique to the subject. I want to show students that success in a math classroom is attainable, that math is about progress, not perfection, and that math will always teach you more than what is on the paper.
How have your student teaching and internship experiences aided you in your degree program?
My student teaching experiences were the best parts of my program. In my student teaching, I was able to synthesize all my readings and years of classes into my actions and classroom decisions. Student teaching gave me the confidence to pursue a teaching career and allowed me to fall in love with teaching all over again. My students are a constant source of joy, growth, and honor. I could not be more grateful for my classroom experiences and all that I learned from them.
What are your plans following graduation?
Following graduation, I will be a high school math teacher in Forsyth County Schools. I am very excited for the opportunity to work in an incredible school district, and I look forward to teaching geometry, my favorite math subject!