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When I was younger, I wanted to become a professional ballerina. My focus was on dance, not academics, and I did not envision a future that involved attending any type of college. By the time I had finished middle school, I was spending countless after-school hours and long weekends in the dance studio, and my summer vacation in pre-professional dance programs. I planned to join a professional dance company immediately on completing high school so that I could begin my dance career as early as possible. When I began high school, however, my goals and plans for my future changed dramatically. In fact, I owe my decision to attend college and pursue higher education to my 9th Grade math teacher, Mrs. Amy Keane.
Ms. Keane is an excellent teacher because her style of instruction is clear and engaging. Many students consider math to be the most difficult subject, but, with Mrs. Keane as my teacher, I have found that I can easily understand complex match concepts. I have especially enjoyed learning from Mrs. Keane how to apply my new skills in math to solve real-world problems. To sum up, in Ms. Keane’s classroom, I have developed a passion for math for its many varied applications.
Over time, I have come to regard Mrs. Keane as a role model, both in and out of the classroom. Not only is she a female who has excelled in a field traditionally dominated by men, she continues to coach basketball and play in adult basketball leagues at a high level. Mrs. Keane was an elite basketball player in college but discovered as she matured that though she would always enjoy the sport, she wanted her future to draw on an academic skill that she could grow, develop, and apply lifelong. Given my prior focus on dance, I found her way of continuing to make what was once her focus, basketball, a part of her adult life, while pursuing a professional career with ongoing intellectual challenges, to be an inspiration in my own life.
Before meeting Mrs. Keane, I was placing all of my drive and ambition into ballet. Initially, I was apprehensive about shifting my focus to a new field, but with her encouragement to pursue a career outside of the arts, I began to think differently and consider pursing a different, academically based career path. Mrs. Keane has not only fostered an interest in me that I never before had, she has helped me consider and research math-based careers, which I had previously seen as a focus that only boys would have. Now as a senior, I have taken every math class that my high school offers, and even been selected as one of four students at my school to take a math class at Connecticut College to supplement my education. This experience, at the collegiate level, has reinforced my desire to go to college, major in a math-based field, and pursue a career in this diverse, and evolving sector. I have taken multiple math classes every year since ninth grade, a path of study that five years ago I would have thought to be impossible. Today, I plan to study computer engineering and pursue a career in the technology arena, which I would never have discovered without Ms. Keane’s encouragement. I am very grateful to have found such a strong, female role model at my school. She has led me to explore my academic passions and has to begin a new chapter of my life. My plans for the future now include encouraging other women to pursue a math-based education and mentor them in the technology field, just as Mrs. Keane has mentored me.