Kassie Smith, who is earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics education simultaneously, not only has excelled in the classroom but has volunteered extensively and still managed to find time for one of her passions: Bulldog athletics.
West Forsyth High School
B.S.Ed. in mathematics education, M.A.T. in mathematics education, Gifted In-Field Endorsement
University highlights, achievements and awards:
My experience at the University of Georgia has been a whirlwind of work and play. From the beginning, I was focused on my academics but was always sure to make time for fun. The highlight of my freshman year was definitely my study abroad trip to Costa Rica that summer. I went on the GORP/Astronomy trip where we actively explored this beautiful country and made memories to last a lifetime. My big adventure sophomore year was an IMPACT spring break trip to Philadelphia. With 20 of my newest friends, we took a road trip to Philadelphia and worked with ARC Philadelphia, an organization that provides purposeful work and fun activities for local residents with special needs. Each year, I stayed involved with Relay for Life by serving on the Logistics Committee. Seeing so many college students gathered together to celebrate loved ones and fight for a cure for cancer was always so inspiring. Additionally, I kept busy by volunteering in local middle and high schools where I visited classes during the school day multiple times each week. This gave me the opportunity to get into a mathematics classroom and mentor many local students.
I was privileged to be selected to work for University Housing as a resident assistant beginning my sophomore year. This allowed me to meet and work with many other great RAs and 40 to 60 college students each year. The other big piece of my college experience has been UGA athletics. I have always been a sports fan and have thoroughly enjoyed supporting all athletic events here at UGA.
Work always comes with play, and my UGA experience has also been filled with loads of hard work. Coming in to UGA, I was awarded the Zell Miller Scholarship and the UGA Charter Scholarship. I maintained these achievements by making the dean’s list each semester. Taking advantage of the Honors Program and its combined bachelor’s/master’s program, I began taking graduate classes my sophomore year, when I proceeded to take the GRE and was accepted into the Graduate School. This same year, I also received the John Hollingsworth Undergraduate Award for excellent achievement in undergraduate mathematics classes.
Some of my greatest achievements have been the most recent. Last spring, I was honored with the 2013 Rotaract Student Service Award for the UGA College of Education. Awarded based on leadership, achievement and service, only one student from each of the UGA colleges receives this award per year. Furthermore, I will have the opportunity to represent the College of Education once again as I serve as the UGA College of Education representative at the investiture ceremony of President Jere W. Morehead.
Because I am student teaching this semester, I am currently not employed. However, during my sophomore and junior years, I worked as a resident assistant for University Housing. I have also worked as a unit leader, challenge course facilitator and lifeguard at a Girl Scout camp in Georgia on my summer breaks.
Family Ties to UGA:
I am proud to be the first Bulldog from a family of Yellow Jackets. They don’t know what they missed out on!
I chose to attend UGA because...
… everything about UGA made it the perfect fit for me. Out of high school, I knew that I wanted to major in mathematics education, and I found a quality program at UGA. Additionally, I was accepted into the Honors Program and knew that this would open the door to many opportunities for me, the combined bachelor’s/master’s program being one of those. Moreover, I have always been a huge sports fan, so coming to an SEC powerhouse like UGA seemed quite exciting. I also was awarded the Zell Miller Scholarship and other smaller scholarships out of high school, a huge draw to staying in-state. Lastly, my first college visit finalized the decision. How can anyone come to Athens and not want to make it home for a few years?
My favorite things to do on campus are...
… walking around and enjoying the campus, tailgating on game days, running at the intramural fields, scoring free T-shirts and going to any and every home athletic event.
When I have free time, I like...
… to fill it by doing anything outside, going to any UGA athletic event and scoring some freebies, working out at Ramsey, enjoying Athens, working at camp and scouring the Internet for my next adventure.
The craziest thing I've done is...
… graduate in three-and-a-half years … with my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. What was the rush? It’s been the best few years of my life!
My favorite place to study is...
… my room. I know it is not as picturesque as studying at Two Story Coffeehouse, but it is extremely convenient and a sure way to get away from distractions. In the fall and spring, though, I was often found studying somewhere outside on campus, enjoying the weather.
My favorite professor is...
Tough question. I have had some great professors who are extremely knowledgeable and current in their field in both mathematics and mathematics education. If I had to choose, it would be Ryan Smith. He genuinely cares about his students, keeps the material interesting and relevant and is always full of great insight for future teachers.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
… my nanny and pop—my grandparents and two best friends that we unfortunately lost in 2010 and 2011. I miss them every day.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
… find a cure for cancer, particularly pancreatic cancer. This horrendous disease is a silent but disgustingly quick killer. It took my grandmother, nanny, from us and takes many more each day.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to...
… create an intensive mathematics program in which I make the world the classroom. It would attract independent, mature students with an interest in traveling. As we are traveling and seeing the world’s greatest offerings, the program would focus on identifying, learning and applying deep and relevant mathematics. This program would cover an extensive curriculum from managing travel finances to the mathematics behind famous buildings and more. I would imagine that students would be incredibly motivated to learn mathematics and would never have to ask one of the most annoying questions for teachers: “Why do I have to learn this?” or “When am I ever going to need to know this in the real world?” Hopefully, this would make mathematics meaningful for the students and maybe even make them interested in mathematics as a career path. This would combine most of my greatest passions: traveling, teaching and our youth.
After graduation, I plan to...
… leave for Tanzania at the end of December to teach mathematics in a local school for six months through WorldTeach. Africa has been in my heart for years and years, and I cannot wait to be immersed in their way of life!
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
This may be cheating, but I am going to group the hundreds of sporting events I attended together, as that is most certainly an unforgettable component of my UGA experience.