Rachel Rockey has a clear vision of what she wants to do with her life: to teach mathematics to high school students and to be a motivational leader for them.
“I want to become the teacher that is a light to her students and inspires them to learn — not only teaching mathematics, but inspiring them to live and love life,” Rockey said. “I believe that I am being called to do this through teaching math.”
Rockey, from Wildwood, Fla., is a freshman secondary mathematics education major at Valpo. However, she was originally considering attending another university closer to her hometown. Fortunately, Robert Clark, assistant professor of chemistry, called to tell her about the MSEED (Mathematics and Science Education Enrollment and Development) program at Valpo and its focus on the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). After a lengthy one-hour conversation, Rockey’s perspective had changed.
“I was hooked on MSEED — what it stands for, what it could do for me, how it will help bridge the gap between STEM and education — most of all how it would allow me to help high school students in math and science,” Rockey said.
Throughout high school, Rockey enjoyed her math and science classes most. She has always had an interest in teaching and feels that since the number of great math teachers is diminishing, she can help change that. Rockey has already begun making a difference as a teacher through her internship with Gloria Dei Tutoring, working with children in preschool through 12th grade.
After graduation, Rockey wants to be teaching in a classroom as soon as possible. She is considering teaching math to students in underprivileged public schools.
“I hope that I can inspire students to not only enjoy math and realize that it is something they can do and love to do,” Rockey said. “I hope to inspire them to live their lives to the fullest and let them see Christ in me.”
Rockey is also secretary of the MSEED Club, which has applied to Student Senate for approval as an official student organization. The club will be comprised of MSEED Scholars and students of any major, with the goal of bridging the gap between science and mathematics and education, as well as to help students attend conferences and workshops that will help them advance in their fields. The club will be working to support anyone who wants to support education.
As the program grows, students like Rockey who are interested in being math or science teachers are visiting Valpo to learn more about the programs offered here. MSEED Scholarship Day, which brought more than 40 prospective students to campus, was Friday, Feb. 15, and featured keynote speaker Amber Rae Schober ’02.
Rockey is a Christ College honors student, while simultaneously fulfilling her duties as a Lutheran Leader. She is highly engaged in campus life as a member of the praise band for Celebrate!, assistant editor of photography and design for the Beacon, photographer for the Torch, an overnight host for admission, and a member of Campus Crusades for Christ.
“Valpo is helping me primarily through MSEED, Lutheran Leader, and Christ College,” Rockey said. “All three of these have put me in a community of support and fellowship that allows me to grow and learn, as well as strengthen my faith.”
Students like Rockey continue to participate in many activities and programs and to succeed in a wide variety of ways.