Teaching runs in the family

NAME: Nicole Schneider
HOMETOWN: Oakdale, Minnesota
MAJOR: Secondary math education

INVOLVEMENT ON CAMPUS: Math Lab peer, math grader for the math department, track and field

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: When I was choosing colleges, I knew I wanted to go to a smaller school. I also was not ready to give up sports and wanted to continue in college. I had narrowed it down to two colleges  – Dubuque and Wartburg. My last college visit was to Wartburg, and as soon as I got to campus, I fell in love with both the campus and the community. After visiting Wartburg, there wasn’t much of a decision. I loved the community at Wartburg.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON YOUR MAJOR: When I was growing up, I was always the one who wanted to help other students. I would tutor as much as I could. My mom is a high school math teacher, so when I was growing up, I would stay after school waiting for my ride home with her. She would sometimes have me help some of her students when she was helping another student. These are the times that I decided I wanted to become a teacher. I have always been passionate about math, so becoming a math teacher just became what I was going to do.  

WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS ON CAMPUS: I have a lot of mentors at Wartburg. A few of my top mentors are my track coach, Nick Kohl, and one of my professors, Dr. Mariah Birgen. Coach Kohl is one of my mentors because he has helped me through so much and helped me make a lot of important decisions in my life. Mariah Birgen is one of my mentors because she made me realize that I wanted to become a professor myself one day.

Nicki Schneider

WHAT RESEARCH HAVE YOU DONE DURING YOUR TIME AT WARTBURG: The summer after my second year, I did research at Michigan State University. The research I was doing was mathematics based, and I did my specific research on a mathematical game, cops and robber. This game is played on graphs so I got into some graph theory and topology along with abstract algebra. I got a lot out of this experience! Not only did I get a great experience and make some really good friends, but I also realized how much I want to go to grad school in the future. This summer I am just working on finishing up the research I was doing, and I will hopefully discover enough to get published.

ARE YOU WORKING ON ANY PRE-PROFESSIONAL PROJECTS: I am currently writing a math textbook with my mom. In this textbook, we are structuring it so that geometry will only have one book across all the levels (honors, advanced, and regular). The book itself is going to be a text book for geometry. Having one book for this will help when students switch levels of geometry and will also help students taking honors who tutor students in regular or advanced. Oftentimes, there are two or three different geometry books depending on the level the student is in, which can make it difficult for tutors to help students because there is a lack of communication in what they know. It is also difficult for students to move up a level or move down a level because it is possible they miss a concept completely. With this new text book there will be a lot more communication and it will be easier for students to work together no matter what level of geometry they are in. This will be helpful because it lays out what each class is doing making it very teacher and student-friendly.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE WARTBURG EXPERIENCE: One of my most memorable experiences at Wartburg was when both the men and women’s track teams won the conference meet my second year. The women’s team only won by half a point, so when we found out that we won, it was amazing and everyone on both the men’s and women’s teams exploded with happiness and cheering.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST VALUABLE LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED AT WARTBURG SO FAR: You do not need to have your entire life planned out. Be open to changes and willing to go with the flow.

WHY IS WARTBURG WORTH IT: Wartburg has such a good community. When you are on campus, it feels like you are at home. Wartburg also has so many opportunities for everyone both on and off-campus. Being involved in the community gives you so many experiences that you will remember for a lifetime. I also have created very meaningful relationships with my professors. Because Wartburg is such a small community, you can create relationships with everyone around you. Developing relationships with your professors is a great part of Wartburg’s community because it helps you with both your professional development after you graduate and with your life in college as well.