Most of us can remember at least one teacher who could make even the most tedious subjects fun and exciting. For Sahid Rosado Lausell, one of the best teachers she ever had was her high school math teacher. “He was a really cool guy who was in a band, had tattoos, and dyed his hair,” she says. More than that, he helped inspire her to pursue a career in math education.
Sahid is the most recent addition to the Project NEURON team, a diverse group of graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of backgrounds. Current and past members have had experience in education, game design, ecology, chemistry, and neuroscience. “Everyone is unique and brings their own strengths to the group,” says Barbara Hug, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Project NEURON. “The sum is greater than the parts and we all benefit.”
One contribution that Sahid hopes to make is to help Project NEURON materials be more accessible for English language learners. Coming from a Spanish-speaking country, Sahid sees herself in students who do not speak English as their first language. “Participating in an all-English institution is great,” says Sahid, “but it can get a little overwhelming because sometimes you want to say something, but you really don’t know how to express that idea.”
Sahid grew up in various locations across Puerto Rico, where her family still resides. She studied civil engineering at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez before moving to the United States with her husband. At the University of Illinois, Sahid completed her Masters in Environmental Engineering and then decided to pursue another Masters, this time choosing to focus on Curriculum and Instruction and certification.
After finishing her degree and receiving her certification in secondary mathematics in 2015, Sahid plans to return to Puerto Rico to teach. Like her own favorite math teacher, she hopes to change some students’ negative impressions of math into excitement and satisfaction. “I continuously think about how I could make my class similar to his,” Sahid says.
Although, she may stop short of getting a tattoo.