July 25, 2024

Cropper: making a difference


This archived article was written by: Priscilla Sharp

Math is certainly not for everyone. It is a subject that only makes sense to some; especially when you add the alphabet and odd symbols. However, Utah State University Eastern’s newest math teacher, Sebrina Cropper, has loved math since she was a child. Even then, when asked what her favorite subject, was she always replied that it was math.
Cropper was born and raised in Utah. She lived in American Fork until she finished high school. She attended college at USU in Logan where she got both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
She then taught English in China for a year. “It was amazing. It was a great learning experience.” Cropper said. “I was teaching English for private elementary schools who wanted native English speakers to help with accents and things like that. It wasn’t rigorous as far as English details, but more just the verbal part of it.”
Even though Cropper always loved math, she didn’t necessarily always want to be a teacher. “When I started college it was interesting because I was debating which under-grad classes to take to get my breadth requirements, and for the science bit, I like science a lot. I always have. But it was funny; the thought of not taking a math class was tragic.”
This was almost a sign for Cropper. Although her destined major had not been determined, she decided to study abroad in Japan for a year. When she returned, she decided that although she might not want to teach math, she wanted to research it. The teaching came later.
The only time Cropper thought of growing up to be a teacher was after being inspired by one of her teachers. She said, “It was eye opening to see that math has so much research potential.”
The most satisfying thing Cropper says she does weekly in her career aspect is, “helping the student’s maybe see math a little differently.” She began her teaching career as a teacher’s assistant while working for her master’s degree, then moved to adjunct work.
If money were no object would Cropper still be teaching? “That isn’t why I got into it. It isn’t a huge money-making business. It is something I enjoy. I think it’s better to do what you want to do,” she said.
The most worthy cause on Earth for Cropper is not to make a million dollars or have her name in a star alongside celebrities, but, “to make a difference, a positive difference, in whatever it would be. It’s interesting how much one person can do, not necessarily in the world scale, but it does effect the world in the bigger picture.”