Dr. Hannah Lewis
Students at Utah State University Eastern are often stressed by the prospect of selecting a course of study. The fear of having to switch majors and failing required classes plagues most students, but the new math lecturer on campus, Dr. Hannah Lewis, has made it through all the challenges of college life without getting too discouraged.
Lewis began her journey at Brigham Young University as a business major. Her class load wasn’t quite what she expected, though, and the only bright spot was her business calculus class. As her education progressed, Lewis realized she liked the math side of things better than business. She eventually transferred to Dixie State University and switched to the math education and core mathematics programs.
Her classes played an important part in helping her decide what kind of career she wanted to pursue. In fact, Lewis took a class entirely about finding her passion that confirmed math education as her dream job.
“Throughout the class we were asked to write and refine a mission statement/sentence for our lives,” Lewis explained. “Mine eventually said, ‘My mission in life is to create a place for people where math is not the thing that holds them back from achieving their dreams.’ I chose to do that through teaching math.”
The path to becoming a university math teacher was not easy, but Lewis learned that struggling, improving, and working hard are essential parts of obtaining an education. This mindset helped as she tutored other students while earning her bachelor’s degree from DSU, and later when she began substitute teaching.
“[I want students to know] that mistakes are opportunities to learn and are not shameful,” said Lewis. “Being vulnerable is key to learning and relating to people.”
With the support of her husband, Lewis later moved to Logan, Utah, to continue her studies at USU. She taught several math classes and recitation sections for five years while pursuing her master’s degree, and her eleven years of teaching experience will finally culminate with her PhD this fall.
“Trying to improve every semester is the best challenge,” said Lewis. “I have some awesome ideas for activities. So many ideas, so little time.”
As a result of her graduate research, Lewis wishes to assess and improve math classes, especially through MyLab Math, which is an immersive teaching program that attempts to teach students at their level and speed of learning. She wants to start up the math club again and help her department flourish. The Price campus provides her the opportunity to do so. The rural environment allows her to interact with many students, get new ideas, and cultivate a love for learning in her young children.
“I am loving every minute of [teaching in Price],” said Lewis. “I love that USU Eastern has low tuition and is open enrollment. Education should be accessible for anyone that wants to learn.”
As Lewis can attest, a dream career is within reach for any student. It can be a challenging process, but at least for Lewis, the results are worth the effort. During the past decade, she has learned a few things that make college a more enjoyable journey.
“Avoid debt like the plague,” said Lewis. “Find the job that is the happy place between your passion and your talents. Then do what it takes to get the education required for that job. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Change is part of life.”
According to Lewis, the formula for a positive experience in college life can be defined as Mindset + Hard Work = Success. For the new math professor, this equation has led to a fulfilling full-time career, where she plans to change USU Eastern for the better.