Graduate Student Stories- Program: Mathematics Education Ph.D.
After five years of dedication, Allison Dorko is graduating this spring with a PhD in Mathematics Education. Dorko recognized her passion for teaching while she was working on her Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and Physical Education from the University of Maine. Later on, she got her Master’s in Mathematics Education in Maine and “fell in love with the research component” which inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. “in order to do more research and teach college mathematics.”
While at Oregon State, Dorko added a Bachelor’s of Mathematics to her studies before working on her PhD. She especially enjoyed her last two years in the PhD program working with the STEM Club (which is part of the FIESTAS project) at Lincoln and Garfield elementary schools in Corvallis, OR. Dorko says “it is a lot of fun to do maths and science with children and to help the Education majors [in the College of Education] learn how to make maths and science exciting” and “we [even] do maths with Legos!”
Dorko’s years as a student have been busy and she advises other graduate students about the importance of getting enough sleep because “when you’re sleep-deprived, your brain simply doesn’t function well.”
After graduation, Dorko is moving to Oklahoma where she has landed a job as an Assistant Teaching Professor. There, she will “coordinate and supervise their college algebra program, teach mathematics and do research.” Dorko says, “it’s a great job and I’m excited about it… I’ve heard Oklahoma has amazing storms [and] I’m looking forward to seeing some of those.” Dorko has enjoyed her time here in Corvallis, but she is excited to move on to the next step in her career, “being a faculty member instead of being a student.”
Graduate Student Stories- Program: Community College Leadership
Bruce Hattendorf’s final years of school have been challenging, but his hard work and determination has paid off and he is graduating from the Community College Leadership (CCL) program this year. Hattendorf began his work in the education field as a tenured English professor before being asked to step into a role as an Associate Dean of Instruction. “I had no administrative experience or training at the time”, says Hattendorf, “so I enrolled in the CCL program to develop professionally and also to get a degree that would allow me to advance my administrative career in the future.”
Hattendorf was attracted to the OSU program saying, “I am very committed to the community college mission and OSU had one of the few higher education leadership programs that focused specifically on my area of interest.” He also found at “doing the program and learning a new job that was directly related to the program simultaneously, was a great way to learn.”
As a distance student, Hattendorf says that the most valuable experience was “the cohort interaction, both at Silver Falls and online [because] the cohort provided great friendships and terrific professional contacts.”
While in the program, one of the challenges was being able to “balance work, school, and life” because “it meant putting a lot of my personal life on hold – or at least scheduling things more carefully.” Hattendorf was very busy due to “working full time and [becoming] a full Dean at that point”, and yet his determination pressed on—listening to advice from a former OSU student who had completed the same program, “to take three weeks off at Christmas and lock [himself] in a room and write”, Hattendorf did just that, using vacation time during school breaks to get the work done.
After graduation, Hattendorf plans to continue his current job as Dean for Arts and Sciences at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington and with the pressure of his dissertation lifted, he hopes to have more time to enjoy hiking and traveling with his wife and dogs, as well as being more involved in community arts and practicing his creative writing again. Hattendorf is optimistic about the education field, saying that “the thing about education, whether it’s in the classroom or at the administrative level, is that we can always find ways to get better at what we do, and I find that exciting and engaging.”