Chelsea Debord


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Early Life

Hi there! My name is Chelsea and I am a sophomore at NKU. I was a navy baby and born overseas, but I have been raised right here in NKY since I was 5. I LOVE Kentucky and am very proud to have called this place my home for over 20 years.


It is actually quite odd how I came to love math. My mom and my sister are both nurses and my father was an IT tech for major companies in the Cincinnati area. He taught me HTML code as a child, (I had my own website in 3rd grade) but no one in my immediate or extended family shared a love for math. In early childhood, math just made sense to me. I liked it because I was good at it. In high school I appreciated the "trustworthiness" of math. You do A and B and you get C. It was simple, and solving algebra equations was fun to me. There was honestly no in-depth personal reason I liked math at that time besides the fact that I was good at it, and it was more interesting to me at the time than remembering facts and dates in Social Studies class. I also had a really great teacher in high school names Mr. Deters. Math in high school was much more challenging than it was in middle school. I had an introduction to algebra in middle school which fascinated me. I don't remember my teacher's name but she did a hands on exercise where she had what looked like pieces from the game "Sorry."


She put a certain amount of pieces on each side of something in the middle to represent an "equals" sign, and she designated one color piece for "x" and all the other pieces represented 1, the 1's were a different color on the other side of the equals sign. She illustrated an equality by isolating x by moving all the other pieces to the other side of the equals sign. For example: x+5=2. She took away 2 from the left side and showed by switching pieces that x was equal to negative three. MIND BLOWN.


Once I got into algebra 2, things got a lot more interesting and challenging. Mr. Deters explained things in a way that made sense, and his overall easy going personality made me enjoy the class. I think when you like the teacher it can contribute to the success or failure in a course. Not because it is at all the teacher's fault, kids are just immature and base their work ethic off things like that. If I dread the teacher and the class with them, it doesn't make me more motivated to learn/like the material....I digress. My love really came once I was introduced to the parabola, using pieces from quadratic equations to draw the graph, it was a wrap from there. Once I got into geometry and learned that geometry was algebra with shapes, I fell in love.

Recent Experiences

In the last section, I explained that I mostly liked math because I was good at it. Thanks to this spring semester at NKU, my ideas have changed a little bit. I am currently taking a Calculus I class, and I did not find it as easy coming as I had other math courses in the past. Most of the course I felt like this in lectures...


At the beginning of the semester, in our Math/Sciences Seminar class, Prof. Long had us read, "A Mathematician's Lament," by Paul Lockheart. The lament was hilarious, but it also brought some thought provoking problems to the surface of the education system when it came to mathematics. I learned that just liking math because I was good at it was not really a good reason. Because it leaves anyone bad at math doomed to hate it forever (unfortunately that's kind of how it is). Lockheart explained the beauty and art behind math and it was much more than performing like a monkey doing tricks by just solving problems on a piece of paper.

This article and others from this class got me thinking about math on a broader spectrum. Math is everywhere and a part of everything. Math is what makes up the entirety of our material world. You want to build a house? There's math behind that. Weather patterns? Math. There's even polynomials for every type of knot!

Before writing this presentation, I was spending some time reflecting on my new appreciation and insight for math. I am a woman and lived single for a few years. I had to learn to do "manly" things like hang a shelf, fix my stove, build a piece of furniture from Ikea. And I thought about how knowing math can really further someone's idependance. Any random, or practical "how to" questions in life can be solved if you know the math behind it. How much fence do I need to maximize the space I have for my new dog? How far is that building from me? How much gas money do I need to make this road-trip? It can all be solved by math equations! I thought before that math was strictly bounded to pencil and paper... and physicists. But the truth is ANYONE can utilize math and become more independent for it.

What Comes Next?

Having said all that I have said thus far about my love for math. When I started school this year after not being in college for 6 years, I wanted to become a high school math teacher. My dream would be to teach alegbra I, II, and Geometry. However, if I'm being 100% honest, this has been the most stressful 5 months of my life. Granted A LOT has happened this semester. I have been pregnant, I got married, my husband started our new business and I have had a full load of classes. I have struggled with the math every step of the way though. I spent at least 6-10 hours between homework and studying every week. So to think that the math classes are just going to get harder, terrifies me. Especially having a newborn son come fall semester. So I'm really re-thinking my whole life right now. I'm definitely coming back in the fall and going to do part-time and focus on continuing in Calculus for sure. But from beyond there, I'm really not sure. I'm blessed to have a financial/social situation where the sky is the limit as to what I could do or what turns I want to take in my college career. Time will tell.

Math Spotlight

I took a pre-calculus course at NKU back in 2014. I was not at a good point in my life and barely got away with a C. To advance to Calculus I had to have a B so I took the course again this past fall. When I took the course in 2014, I was completely dumbfounded when it came to trigenometry. The Unit Circle was an evil foe. However, thanks to Professor Urbanski last semester and her wonderful talent in explaining math, I really grasped and learned to appreciate the concept of the "special angles" and then moving into triangles and trig graphs. I found this gif that really ties all of the trig aspects together..


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