Student Profile

Paul Wojcik

Paul Wojcik graduated from the master’s program in K-8 Mathematics and Science Education in 2011. Prior to attending UCF, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and served as a math teacher for more than 20 years. Wojcik began his teaching career in Pennsylvania and then moved to Florida where he has taught in the Seminole County Public School system for more than a decade.

Wojcik first learned about UCF’s program from other educators in his district, and he was familiar with the reputations of faculty members Lisa Dieker, PhD, and Juli Dixon, PhD. One of the aspects he enjoyed most about the program was the collegiality among the students and the support of the professors. While conducting his thesis research on the effects of journaling on student attitude and achievement in geometry, Wojcik appreciated all of the feedback he received from his advisor, Erhan Haciomeroglu, PhD. “It was the first time I was conducting and implementing my own research, and Dr. H really prepared me for my defense,” he states.

Wojcik is currently a Mathematical Formative Assessment Task Developer for Seminole County Schools, a teacher-on-assignment position in conjunction with Florida State University. In this capacity, he writes tasks based on the common core standards and partners with classroom teachers to field test these tasks with students in the classroom. These tasks help to determine where students’ abilities are at a precise moment, which allows instruction to be more focused on specific student needs.

Vanessa Battreal

Vanessa Battreal developed her love and passion for math in the seventh grade where her teacher inspired her with his own passion for the subject. A top performer in the class, she was given the opportunity to teach lessons because of her understanding and ability to explain her thinking process. From that moment, she knew she wanted to be a math teacher. Her appreciation grew when her teacher enrolled her in an advanced pre-algebra class in the eighth grade which allowed her to take more challenging classes in high school. “This experience taught me that students need their teachers to believe in them. Some students learn differently than others, while some are experiencing difficult life challenges. Someone believed in me, which changed my life,” she states.

Battreal received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from UCF and was immediately hired into the Seminole County Public School system where she taught fifth grade. Knowing that she wanted to further her education in math and science, Battreal enrolled in the K-8 Mathematics and Science Education master’s program. She appreciates that the professors have first-hand experience in the school system and are knowledgeable about current curricula and current challenges in education. “There is nothing better than being able to apply newly inquired techniques and strategies as soon as they are learned. I have truly seen a difference in my teaching practices and know that I am making a bigger impact in my students’ lives.”

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