As we kick off a new semester (our first in-person since the pandemic began!) we’re also welcoming an incredible group of new staff, which includes some familiar faces and former students. Get to know Anila, our new Math Program Coordinator, in her own words below.
What brings you to work at Mount Tamalpais College?
I have a very technical mathematics background, but deep inside I’ve always been drawn towards outreach and social justice projects. I was looking for roles in which I could combine my mathematics and teaching background with social justice and the Math Program Coordinator role was exactly that. The cherry on top is that I get to move back to the Bay Area, where I grew up!
What part of your role is most exciting to you so far? What are you most looking forward to?
As an educator, I obviously love interacting with students, but I am also super excited about training faculty. Having been on the volunteer side of a non-profit for a few years I know how valuable it can be to have the support of paid staff, and I am excited to provide that for our faculty. I’ve also been an advocate for free, accessible education for a really long time, so it feels great to join an organization that is advancing that mission!
Tell us about a formative educational experience you had. Was there a class, teacher, or academic experience that influenced the course of your life?
My high school pre-calculus teacher was amazing; she was the first person to ever notice/praise my mathematics work. Until then, I was always told that math would be a subject I would perpetually struggle in. She noticed my hard work and creative thinking, and that made me decide I wanted to be a math teacher just like her! (Mrs. Warmuth from Lynbrook High School, if you are reading this, thank you so much!)
What unique skills, experiences, or perspectives do you bring to Mount Tam College?
I’ve lived and taught in so many different environments, from North India to North Carolina. Along the way, I have encountered so many different students who bring all kinds of different “mathematical baggage” with them to the classroom. Over the years, I’ve learned that struggling with math as an adult learner is a very frustrating and vulnerable, but common, place to be in. Recognizing this, I try to bring empathy to my teaching approach and try to make learning math a joyful experience.
What are your interests outside of work?
I love Yoga with Adriene! I completed two of her 30-day challenges this year, and I am planning to get my Yoga Teacher Training in the near future. I also love cooking vegetarian food and hiking. Pre-covid, I was very into indoor bouldering, and now that gyms are opening back up, I hope to get back on the walls!