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Math Alumna Sparks Love of Math in Students
by Ann Brown MS '03

RADFORD -- When RU math education alumna Heather Lineberry discussed the upcoming standards of learning tests with her students at Grayson County High School, she said that the tests would be challenging but knew they all would pass. Her students studied algebra all year and were excited at the challenge the SOL presented.

“At the beginning of the year, I asked them what type of reward they wanted if they all passed the SOLs at the end of the year; they replied that they would want a party with food from KFC,” says Lineberry.

Heather LineberryUpon completion of the SOL testing, all of Lineberry’s students passed the SOLs and two of them earned a perfect 600 score. “On the last day of school we had a big party with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and biscuits. I was so proud of the students,” Lineberry says.

Lineberry (right) says that the key to piquing students’ interest in math is applying it to real-world activities. “Sometimes my students ask me if they’re ever going to use what they are learning in class in the real world,” she adds. In class, Lineberry discusses how throwing a baseball or kicking a football creates a parabolic curve and uses the school’s stairway and rulers to measure the steepness or slope. “I love to show them how math is applicable to daily situations,” she says.

The Fries, Va. native is living her dream of teaching at Grayson County High School, from which she graduated as Valedictorian in 2003, and following the footsteps of some of her most favorite people. “Many of the teachers whom I have looked up to in the past were RU alumni,” she says.

This encouraged her to explore Radford after she earned associate degrees in science and education from Wytheville Community College. “I decided to come to RU because of the strong emphasis in education. In high school, I had a series of math teachers who were amazing. They started to build my curiosity about math,” she adds.

Once Lineberry enrolled in RU, she jumped into campus life with both feet. She was an admissions representative who conducted tours for prospective students, and was able to meet a lot of new students.

She also worked for the alumni affairs office as an RU Ambassador and helped with events on campus. In addition, Lineberry served as a peer instructor for Calculus I and as secretary and president of the RU Math Club. The Math Club offered Lineberry opportunities to collaborate and socialize with other math students and faculty in the department.

“The math faculty and students seemed more like a family. If you have a question, the faculty members are there for you. We also spent a lot of time in the math student lounge in Walker Hall preparing for exams. Our professors would stop by to help with challenging proofs or just join us in the camaraderie,” adds Lineberry.

Lineberry feels very connected to her alma mater and is proud to talk with her students about the college experience. “On Fridays, I wear my Radford University T-shirts to school as a way to encourage my students to begin thinking about attending college. I am a first generation college student and I understand the importance a college education has on achieving your dreams and goals” says Lineberry.

Oct. 8, 2009
Contact: Ann Brown (abrown238@radford.edu; 540-831-6277)

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