Dr. Antoinette Davis is a Mathematician at Galen College of Nursing. She teaches various math courses from Beginning Algebra to Calculus. She seeks to find ways to teach math with the use of technology such as Prezi, Screencast-o-matic, and PowToon. She holds a BA in Mathematics/minor in Accounting from Oakwood University, an MA in Applied Math from Wayne State University, and an Ed.D. in Instruction/Administration-Math Education from the University of Kentucky.
Everyone who loves and excels at math is often seen as a bit of ‘genius’. What drew you to a career in Math and what do you find most exciting about it now that you’re in it?
I was drawn to math in middle school when I had trouble learning it. It took about two years for me to understand the full process of it. But once I understood it, I wanted to take even more math classes. The word genius could mean that you have it all figured out but in math, the subject is still a bit of a mystery. I love being in the Math field because I am able to teach students from all around the world.
A lot of people do not like or struggle with math because in their mind it’s hard. You try to teach math in a way that is easy to understand including even using cartoons?
Yes. I use a programme called PowToon and it sets up a virtual classroom where you can teach short topics to students. You can even send these videos out to students so that they can review them at home.
There’s a lot of focus on STEM education these days arguably leaning more towards careers in science. What more could be done to promote girls interest in a career in math?
Every major (including science) has a foundation in mathematics. I think that promoting more women of color that are already in the field would help to bring more girls into the field. More summer camps and more university visits can enhance the mindset of girls who want to know more about STEM.
As you indicate math is a base skill for other professions. What are some of the careers open to people with qualifications in mathematical sciences?
There are so many possibilities for a person with a background in mathematics like: Professor, Online Faculty, Statistician, Actuary, Government Worker, Engineer, etc. There are many possibilities because lots of careers require some form of mathematics.
The widely acclaimed film ‘Hidden figures’ highlighted the powerful role that women mathematicians played in America going to the moon. That game-changing work was for decades not commonly known. How can the success stories and trailblazing work of women get more attention in a timely fashion and be celebrated?
More success stories can be publicized when people are not afraid to showcase women of color in these fields. The fact that they were “hidden” shows that it was not commonly accepted in those days. But now, we have social media and we can highlight women of color and their accomplishments.
How have you navigated any challenges you’ve had working in a male dominated professional area?
Going into this field has come with some challenges but I have overcome them all by being persistent and focusing on what is truly important. I am often one of very few women in the department. I find that racism is prevalent everywhere but focusing on teaching and enhancing the minds of my students is my primary focus.
Your using interesting ways to simplify math education is quite novel. Do you feel you’re getting the recognition and opportunities to reach more people/share your successes with these approaches?
I believe that I get the attention that is necessary to further the work of Mathematics. My goal in life has never been to be in the spotlight. I want to add my contributions to the work and be able to share it with students so that they can help to continue the work.
You are working in the education sector where the stats show that more and more women are attaining higher education. What more do you think Academic institutions can/should do to prepare women for success in their careers?
I think that more universities can offer a career coaching class so that women can find their career niche before they graduate. It is hard to find your niche when you are trying to get a job to pay bills and your student loans. Also, more career talks with successful women would be very helpful so that these ladies can serve as mentors for the women behind them.
What are you most optimistic about when you think about the future of the careers of women who work in male-dominated professions?
I am optimistic about the expansion of funding to support all groups of women in the STEM fields at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I think that every woman needs to know that they are supported and that funds are available. I am also optimistic about more collaborations with professors and high school students as more women are being brought into the field.
Who inspires you the most and what specifically do you admire about them?
I am inspired by Former First Lady Michelle Obama. She is a well-read woman. Her platform for women shows that she cares about women in the workplace. I am even more inspired that she had her own education when she met her husband. She had her own style and her new book “Becoming” is a Best Seller. She overcame so much adversity to get to where she is now and I am proud of her.