Goal 5: MATH 171 (Statistical Decision Making)

In Fall 2017, I fulfilled Goal 6, which is the Mathematical Thought goal.

MATH 171 is an introductory statistics course and it is one of two statistics courses that I have to take as a requirement of my major. We learned truly useful statistical analysis skills while determining the significance of the data, which is critical for science majors in general.

I was nervous entering this course because my math foundation previously was absolutely terrible. At this point, the last decent math class I took was in 8th grade. My high school math experience was so frustrating and so bad, I did not take a math class in my senior year. I came in to MATH 171 with a preconceived idea that I was going to be let down once again by math and that I was going to struggle the entire semester. Additionally, with the one year gap I had by not taking a math class in my senior year, I was scared that I was going to be missing out on a lot of information.

However, I was decently surprised. Dr. Emerson-Stonnell was a superb math professor. She walked us through each concept and taught us exactly what we needed to know. The homework assignments were a perfect combination of challenging yet generally straightforward. The content on her exams were never a surprise.

Most importantly, I was thriving in Statistics and I participated and asked questions all the time. I sat in the front row to eliminate any distractions, fully aware of my “math challenges”. I also did my homework with my friend every day so we could learn from each other and not feel lost, which truly helped me as well.  From the beginning, I was aware that I needed to be proactive in order to be successful in statistics, and I did just that.

I honestly surprised myself because I always thought of myself as a “bad math student”. In actuality, I can learn math perfectly fine. I realized that my past with math wasn’t based on my ability to learn and comprehend math concepts. I also learned that while math is not my favorite subject, it is possible for me to do well as long as I have a great teacher and support system. I am happy to say that I will be taking MATH 301 (the second part of statistics) with Dr. Emerson-Stonnell in Fall 2018. I signed up to take her again on purpose because I know I will thrive again in her class and do great.

The artifact that I chose for MATH 171 is my second project of the semester. The assignment was to interpret data from a survey that all MATH 171 and 301 students took. Step by step, my partner and I wrote an essay of the process it took to analyze the proportions and confidence intervals from the survey, which asked about sex, class, and political party preference of Statistics students. This artifact captures not only the curriculum of MATH 171, but it captures my ability to comprehend math and do well in a math course. I also chose this artifact because I worked with my best friend, who was definitely a key factor in my success. I never was dependent on her to be successful, but she reassured me that I was on the right track and was always there to help me if I needed extra explanation of a concept.