Giovanny Hernandez ’21 has been teaching students from the moment he started elementary school. With a desire to help others, Hernandez would find students in his classes who needed assistance and offer to help them. His teachers took note and would eventually ask him to tutor other students. These experiences inspired Hernandez to pursue a career in education. He hopes to continue to make a difference and impact lives as a math educator. This is edited for length and clarity.
Why did you choose NC State?
In high school, I had a really great math teacher for Calculus AB. He always made sure he attended to our needs, made sure we weren’t falling behind, and wanted to see us succeed. He really believed in us, and he was exceptional. On the wall near his desk, he had a plaque that said “I graduated from NC State.” I wanted to go to a good school, and he seemed like a really good teacher. So I wanted to see what NC State was all about.
Why did you choose education?
I am a first-generation college student, and both of my parents dropped out before they were juniors in high school. They dreamed of me having a better life. To be honest, teaching wasn’t always part of the dream. But I love helping people, and I enjoy helping others learn new things, especially about math. As an educator, I get to do that every day and make an impact.
Why did you decide to get involved with the Math and Science Education Network?
I was encouraged to work as a summer counselor for the Math and Science Education Network (MSEN) [a STEM-enrichment pre-college program operated through the NC State College of Education’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation], where I worked with high school students on research projects related to math and science. It was amazing to watch the students develop professionally, and I was able to develop close relationships with them. That experience was a lot of fun and it opened a new light on what I can accomplish outside of NC State.
Because I enjoyed the summer camp so much, I decided to continue working with MSEN for my work study. We conduct Saturday academies, where high school students attend classes to learn new things, such as robotics, and develop their science and math skills. I have really enjoyed developing relationships with the students and getting to know them on a deeper, more personal level. I think that has prepared me for what I will face as an educator. This experience has shaped my future as an educator.
How has the NC State College of Education prepared you for a career as an educator?
I participated in my first field experience where I observed high school classes. That experience was very impactful. I was able to assist a teacher with a service project, and I was able to observe many different classrooms. Through my experience, I was able to observe different teachers with varying methods of teaching. It was a great experience.
The teacher who oversaw my field experience was amazing. She worked with me to make sure I stayed on track and she prepared me well for handling certain situations.
What kind of educator do you want to be?
As an educator, I just want to be impactful. If I can encourage students on a path that’s going to lead to a greater life, that would be beyond my wildest dreams.