Nicole Rodriguez ’16

Nicole Rodriguez

Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA
Major: Integrated Studies with a Mathematics Emphasis

Throughout middle and high school, math was always one of my favorite subjects. I had a number of teachers who challenged me and shared their love of mathematics with me. Because of that experience, I developed friendships with many of my teachers, as well as a passion for math.

I grew up wanting to follow in my uncle’s footsteps by becoming an architect. I saw architecture as a career that would allow me to use both my love for math and love of art. SPU was the only school I applied to that was not a state school, and on most of my applications, I noted architecture as my intended major — until I stepped onto the SPU campus. SPU went from barely being on my radar to a community I would grow to call home.

During my first quarter as a freshman, I took an “Introduction to Education” course that required me to volunteer in a local classroom. I realized that I could pursue a career in teaching and combine my love for art and math in a different way than I could with architecture. I love helping people, and teaching allows me to exercise my passions while reaching out to others.

After I declared my major, Dr. John Hossler’s calculus classes were the first courses I took in the Mathematics Department. Initially, I was intimidated because I was one of the few Integrated Studies majors among the many math majors. But Dr. Hossler makes math fun and cares for each of his students on a personal level. While he encourages me in my pursuit of math, he also encourages me to become an educator through his teaching methods.

I was not raised in a Christian home, so coming to SPU and being surrounded by Christian students and mentors was a new experience for me. SPU’s location also allowed me to find a church community where I feel welcome and encouraged in my walk with Christ. That means over the past four years I have grown in both knowledge and faith, and learned how to open up to my family and talk about how my faith is constantly impacting my life.

After graduation, I plan to teach in the Seattle area for a few years before moving back to California. My goal is to get involved in a school district where I can make an impact on the lives of students while encouraging them to make math fun.

 Theresa Maloney

Theresa Maloney

Not only do all of my teachers care about me as more than just another student, but SPU also has strong connections with a lot of different companies. Even as an undergrad, I have the opportunity to make connections with professionals in lots of different fields.