At a Glance
Why UTeach? "Some people don’t start teaching until they get out of college, so getting that experience while I’m still in college is really exciting."
Sam Colby first discovered UMass Lowell from the waters of the Merrimack River.
As a member of the crew team at Central High School in Manchester, New Hampshire, Colby competed in the Textile River Regatta, held every fall in Lowell.
“The regatta’s finish line is a little ways from South Campus, so I saw the UMass Lowell logo while I was rowing, and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s a college there,’” he recalls.
Colby kept UMass Lowell in mind when it came time to apply to colleges. Through his research, he found that the university offered an undergraduate teacher preparation program called UTeach for students majoring in science, engineering or mathematics. This felt like a perfect fit for Colby, who is an aspiring math teacher.
“While I was looking into UMass Lowell, I was like, ‘OK, this is starting to get freaky. There’s this university I didn’t know about that has everything I want,’” he says. “I knew I needed to apply.”
Colby got accepted and eagerly jumped into his course requirements as a mathematics major and a UTeach minor. The requirements prepared him for his practicum at Methuen High School, where he acts as an observer and a teacher for a ninth-grade honors geometry class.
“Some people don’t start teaching until they get out of college, so getting that experience while I’m still in college is really exciting,” he says.
As a math enthusiast, Colby aims to get students interested in the subject.
“There’s a stigma that math is hard, and everybody should hate math because it’s hard. That’s really frustrating to me,” he says. “I want to change their minds.”
During the summer of 2022, Colby assisted with a program that is helping to break the stigma by providing underrepresented middle and high school students with positive math interactions. The program, known as The Calculus Project (TCP), came to UML through a partnership with the Kennedy College of Sciences (KCS).
“I’m really happy I got to be a part of it,” says Colby, who welcomed the TCP students to UMass Lowell by getting their classrooms ready and bringing them to Fox Dining Commons for meals.
Colby has taken in different teaching styles from The Calculus Project, his practicum at Methuen High School and his professors at UMass Lowell. He recently took Mathematical Problem-Solving with Prof. Kenneth Levasseur and liked the discussion-based format of the course.
“We could experiment a lot with different ways of problem-solving and then discuss the solutions that we got. It made math really engaging,” says Colby, who plans to implement discussion-based lessons when he becomes a teacher.
The course ended with Colby taking part in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, which is the toughest math contest in North America.
Colby enjoys talking with prospective students about the opportunities UML has afforded him. He serves as a KCS Ambassador and keeps in touch with many of the students who have visited campus and decided to make UML their second home.
“I’ve had a great experience at UMass Lowell,” he says. “This place has everything that you’d ever need.”