Anairis de la Cruz Benito
The Mathematics Education major in the Curriculum and Instruction Program is exactly what I wanted to study. My background career area in Mexico (both undergraduate and master's) is in mathematics education. I wanted to continue in the same direction, and I found out that FSU has the exact same program. FSU has a large community and a variety of programs in Education. Also, the math education faculty are doing a tremendous job when it comes to research. So, both the program structure and faculty experiences made me choose FSU for my doctoral program.
Motivation to pursue a graduate degree
I want to expand my knowledge and skills in teaching and research in mathematics education. I want to do research and explore and contribute to the math education field. Moreover, as an Indigenous person, I want to be a reference and break the stereotype that Indigenous people do not have the abilities and preparation to pursue graduate school. Especially for women, I want to break that belief that we are only raised to be married and be housewives. We can do much more than that, and I want women to know that there is a world full of opportunities out there, and education is one of them.
Importance and/or impact of research and work
I am interested in researching the topic of mathematical proof, specifically about the conception and experiences that preservice mathematics teachers have. The proof is a crucial topic to the field of mathematics because it allows students to develop their thinking and logical ability. Constructing a mathematical proof requires many skills, such as thinking, logic, previous knowledge, creativity, organization, and communication. There is extensive research in proof in mathematics education about the difficulties that students have understanding this topic, but there is little attention to the knowledge that secondary mathematics preservice teachers should have in order to be able to teach proof to students.
I would enjoy so much being a professor and researcher, to be able to help students do their research and to teach them about education and the importance of the pedagogical side in mathematics. Most importantly, I'd like to be able to make a meaningful contribution to the field of mathematics education research.
Advice for anyone considering graduate school
Plan and organize your time very well for the process. Start preparing for taking the TOEFL and GRE exams. Look carefully through all the requirements and start working on getting them together. Ask for letters of recommendation from people who know you well, for instance professors you did research with. Another important thing is investigating the program you are interested in, looking at the professors' research, and identifying a potential area of research you want to focus on. Expand your knowledge, deepen your knowledge in familiar topics, grow professionally and personally, contribute to research, be more prepared for the job market, and learn from others.
Accomplishments during graduate career
When I was pursuing my master's degree in Mexico, I was awarded the Conacyt Exchange Scholarship to do a research stay for a semester at Universitat de Valencia in Spain. I also received, during my two years in master's studies, the Conacyt Scholarship for Indigenous women.