Math Teacher Living Her Dream

  • Andrea MarraAndrea Marra has her dream job—teaching sixth-grade math in Stafford, Virginia. IUP helped make that dream a reality.

    “I knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was in sixth grade,” she said. “I chose IUP because of its outstanding education program, despite the fact that I live close to several other universities.

    “As soon as I visited IUP and met with professors in the College of Education and Communications, I knew I was in the right place and that I wanted them to be my teachers.”

    Andrea made her choice at an IUP Decision Day.

    “Not only did I love the professors I met, IUP felt comfortable to me—a place where I fit and that felt like home. I didn’t know anyone here when I came as a freshman, but I graduated with so many friends. It’s such a close community.

    Andrea also participated in the College Undergraduate Success Program, known as CUSP, an early entrance experience for first-year students. “It really did give me an edge on being successful at IUP, along with making great friends even before classes started.”

    During her time at IUP, Andrea made it a priority to “give back” by getting involved in programs that helped others—and that ended up helping her be prepared for her career.

    “My volunteer projects gave me experience in talking to people, helped me learn how to hold effective meetings, and advanced my communication skills. The volunteer work I did at IUP also allowed me to practice working with children, so when it came to student teaching, I already had some experience.”

    Andrea was president of the Hawk Rock Committee, a student leadership team that raised more than $10,000 over two years for three Indiana County agencies addressing hunger and homelessness. She led the committee in several projects, including a food drive and the group’s main event, a 24-hour dance marathon.

    She was a member and served as treasurer of the Pre-Service Teachers of Mathematics group. The group held a Toys for Tots drive and hosted Family Math Night, a program designed to show families that math can be fun. More than 60 community families attended.

    She also was active with Kappa Delta Pi education honor fraternity, which offered students educational workshops and extensive practice doing interviews and writing résumés.

    “IUP does a great job collaborating throughout the university, and the Career and Professional Development Center worked with us through Kappa Delta Pi on how to be prepared for interviews and how to apply to positions with résumé writing workshops and reviews. In fact, during my interview, I was told how great my résumé looked. My professors, too, really encouraged exploring career opportunities and professional development.”

    Andrea said being involved with extracurricular activities helped her get to know her professors. “But you are definitely not a number here. Professors know you and care about you.

    “There are a lot of opportunities for students here. If you can’t find a club or group that you like or that fits you, you can create one. Honestly, there is something for everyone at IUP.”

    Andrea connected with her school district at a regional job fair.

    “IUP’s Career and Professional Development Center sponsored the trip to the event. I started out with an advantage because the district representatives had heard of IUP and were impressed by IUP’s reputation. I gave them my résumé, they contacted me shortly after the fair, asked me to apply and to interview, and two weeks after I applied for the position, I had my job.

    “I was nervous for my first day, but I felt totally prepared, thanks to IUP.”