SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Finding the solution to Robinson’s career path

MINOT, N.D. – Since her days at Des Lacs Burlington High School, Karen Robinson knew she wanted a career in math.

“High school is when I figured out that I'm a total math geek,” Robinson said. “I was thinking atmospheric science before that. Then, as I went through high school, the more math classes I took, the more I was like, hey, this stuff is kind of cool. So that's when I started switching over to the math idea.”

With Minot State University in mind, it was now time to decide how Robinson wanted to work with math in the future.

“After I decided that I wanted to do math. I was like, what could I do with math? she pondered. “I could teach math. That degree was actually offered here, there's no reason for me to go anywhere else if I can do it here. And I don't regret it.”

Based on her high school experience, the math education major knew that teaching would be the perfect way to incorporate math into her new career. With her innate abilities in math, she used her knowledge to help other students.

“The more I went through high school, the more math classes I took, the more I was helping other people with their homework. Seeing the aha moment is when I went OK. I really like doing this,” Robinson recalled. “My junior year of high school, I started teaching a Sunday school class at my church. Now that is nowhere near the same topic as math, but it is the same subject area of teaching. I had the same experience there with my little first, second, and third graders. Seeing the aha moments on their faces with stuff. That's when I started to figure out what I really liked.”

During her clinicals, Robinson truly found that teaching was going to be the career that would fill her cup.

“Once I got into doing my clinicals and I got to actually teach a lesson for the first time. I remember that day I went home, and I was like, I'm so excited for this,” she recalled. “It was really just the experience of actually helping other people. It was when I really realized how much I loved it.”

Throughout her time at Minot State, Robinson has found many people who have helped make the road to success a little easier. Whether by further explaining a topic, showing continued support, or quite literally making a map for the classes she needed.

“My professor, Kevin Vang, is phenomenal at making ridiculous things make sense. He is also supportive, easygoing, and helpful,” Robinson said. “Professor Chelsea Hultz is amazing. Everybody loves Chelsea. She's wonderful.

“Jennifer (Sherman) was my academic advisor. I remember when I first showed up at Minot State, in my first meeting with her to register for classes for my first semester, she legit had a whole four-year plan laid out. I was going to take all of the classes, I mean, like the math classes, the ed classes, and the gen ed requirements — everything for each semester. Here's all that you're going to take each semester so you can graduate on time. Having it all laid out like that was actually really useful.”

After Minot State, Robinson has big goals for the future. She plans to finish up a couple more courses at MSU and then enter graduate school.

“I want to do a master's in math. Just plain math, not math education. I was going to get a teaching graduate assistantship. It’s a full tuition waiver,” she said. “I applied, and they totally want me, but they can't admit me as a grad student yet because there are two classes that are prerequisites that were not a part of my program here. I am coming back to Minot State to take those two classes and then hopefully start grad school in the fall of 2025.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 05/15/24   

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