Alumni Spotlight: Anna Marie Vagnozzi - Cleveland Community College, Shelby, NC

Alumni Spotlight: Anna Marie Vagnozzi

Tell us about some of your accomplishments.

After I graduated from Cleveland Community College, I transferred to Campbell University, where I completed my bachelor’s degree in mathematics. More recently, I earned my master’s degree in Mathematical Sciences from Clemson University, with an emphasis in statistics. My research was on how to perform statistical analyses on election maps, and some of that research was used to analyze South Carolina maps in the 2021 redistricting cycle!

Tell us about your current position.

I currently work full-time at Clemson University as a Lecturer. The primary focus of my job is teaching introductory, undergraduate math classes, and I’ve had an opportunity to teach both statistics and calculus courses. The courses I teach span a wide range of the curriculum here at Clemson, so I get to work with students from a lot of different majors and interests, which I love.

How do you like teaching?

Teaching is simultaneously the most challenging and most rewarding thing I have ever done. It is definitely a lot of work – often more than I expected! – but the relationships you build with students make it worth it. I love being able to share my enjoyment of math with them and show them that learning math is an attainable goal.

Is there any advice/wisdom you’d like to share with students who might need a little encouragement?

Embrace the challenge! Something that comes up a lot in conversation with my students is how it’s really tempting to feel discouraged when you encounter material in your classes that doesn’t stick the first time, especially in math. But it’s important to remember that learning takes a lot of effort, so it’s normal to have times where you feel like you’re struggling. Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone, and reach out to the people around you – your professors, classmates, advisors, and mentors – who can help support you and offer suggestions on strategies to be successful. Keep up the good work!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

When I think about my college and career journey, and how I ended up in my current position, CCC always comes to mind. The thing that inspired me to pursue teaching was a few very positive experiences with professors who encouraged me and made learning fun. I wanted to somehow capture the energy that they brought to the classroom and recreate that for students of my own. Whatever your personal journey is, Cleveland Community College is a really wonderful place to pass through.