Allison Medellin
Testing Manager
Nike, Inc.

Was there a math teacher, project or lesson that made a big impact on you while in school? What got you interested in math?

I don't recall the exact moment that impacted me in math. I was in a few split classes with older children in elementary school, so I remember learning multiplication tables earlier than some of my peers. I had a few good teachers in middle school, especially in algebra. Math made sense and I enjoyed the logic behind it. High school I transitioned between 2 schools, so algebra 2 lagged a bit, but I had a great pre-calculus teacher. The good grades in math kept me motivated. Combining math with science was one of main reasons I decided to pursue engineering.

What did you enjoy most about math while in school?

The logic. I didn't know how to quite apply it beyond the homework, but it always made sense to me. 

Describe some of the ways in which you use math to do your job. Which math skills are most important to your job? Please give examples.

I use math a great deal. A lot of it is in pre-written programs, but I occasionally have to check those programs. Recently, I calculated some dot products (which was funny because I haven't used them since college, but it was a good exercise nonetheless). I often have to do simple math (like calculate speed and distance that our subjects need to run and occasionally I'll use Matlab to calculate 3 dimensional rotations of rigid bodies in space. And then there is averages and statistics too. Lots of math and physics.

What could teachers have done to make math more enjoyable/useful for you while in school?

Outside of the classroom projects. Maybe field trips to places and interviews with people who use math and why. 

If you had the power, how would you change the way math is taught at school? 

Interesting question. I think it worked for me, but then again, I think it could be adjusted for kids who struggle or are not into it. Perhaps more real world applications for some kids. Working a cash register or balancing a checkbook.  I think the way it was taught to me is similar to how it is taught in college.