Why I Give: ‘I Am Always Moved by Student Stories, Which are Firsthand Accounts of the Importance of Scholarships in Opening Their Dreams of Becoming Teachers,’ Says Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education Erin Krupa ‘11PHD
Editor’s Note: This is part of a monthly “Why I Give” series in which NC State College of Education alumni, students, faculty and staff share why they support the college.
Erin Krupa ‘11PHD may have been a faculty member in the NC State College of Education for only 16 months, but she is no stranger to Poe Hall. After teaching math for four years at W.G. Enloe High School in Raleigh, she decided to earn her Ph.D.
The Greenville, N.C., native received her Ph.D. in mathematics education from NC State in 2011 before relocating to New Jersey, where she served as an associate professor at Montclair State University for seven-and-a-half years. She returned to NC State as a faculty member in 2018.
As assistant professor of mathematics education in the STEM Education department, she teaches courses in undergraduate mathematics and mathematics education, as well as in the doctoral program. One of her favorite things about teaching, she says, is developing creative ways to engage students and teachers in meaningful mathematics.
Krupa is also a researcher. Her research focuses on improving the quality of mathematics teaching and learning through innovative curricular materials and professional development. She currently has five funded grants from the National Science Foundation and one from the NC State University Foundation for her research.
Krupa is grateful to have had the opportunity to pursue teaching as a career thanks to the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, which provided her a full scholarship. Because of the financial support she received, she gives to the NC State College of Education in hopes that she can help other students accomplish their dreams of teaching.
“I am always moved by student stories, which are firsthand accounts of the importance of scholarships in opening their dreams of becoming teachers,” she said. “I believe supporting the College of Education helps in many different avenues that are all integral to our mission.”
When she isn’t working, she enjoys watching college basketball, playing sports, cooking and baking, serving her community and hanging out with her very active 1- and 2-year-olds.
In the Q&A below, Krupa shares what she enjoys most about being part of the NC State College of Education, why she gives to the college and why she chose to pursue a career in education. The following is edited for length and clarity.
What brought you to the NC State College of Education?
I returned to the NC State College of Education as a faculty member because I was ready for a new challenge in my career. I feel it is an honor to work in the STEM Education department.
In my opinion, the mathematics and statistics education doctoral program and faculty in the NC State College of Education are among one of the top five mathematics education programs in the country. It is a true honor to be a colleague of such a dynamic group of scholars. It seemed less of a choice and more of a calling — a calling to continue to evolve as a researcher and educator.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of the NC State College of Education?
The people, but mostly my students. My students, across all levels, keep me motivated and grounded in the importance of our joint work together. But I also often walk the halls of Poe Hall on mini breaks and I am greeted with cheerful faces of the people that have helped me get acclimated in my new position. These are the faces that I miss during this period of isolation — just the “hellos” and “have a nice days” that you get from being in a friendly, yet productive, environment.
Why do you give to the NC State College of Education?
I am always moved by student stories, which are firsthand accounts of the importance of scholarships in opening their dreams of becoming teachers. But I am also cognizant that giving not only helps students with tuition, but with experiences and opportunities in our community and internationally, with faculty research, supporting community outreach and enhancing classroom technology. I believe supporting the College of Education helps in many different avenues that are all integral to our mission.
Why do you feel it’s important to give back?
I feel it is important to give back because I was able to go to college on a full North Carolina Teaching Fellow Scholarship (way back in 1998) and I am grateful every day that I had the opportunity to pursue teaching as a career thanks to that scholarship. The amount I am able to give fluctuates each year based on my circumstances, but the giving is constant and a reminder of all the wonderful opportunities NC State provides for its community.
Why did you choose education?
Why not? Education is an integral part of our society and we desperately need to recruit a diverse array of strong and passionate teachers. I believe that supporting education not only builds the teaching profession, but builds the research and infrastructure surrounding successful teaching and learning, informing the practice of teaching.