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Tutor Spotlight on Mickey

Thank You For Being Such A Vital Part Of Our Team, Mickey. We Look Forward To Sharing More About You So Others Can Get To Know You Better!

What or who inspired you to pursue your career?

I had the opportunity to mentor research for all four years of my undergraduate career at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, in a lab called “The Study of Adolescent Romantic Relationships” (i.e., STARR). It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn about research and how all of my own passions and academic strengths could be utilized simultaneously.

What is one thing you are most proud of achieving in your life?

Personally – I am excited to have my daughter; she is the greatest thing to happen to me in my life. Professionally – I was awarded Faculty of the Year from the University of Nebraska – Kearney.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Dr. Deborah Welsh at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville; I was a freshman trying to learn more about possible career paths. I interviewed to participate in her research lab. She was initially hesitant because I was a freshman, and usually these opportunities are reserved for juniors and seniors. I told her that I would do any work that she would need me to do, even janitorial responsibilities like taking out the trash. We eventually made a deal that if I played on the department’s intramural basketball team that she would let me be a part of their lab. I was a member for all four years of undergraduate university and saw my passion and academic strengths collaborate together. I wouldn’t have considered this career path without her mentorship.

Share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started teaching/tutoring.

I created a tutoring TikTok with a student before to help them understand math, although I could not tell you where to find it! 😉 Essentially, we were learning how to simply quadratic equations using the quadratic formula. In the TikTok, we talked about how frustrating the equation is, but also acted out a way to better understand the formula to make it easier to remember. The person I tutored added music and graphics to the video and shared it.

What do you enjoy most about teaching/tutoring?

I mostly enjoy watching students grow personally and professionally. I have worked with students of all ages, but mostly adolescents. The teenagers I work with tend to develop the most rapidly. Their confidence grows the more they feel more comfortable with the material. The confidence that they gain seems to be correlated with other facets of their life. Once a teenager becomes confident in one domain, they become confident in other domains as well. I enjoy watching the ripple effect of confidence building. I pride myself in not just helping students succeed in math and other topics, but also helping them indirectly succeed in other facets of their life.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In addition to spending time with my daughter, I like to swim, watch anything related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and play fantasy sports. I swam in college and still have a passion for swimming. I am a huge Marvel nerd and pretty much consume any TV show or movie that Marvel Studios releases. My favorite Avenger is Dr. Strange, simply because I can relate to him. We are both smart and funny but rarely do people laugh at our jokes, haha! I play fantasy football and basketball – and no, I am not that good.

Tell about an amazing trip you took. Where did you go and what did you enjoy most?

I’ve been blessed to visit a number of amazing places. I enjoyed visited Assisi, Italy. It is a beautiful city with wonderful food, and very little public traffic (almost everyone walks or rides a bike). It’s so peaceful! You can hear yourself think. It’s easy to have lively conversations with others and just enjoy being with others without distractions. The scenic views are awe-inspiring. I recommend that you check it out!

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? What is it and why did it resonate with you?

One book that shaped who I am was What The Best College Professors Do. I designed my teaching philosophy based on this book. This book talked about how teachers shouldn’t teach at or to students – but teach with students. Teachers should create an environment that promotes learning and by establishing a safe, comfortable learning environment through rapport, students are more likely to learn and retain the material. I credit this book for helping me learn more about how to be an effective educator. For leisure reading though, I enjoy reading anything by Tana French!

The road to success is difficult and requires tremendous dedication. What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

I recommend doing two things – ask questions and try new things! We can’t learn if we don’t ask questions. I know people feel anxious about asking questions or fear that they may not look smart if they ask questions, but it’s usually the smartest people in the room who are asking the questions. It shows that they are critically analyzing the material. I encourage anyone to find questions to ask, and then to ask them. I also encourage people to try new things. Spend time with people you wouldn’t usually spend time with or visit a place you have never been. You will learn more about yourself than you ever would being by yourself.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be?

The movement would be to promote work-life balance. I think it is important for individuals to leave work at work, and at home, be home! More precisely, many individuals get lost in the minutiae of school and work. People focus so much time on getting things done that they don’t appreciate the moment. I know it’s important to get things accomplished in life, but it is also important to take time and appreciate life. People should appreciate their blessings and the people around them. Don’t let work intervene with your own life experiences.

Please share your favorite Life Lesson quote. How is it relevant to your life?

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” -Mother Teresa. If you ever meet me, you can tell that I have a positive attitude in life. I think the best way to help people, whether it’s through tutoring or any life experience, is to be positive. You can express this attitude in how you present yourself and how you interact with others. I’ve experienced a number of hardships in my life, yet I continue to have a positive attitude and optimistic outlook. As a result, I have received support even when I least expect it, during times of difficulties. When you experience hardships, look at the bright side of the experience. How can this hardship make you grow? By understanding the positive aspects of difficult experiences, we can truly spread love.

Is there a person in the world with whom you would love to have a private lunch and why? He/she might just see this! 🙂

I think it would be awesome to have a private lunch with Steph Curry. I am a huge professional basketball fan and have kept up with Steph since we played college basketball at Davidson. Back then, I thought he wouldn’t succeed in the NBA since we played shooting guard (rather than point guard), a position in which he was too small and not strong enough to play (I mean, he would have to guard against Kobe Bryant). Regardless, Steph completely changed the game of basketball. He switched positions in college and in the NBA, he perfected his shot. He is one of the deadliest shooters in the NBA. Ever since he came to the NBA, now everyone wants to shoot 3-pointers. Teams have had to adapt simply to adjust to this style of basketball. I would love to learn more about how he developed his shooting prowess. Ironically, I have been to about 50 NBA games, but I have yet to see Steph Curry play in person.

University of North Texas portrait of AA, Photographed on 13, September 2019 in Denton, Texas. (Sarah Stevens/UNT Photo)

Thanks, Mickey! We Are So Lucky To Have You On The Team!

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