Dr. Dana Vazzana
Dr. Dana Vazzana
Associate Professor of Mathematics
B.S., Mathematics-University of Illinois
Ph.D., Mathematics-University of Michigan
Honors or recognition:
Golden Apple Teaching Award 2006
William O’Donnell Lee Advising Award 2007
What attracted you to teaching at Truman?
During my interview at Truman, I had an opportunity to meet for half an hour with a few of the Truman mathematics majors. They were just outstanding; very bright, funny, and interesting people. I knew right then that I wanted to work at Truman and spend my teaching hours with great students like these!
What do you think makes Truman unique?
Truman is a special place. Faculty spend many more hours per week here meeting with students than at the other institutions I’ve known. The students are bright and hardworking, and in general they seem to be more inclined to help each other out than to compete against one another. Sometimes I will have a large crowd of students in my office when a test is near, and the students will then work together to answer each others’ questions while they wait for their turns to meet with me. Sometimes they figure it all out on their own before I even have a chance to help them.
What do you like best about teaching at Truman?
The focus at Truman is, above all, on student learning. I think we have our priorities in the right order here.
What has been your greatest accomplishment or success while teaching at Truman?
In the spring of 2008, Truman was awarded a National Science Foundation grant of $600,000 for scholarships and activities to encourage financially needy students to pursue degrees in mathematics and computer science. I was on the team of six faculty members who authored the grant proposal, and now I have the opportunity several times a year to deliver the exciting news to a student, "You’ve won a $5,000 scholarship!" It makes me feel like Ed McMahon.
What graduate schools are some of your former students attending?
Indiana University, University of North Carolina, Iowa State University
What careers have some of your former students entered?
Actuarial science, consulting, teaching, financial advising, programming
What do you like best about living in Kirksville?
When I first moved to Kirksville, I remember many instances of being in a grocery store or on the street and having people pass me with a smile and a friendly greeting. I would always think, "Wait, do I know this person? If not, then why did they just talk to me?" It took a while before I got used to the fact that in Kirksville, many people who don’t actually know you will nevertheless smile and say hello when they see you. The weather here is also generally very nice, and I enjoy the fact that I can drive anywhere in town in less than ten minutes.