Mathematics Instructor April Picard earned a B.S. in mathematics education from ULM in 1999 and a M.Ed. in secondary education (with an emphasis on mathematics) from ULM in 2004.
I grew up in West Monroe. There were several reasons to choose ULM. I've always been fond of ULM because my dad is an alumnus, and it is close to home. I visited the campus many times as a child and teenager to attend football and basketball games, and I liked the atmosphere. The main reason I chose ULM was because of its academic reputation in my field of study. When I decided to major in mathematics education, I knew ULM was the place for me.
As a student, my favorite spot on campus was in the dining area between Chick-fil-A and the pool hall/bowling alley in the old Student Union Building. My boyfriend, now husband, and I would sit in the dining area in the SUB, eat Chick-fil-A for lunch, work on homework, and people-watch.
I love my job. I feel like I am where I am meant to be, and I feel like I do make an impact on my students. As a Christian, I depend on God to lead me on a path to fulfill my purpose in this world, and I am fully convinced I was called by Him to be a teacher. In that calling, I focused on secondary education mainly because that is where I felt I would have the biggest impact on the world. Through a series of events, I found my way back to ULM. Doors were opened for me, and I walked through them.
I had exceptional instructors and professors during my tenure as an undergraduate student at ULM. Of course, the ones I remember most vividly were my math professors. Suzy Seeber, who I now have the privilege of calling my colleague, had the biggest influence on me. Every word that exited her mouth was crystal clear and made perfect sense. I am wired to “follow the rules,” so I was always good at math because I learned and followed the rules in problem solving. Suzy changed my approach to math because she helped me understand why those rules worked. I now use my knowledge base and start with what I know, make connections, and find the solution to the problem.
If I had to describe ULM in three words, those words would be: progressive, potential, essential.
If I had a vanity plate for my car, it would be: MathRox. One thing most people don't know about me is that I recently volunteered to be the director of the children’s choir at my church. The choir only practices during the school year and performs twice a year. Teaching music and drama to 60 1st – 5th graders is a bit beyond my level of expertise, but I enjoy every minute of it especially since I recruited my closest friends to be my support team every Wednesday night. Sometimes we must step out of our comfort zone to fill a need and enrich the lives of our children.
My advice for young female professionals would be do not let anything or anyone hinder you from achieving your goals. Have confidence in your abilities, choose a profession you are passionate about and love, do your best at all you do, even if you are not praised or compensated for it. Do not compromise your morals or your beliefs and always be fair. Be who you are in all aspects of your life.
I want students to leave my classroom being encouraged and knowing they can accomplish the goals they set for themselves, but knowing it will take hard work, dedication, and determination. Through that hard work and determination, I hope they find an appreciation for mathematics and maybe even a love for it. At the very least, if I could stop the hatred of math, I would feel accomplished. Nothing worth having is free or easy.