Jessica Striker, assistant professor of mathematics
Published October 2017
Jessica Striker wants to unlock each of her students’ mathematics skills with energy and enthousiasm. She loves mentoring students and helping them realize their potential. And students love her classes.
Striker’s interactive and engaging approach has helped her become a highly-respected and successful teacher since arriving at NDSU in 2013. She teaches a variety of mathematics courses that range from calculus to combinatorics, her research specialty. Striker earned bachelor’s, masters and doctorate degrees at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE YOUR PROFESSION?
I’ve always loved math; I’m astounded by the order an beauty of abstract mathematics and math’s profound ability to describe the universe, from the movement of galaxies to the motion of atoms. I love both discovering new mathematical truths and communicating mathematics enthusiastically to others; being a math professor allows me to combine these two passions.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT TEACHING?
I enjoy helping students see the wonder and beauty of math. In calculus, students play with infinity for the first time, and I love guiding them in this exploration. I most enjoy sparking students’ curiosity and hearing them ask insightful questions.
WHAT DRIVES YOU AS AN EXCELLENT INSTRUCTOR?
I believe that every student can understand and do mathematics. I am motivated to help every student rise to their potential and succeed.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I enjoy mentoring students, especially in research projects in which they explore a slice of mathematics in depth and perhaps even discover something new!
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TEACHING STYLE?
My teaching style is energetic and interactive. I’ve been exploring ways to engage students, helping them figure out solutions for themselves rather than providing all the answers.
HOW DO YOU CONNECT WITH STUDENTS?
I like to tell my students stories. I also encourage my students to get to know each other. It helps a large class seems smaller when students feel like they know the personality of their instructor and can work well with their peers.
WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON TRAIT OR TRAITS OF SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS?
Successful students are tenacious. They work hard until they completely understand a topic and then they keep working to solidify their newly gained knowledge.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST MOMENT OF YOUR TEACHING CAREER SO FAR?
At the end of each semester, I challenge my students to write a poem about the mathematics they learned that semester. My students have blown me away with these poems, both by their creativity and the degree to which I can see they have appreciated something beautiful from the mathematics they have learned.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR STUDENTS?
Students rise to meet high expectations when they feel they are valued as people. I have learned from their encouragement to be more confident in my instruction.
WHAT IS SOMETHING EVERY STUDENT SHOULD EXPERIENCE BEFORE THEY GRADUATE FROM NDSU?
Every student should endeavor to experience and be a positive contributor toward community at NDSU, within their classes, their major, clubs and activities.
WHAT MAKES NDSU A SPECIAL PLACE?
Students, faculty, and staff make NDSU a special place. Because of its people, NDSU has large school opportunities combined with small school values.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NDSU TRADITION?
It’s fun to see the students take pictures by the bison statue, both when they first come to campus and then in their graduation robes!