It was Santa Clara's small size and the full basketball scholarship she was offered that initially attracted Garrison to the Mission campus. But it was her work in the mathematical field of topology that has shaped her career.
As an undergraduate research assistant for associate math professor Rick Scott, Garrison wrote computer programs to study mathematical relationships. She and Scott published a paper together on their research in topology and differential geometry – quite an achievement for an undergraduate.
"The research opportunities at Santa Clara are great because they are very personalized," she says. "My experience at Santa Clara was fantastic. The education that you receive in small classes with faculty members dedicated to teaching is superb."
Garrison says that publishing the paper was the first of many experiences that showed her "the enormity and complexity of the field of mathematics."
While her experiences at Santa Clara helped her taste success in the discipline, she saw many student struggle when she was a high school math teacher in the Seattle area. "My desire to know more about how students learn math and to help more students become successful in the field led me to pursue a graduate degree in mathematics education," she says.
Garrison is currently a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, studying mathematics education, and intends to get a doctorate.
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