#FCGradStories feature: Annabelle Lassiter
Aug 2, 2023
by Anna Boone
The bond between a professor and student is something Flagler College values as an element of transformative education, and it was something that defined Annabelle Lassiter’s experience as a Saint.
Freshman year, Lassiter took an 8 a.m. statistics class with Professor Carrie Grant that proved to be a valuable catalyst. It was the beginning of path toward an unrealized passion in mathematics and long-term goal of becoming a college professor herself one day.
“All my roommates were dead asleep at 8 a.m. and I was up and ready,” Lassiter said. “The dining hall opens at 7:30 a.m., and I was always the first one there so I could eat something before class. I would to Professor Grant’s class so awake, so ready, and in the front row.”
If her love for math wasn’t obvious by a willingness to do it early in the morning of her first semester at college, Lassiter said math classes in high school were also the highlight of her day.
“I actually took two math classes one year, and everybody thought I was crazy- I took AP Statistics as an elective,” she said.
Lassiter was a declared Elementary Education major at the time, but it didn’t take Professor Grant long to pick up on Lassiter’s enthusiasm for the field of mathematics. At the time, Flagler had not yet launched its Mathematics program, but Grant encouraged Lassiter to look into the Secondary Education in Mathematics major.
“That was not something I had considered beforehand, but it seemed so obvious after she suggested it,” Lassiter said.
Following her freshman year, Grant became Lassiter’s permanent academic advisor. In addition to seeking counsel from Grant as a mentor, Lassiter said she took a class with Grant every semester for the first two and a half years of her college experience.
“I took every class that I possibly could with her,” she said.
Flagler’s Mathematics major became available after Lassiter had committed to Secondary Education in Mathematics, but she said Grant came to her again with advice that shifted her even more into alignment with her passions.
“She told me, ‘Hey, we're adding this new thing. It's only going to be a couple extra classes for you since you're already a secondary math education major, you should really look into it’,” Lassiter said.
She was hesitant at first, worried attempting to dual major by also seeking a bachelor’s degree in math would put her behind schedule to graduate on time.
But with the advising of Grant and diligent work, Lassiter not only graduated on time, but she was also able to hold multiple internships throughout college. The first position she held was as a math tutor in the Learning Resource Center (LRC) where she honed the skills she was accumulating as a Secondary Education in Math major.
“It's different to know how to do math yourself versus knowing how to teach someone how to do math,” Lassiter said.
This distinction, as well as her aspirations to teach math at a collegiate level, were the main drivers for her decision to dual major and continuously seek teaching experience. She even instructed as an online LRC math tutor during the pandemic.
“Working in the Learning Resource Center, in part online, helped me a lot in terms of learning how to teach math- not just do math,” Lassiter said.
Seeing her passion develop and her skillsets grow through experiences like her LRC internship, Grant offered Lassiter a work-study internship with the newly formed Math Department during the summer before her senior year.
In this position, Lassiter was tasked with research and groundwork to help in the development of Flagler’s Data Science Program. She said some of her work involved cross examining other institutions’ data science programs and keying in on what would make Flagler’s program as successful and competitive as possible.
During her last semester at Flagler, Lassiter completed her Secondary Education in Math requirements with a student teacher internship with 8th grade Algebra Honors and Pre-Algebra classes at Fruit Cove Middle School.
“Getting to do that with the support of having another teacher in the room who is well seasoned and knows what she's doing has been really great,” Lassiter said.
Now that she’s graduated, Lassiter says she plans to keep in touch with all the talented women in Flagler’s mathematics majors who she has formed quite a strong bond with over the past four years. In addition to her peers, Lassiter said- even though she jokes about it- she will truly miss sitting in Professor Grant’s classes.
While Lassiter jokes about her absence from Grant’s classroom: “What are you going to do when you don’t see my face every day?!,” she knows she’s developed a mentor relationship that will always be available to her.
“It was always nice to have an excuse to talk with her,” Lassiter said.
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