Samantha Herman Ownby
1. What are you doing now?
Let me start by saying, I am currently in transition due to a relocation mandated by my husband's need to complete his fellowship in a different city than my original career. I currently live in Atlanta, GA in an apartment with my husband and two dogs. We are both originally from TN. I did my undergraduate work in psychology and minored in mathematics and decided that I wanted to teach high school math and went on to graduate school at UTM. I earned my master's degree in Secondary Education. I taught for three and a half years before moving to Atlanta. Three of those years were spent teaching a variety of mathematics at Hoover High School, just outside of Birmingham, AL. I enjoyed my time there greatly. I taught Algebraic Connections and Geometry my first year and then went on to start the AP Statistics program at Hoover High School by becoming AP certified over the summer of 2008, while continuing to teach Geometry. My favorite involvement with the students was sponsoring the "Make A Change" club developed to celebrate diversity and raise awareness of it in the school and community.
I currently miss teaching, but enjoy my life in Atlanta. I have always dreamt of living in a progressive city full of all different types of people from all kinds of walks of life. So, I feel that my future is "wide open." Maybe I will open my own coffee shop or clothing store in a few years or maybe I will actually find another teaching job. The possibilities are endless with a positive outlook on life.
2. How did UTM Psychology Program help you achieve what you have become?
My favorite classes at UTM were The Psychology of Women, Business Statistics, Psychological Statistics, and my research based classes. One of the teachers that influenced me most at UTM was Dr. Michelle Merwin because of her open-mindedness and ability to open her students' minds to cultures and beliefs that may be outside of their own. She taught me a way to not just accept others, but to try to understand their struggles and be an advocate for myself and others. Also, Ms. Brenda Lackey for her sincere love of math and teaching it to others. She made it fun to learn and I wanted to learn more than what was required, and Dr. Beverly Hearn for teaching me how to be a compassionate teacher that not only teaches, but listens. Also, my advisor, Mr. Johnson helped to encourage me to explore all of my options in terms of a career. While at UTM, I was active in Psychology club, Psi Chi, and Chi Omega.
I often tutored mathematics and I was a mentor at a local middle school. I served as an officer in Psi Chi for a year by being one of the new member coordinators. I also was the lodge director for my sorority for a year. Apparently, I have strong organizational skills because I always got the offices that required me to set up for events. Ha!
3. What advice would you give to students who are thinking about becoming UTM psychology majors?
I think many students that become psychology majors choose it as their major because they have a compassion for helping others or they are interested in human behavior. I believe that those are great reasons to become a psychology major, and possibly a requirement, but I believe that if you want to make a career out of the major of psychology, you must realize that there is so much more to it than that. It is not easy and many times undergraduate students change their minds, but there are so many more ways to use psychology than becoming a psychologist or researcher. It shaped who I am as a person and really opened my mind. I think it is part of why I decided I wanted to teach Statistics because I was able to see the "real life" application in its use in psychological research.