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WGU Graduate Speaker, Monica Virgil, Winter 2013

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Monica Virgil, Winter 2013
Western Governors University
<p>Online Master's in Mathematics Education graduate Monica Virgil of Montgomery, Alabama, earned her degree through hard work and dedication - and it helped her open her own math tutoring business, a dream come true for her and her family. She shared her story as a speaker at WGU's winter 2013 commencement ceremony at Philips Arena, Atlanta, February 9, 2013.</p> <p>Monica Virgil earned her Master of Arts, Mathematics Education degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Good morning. I would like to start by giving thanks to my Lord in heaven, who I give credit for all my blessings. [Applause] My husband, Jared, and my children, [Inaudible] for loving, supporting, encouraging me through my many endeavors. My late mother, Mattie M. Hill for loving me unconditionally, and my father for instilling the importance of a higher education and giving me endless encouragement. Lastly, my extended family, friends, fellow students, and acquaintances that have sown positive words and deeds into my life.</p> <p>Okay. After two unsuccessful attempts to finish graduate school, I found WGU streaming across my email as a banner ad. I recall reading "WGU. Accredited, accelerated, and affordable." Those three words grabbed my attention. And to my pleasant surprise, WGU had what seemed to be the perfect graduate program that would fit into my busy life.</p> <p>After about three short weeks of my initial inquiry, I was enrolled as a WGU graduate student, gleaming with excitement. I was well on my way to achieving one of my greatest educational goals. My eagerness and excitement helped me at the beginning of my enrollment. Seemed like a breeze. I remember my first mentor, Amy Fullerton. Amy assisted me into a smooth transition from being a wife, mom, and full time teacher to adding one more meaningful task to my plate. As we all know, the excitement of most things do eventually simmer down and reality sets in.</p> <p>After my introductory course was over, the real challenge hit me dead between the eyes with rigid force. The curriculum was very rigorous to say the least. As a teacher I understood that this is the best way to learn. Understanding higher-level mathematics is a challenge in itself, but coming with creative strategies to teach it was cruel and unusual punishment.</p> <p>My family can attest to the many times I would go to bed sobbing with frustration because I didn't completely understand the given assignment. Don't get me wrong, WGU provided me with ample resources, but that didn't take away from the challenge of the whole program. And I do want to add, despite my challenge, WGU's program fit my passion for the subject of mathematics which adds to my drive to teach my students to become world class critical thinkers.</p> <p>I am deeply enriched with a curriculum that gave mathematics a great deal of relevance. I remember completing the task that asked me to use the fundamental theorem of calculus to explain how a policeman's radar gun proves that you're speeding. I am convinced that I'm going to use that knowledge to get out of paying a speeding ticket one day. Now that's irrelevant. [Laughter]</p> <p>But on a more serious note, I truly believe if WGU didn't exist, I would not have a graduate degree in math education. Because of the flexibility of the program, being married to a man that serves in the military, and moving twice did not cause me to lose valuable credits. During my husband's second deployment in Iraq, I decided to move back to Atlanta with my two kids. Simultaneously I was taking three courses, studying for the practice II exam, looking for a job, and looking for a place to live. I believe it was nothing less than a miracle for me to successfully accomplish all of this in less than two months. I am also proud to say that I passed the practice II test for math high school teacher the first time. Anyone knows the difficulty of this task recognizes that it is a notable feat.</p> <p>Toward the end of my program, where I completed my capstone project, I was presented with a new opportunity and challenge. I decided to move again to join my husband in Alabama where he recently took a new position. My mentor, Rachel Deedee confirmed I indeed had extremely challenging task ahead of me when I informed her of this. So she assured me that I could do it. And she would be there every step of the way to help. I'd like to thank you, Rachel for your wonderful encouragement and being there to keep me on track toward finishing.</p> <p>While preparing to move to Alabama, my husband and I explored an opportunity of me opening my own math tutoring center. The whole process from start to finish was hard work to say the least. But I loved every minute of it. I recall having my laptop in a hotel working on my WGU capstone in the evenings, while training in the great city of Los Angeles, where the Mathnasium headquarters is located.</p> <p>Even as I speak to you today, I can hardly believe how empowered I have become because of the WGU experience and what it has prepared me to accomplish. This program prepares you to effectively manage your time, be there to support your family, and accomplish your dreams. Isn't that the recipe for success? When there was a will, WGU helped me make a way. I sought out to get a degree, but I ended up getting so much more. Now I can say I am a WGU graduate, mother, wife, and business owner, living out my dreams. And most importantly, I am a child of God living out my purpose. Thank you very much.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)