Math makeover

Wright State alum Elizabeth Hachet credits university math program with giving her confidence in AmeriCorps job

Elizabeth Hachet credits her professors at Wright State in the College of Science and Mathematics for her success in her role with AmeriCorps.

Math was never the easiest subject for Elizabeth Hachet. In fact, it tripped her up several times when she was a student at Wright State University.

But today, the Wright State alumna is helping people with their taxes as part of her job at AmeriCorps. And her new-found comfort with math is due in large part to an innovative Wright State program offered by the College of Science and Mathematics designed to increase student success in math by offering “just-in-time” remedial courses in tandem with college credit-bearing classes.

“The program was an excellent fit for me because I needed the extra structure surrounding the math class,” Hachet said. “Additionally, my teachers were amazing. I’ve always been told I wasn’t good at math, but the teachers helped me see past my previous math issues and helped me overcome at least some of my math anxiety.”

Quantitative Reasoning is designed to develop skills meaningful in students’ personal, professional and civic lives. It emphasizes using data to make good decisions and for students to seek out patterns and order when confronted with unfamiliar contexts. The framework helps students develop their communication skills, using mathematics that will be relevant to them throughout their careers.

Many students who have taken the Quantitative Reasoning courses said the remediation portion helped them with the related credit-bearing course, provided more practice and support, and gave them better understanding of the material. A total of 92 percent of the students passed the courses.

At Wright State, Hachet had been required to take a math class as part of her major. She twice enrolled in math classes, but dropped them because of the workload. Then along came Quantitative Reasoning.

“The math class has been really beneficial for me, as I work with taxes,” she said. “And while we don’t often deal with numbers, it’s been great to have some idea of the math terms they’re talking about.”

After graduating in December with a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation, Hachet landed a job with AmeriCorps, which engages volunteers in public service with the support of the federal government, foundations, corporations and other donors.

Hachet serves as an economic opportunity specialist VISTA for the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.

She helps manage seven different tax sites for the region, working with a program that does tax returns for people making less than $54,000 per year.

Hachet’s office not only does taxes, but also recruits volunteers, trains financial coaches, prepares tax sites for the tax season and gives presentations about services. Hachet recently volunteered to make a presentation using some of the skills she learned at Wright State.

Hachet grew up in a small central Ohio village of Mount Sterling, Ohio, moving to Columbus when she was 13. She was home-schooled throughout high school and got her high school diploma from North Atlantic Regional High, an online school. After earning her associate’s degree from Columbus State Community College, she took some time off to work while considering going back to college for her bachelor’s degree.

“Wright State wasn’t on my radar, actually,” she said. “I knew the school existed, but thought it was out of my reach. My sister signed up for a tour and said, ‘I think this is a good school, and you should go with me for the tour.’ I went with her, and it felt like home. So I decided to apply and was accepted.”

Hachet had become interested in helping people with special needs when she worked as a kitchen assistant at Camp Joy, a week-long summer camp that serves campers with special needs. So she decided to major in rehabilitation.

“While I was already independent and had lived on my own after getting an associate’s degree, Wright State helped me regain more independence,” she said. “It helped me develop a good work-life balance, gave me coping strategies to avoid burnout and allowed me to be myself while teaching me the skills to succeed.”

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