Alumni Spotlight

Kate Degner graduated with her BA in Secondary Mathematics Education in 2003, and her MA in Mathematics in 2009. She currently teaches for the Maquoketa Community School District. She teaches various courses in mathematics, including Calculus I and II, College Algebra, and Pre-Calculus through Clinton Community College. 

“I’m also an administrator for the Belin Blank Center’s summer Secondary Student Training Program at the University of Iowa,” said Degner. “My husband (Matt Degner 2002 BA) and I live in the Quad Cities.”

After leaving UNI, Degner taught mathematics in public schools for seven years. She has continued her education and was published in a mathematics textbook.

“I went back to school to earn my PhD in Curriculum and Supervision and Mathematics Education from the University of Iowa,” said Degner. “I served as an author for the third edition revision of the University of Chicago Mathematics Project Algebra text-book (2005).”

Beyond the classroom, she has worked with the National Center of Education Statistics and the University of Iowa.

“I was selected to work with the National Center of Education Statistics to analyze restricted use data recently released as part of the last NAEP assessment,” said Degner.” “I also had a fellowship at the University of Iowa in the College of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning for two years. I enjoy working with high school students, and getting to know them as individuals,” said Degner. “I like talking to them about their future ambitions, and I think high school students are really a lot of fun to work with.”

Her interest in high school education has extended into her research as well.

“My dissertation looked for a relationship between particular parent behaviors and level of mathematics course taking in high school, according to socio-economic status,” said Degner. “Currently, I’m interested in the way that disbursing Title I funding in schools can impact Title I students level of mathematics course taking in high school. I’ve spoken at a variety of conferences including MMC, ICTM (Illinois and Iowa), MCTM (Minnesota) and the NCTM conference in Philadelphia last year.”

One of the best experiences for Kate at UNI was creating great relationships with the professors, particularly in the mathematics department.

“I’ve had some of my mathematics professors come to my schools to team teach lessons to my students. I’ve always felt comfortable emailing past professors about questions. I emailed Dr. Shaw with a calculus question just last week!  The willingness of the mathematics department as a whole to be so helpful and stay connected, even ten years after my graduation has really set a great example for me and the kind of teacher I want to be for my students,” said Degner.

In Kate’s free time, she enjoys cooking and reading. Recently, she has picked up the hobby of running, but she likes races better than training. She also has been a high school cheerleading coach for ten years. When teaching, she enjoys working with the students one on one. She has three children (Jack, six; Liz, five; Alice one).

“I can’t imagine that I’d still be so excited about my profession had it not been for the experiences and people I worked with while I was there,” said Degner.