BY LAUREN FORNINI
As we inch closer to the end of the semester, college activities are beginning to wind down. Finals dates have been released, projects are assigned and professors are notifying students that this will be their “last hoorah.”
Professor Natalie Yang of the business, mathematics, engineering and technologies division, has told her students that this will be her last semester as a full-time faculty member at County College of Morris. It is clear by her students’ reactions that this professor has touched their lives in such a way teachers only dream of.
Yang received her Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics from University of Alabama and went on to complete her master’s degree at University of Kentucky in numerical methods. She first tapped into her love of teaching for two years while on a teaching scholarship in graduate school.
Yang made her debut at CCM in 2004 when her children were older and in school. She has taught courses from remedial math to calculus and economics. During her years at CCM she has had many fond moments to look back on.
“Some of my favorite memories are from committing countless hours volunteering for activities on the CCM campus,” Yang said. “The Festival of the Green, Halloween Happenings, open houses, advising Cadre, Curriculum Committee, and the College Council were some of my favorite things to do.”
All of her contributions in the classroom and in extracurricular activities did not go unnoticed by students and faculty alike. Yang said she received consistent reviews of excellence from the dean, department chair, her peers and her students. After being appointed to the disability board, Phi Theta Kappa, CCM’s honor society, presented her with the first Professor of the Month award in fall 2013.
After reflecting on her career at CCM, there are many things she will miss. She becomes sentimental when discussing her pride and joy: her students.
“Attending graduation where I had a chance to see my students walk across a platform to receive their diplomas is a memory I will never forget. I stood there feeling proud of myself to know I was a part of their success,” Yang said. “When I leave this semester, what I will miss most is the ability to see my students grow as both maturing math thinkers and young adults. All of the memories that I was able to make while connecting with CCM’s population will always stay on my mind.”
Even after leaving, Yang’s love for learning will not end.
“In the future, I plan to go back to school to pursue a doctorate in education and mathematics at Rutgers University,” Yang said. “As I have told my students many times, one can never stop learning.”
Professor Yang touched one student’s life in particular leaving a lasting impression.
“I was lucky for choosing such a wonderful professor for Probability and Statistics,” said Arlene Rivera, a student at CCM. “Her class made me love learning math and it showed me a beauty in math.”
Rivera can recall one specific time when her teacher went above and beyond to help her through a rough patch in the class.
“One evening after hours of frustration, I found myself hesitating to email Professor Yang due to being unnecessarily nervous,” Rivera said. “I emailed her and she immediately replied saying ‘No problem! I can help you get a clear understanding after class anytime!’ We met after class and I ended up in an empty classroom in front of a chalkboard filled with roman numerals. Professor Yang never hesitated to help.”
— Arlene Rivera contributed to this article.