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NIC Member Spotlight: Yolanda Manzano

  • Posted by Marley Arechiga
  • On February 27, 2018

What’s black and blue and Ved all over? That would be math professor by day, roller derby player by night, Yolanda Manzano, or “Machete Vedder” as she’s known on the track.

Manzano is a math professor at Richland College in Dallas, Texas and has been teaching Statway there for nearly six years. Raised in a family of educators, the idea of becoming one herself was never too far out of reach.

“[Teaching] was always a thing, but I wasn’t thinking it would be for me,” she said. “I started studying engineering and didn’t really like it. Then I majored in business, but the only thing I liked was my math class.”

Manzano ultimately graduated with a bachelor’s in math and physics from St. Mary’s University. The idea of teaching piqued her interest as an undergraduate student teacher. After earning a master’s in statistics from Baylor University, she decided that she didn’t want a career crunching numbers in the finance or business fields, and went on to earn a master’s in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington.

While she doesn’t like to bring her secret roller derby identity into the classroom, she recalls one day when she had no choice.

“I was hit accidentally in the face once and got a black eye…so I told [my students],” she said. “I used it as a growth mindset analogy. I told them when I first started trying to learn new turns and moves and stops, I kept falling. Our coach used to tell us, ‘if you’re not falling you’re not learning.’ And it’s the same thing in Statway. Every time you do it, you’re getting better at it.”

Beyond teaching Statway in the classroom, Manzano has been involved with the Framework for Improving Teaching (FIT) team, the pathways online committee, and the curriculum committee and one of its subgroups, the social justice curriculum group. She is also currently teaching the first-ever Statway corequisite course at Richland College.

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