Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Peggy Manchester
Dr. Peggy Manchester Earns Ph.D.
There were days she wanted to give up on her 10 year quest to achieve her doctorate. "Sometimes life got in the way, but I'm not a quitter," said Dr. Peggy Manchester, who graduated with her Ph.D. in May. "I'm ecstatic to be done." Her dissertation, which focused on young children, was titled Young Children Conceptualize Relationships Among Positive and Negative Numbers and Zero.
She said although sometimes difficult, she found her research very interesting. "I studied four to eight-year-olds and explored their ability to conceptualize the concept of negative numbers," she explained. "I was surprised, because even the youngest child had some understanding of the concept of deficit." Dr. Manchester told of one seven-year-old boy who drew a frowning President Lincoln on three pennies to show he was short three cents. "The kids didn't know how to handle a deficit, but they definitely understood it," she said.
A life-long learner who has always enjoyed mathematics, Dr. Manchester began working at Kent State University at Salem after one of her professors encouraged her to do so. "I was attending classes here (Kent State Salem) to keep up my certificate," she said, explaining that at that point in her career she was teaching at high schools part-time. "My professor thought that I might enjoy teaching developmental mathematics at the college level, and suggested I do so part-time. I did, and I really enjoy it." A similar experience occurred during studies for her master's degree; one of her professors encouraged her to teach mathematics education courses as well. In addition to teaching developmental mathematics courses, Dr. Manchester teaches algebra, calculus and mathematics education courses for future teachers "It's nice to mix it up a little," she said.
Dr. Manchester has always enjoyed working with students. "I like to see where my students are at," she said. "I teach for understanding; I ask the 'why' before I give them the 'how.' Making her classes very interactive and keeping lecture to a minimum helps her students to 'get it.' "I like to hear a student say 'it finally makes sense," she said. "But it's a give and take." With small class sizes, Dr. Manchester is able to get to know most of her students. Oftentimes her students return to tell her where they used a concept she taught, or to catch her up on their whereabouts. "I try to make a difference in their lives," she said.
Her advice to her students and others: If someone sees potential in you, maybe follow their suggestion. "Sometimes people see something in you that you don't see," she said.