Being a Mathnasium instructor changed Talya Rejtman’s life forever. Not because she was voted Mathnasium’s 2017 “Instructor of the Year,” although that’s also true. It’s because it gave her the foundational understanding and love of math that she would use to pursue her dreams in a new career.
“I wish I had a Mathnasium when I was growing up; it would have made calculus less painful,” she said. “I would memorize the formulas, but the next week I would forget all of it. I didn’t have a strong foundation or understanding of the concepts. Now, thanks to Mathnasium, I do.”
Talya’s path toward Mathnasium began just a few years ago, while she studied zoology in college. Talya and her best friend opened a chapter of Roots and Shoots, the Jane Goodall Institute’s youth-led program to improve local communities. They taught local elementary students about animals and plants and helped the kids with science projects. That experience gave Talya the skills to take challenging information and make it exciting, relevant, and easy for kids to understand.
This ability made Talya a natural fit to be a Mathnasium instructor. After she graduated in 2016, Mathnasium of New Tampa offered her a spot on their team. The center’s owners, Julie and Matt Williamson, and the assistant director, Autumn Carroll, took her under their wings. Talya rose to every challenge she was given. Soon she was acting as a head instructor, interacting with parents, and managing the center when the directors were unavailable.
Given Talya’s age, she was truly shocked when she was named “Instructor of the Year” at Mathnasium’s 2017 Annual Convention, which was held in Los Angeles.
“I was terrified to walk onto the stage by myself,” she recalled, “but when I got up there, Julie, Matt and Autumn stood up. All of a sudden there was a standing ovation, and my fear disappeared. I felt this incredible sense of support. I was happy and excited and so grateful. And completely overwhelmed. Having that many people clapping and standing...for me? It couldn't be real.”
Just a few months later, in October, Talya moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to be near her family. Local Mathnasium center owner Mo Khalil, whom she had met at the convention along with “many, many other inspiring franchise owners,” gave her a spot in one of the centers he owns. He knew it would be only for a few months, because Talya had decided on a new career direction in the health services—using her math, science, and teaching skills to help others.
“Mathnasium strengthened my STEM foundation,” she said, “and now I want to have a career where I’m using STEM on a daily basis through health care.”
Her goal is to become a nurse anesthetist. She has started taking the prerequisite classes needed to enter a 16-month Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, called a “second-degree BSN.”
“A lot of people don’t have the science background to understand their diagnoses. I want to use my skills to explain hard concepts to my patients one day—what their bodies are going through—in ways they understand.”
“When you look back at things, you see the patterns and how things relate. I can see where my interests took me. Even though I decided not to pursue a career at Mathnasium, I’m really grateful for the skills I learned there, because it’s really going to help me be a better nurse.”