As a student sits in most algebra classes he or she cannot help but notice the vast majority of students are male. When Tatyana Pavluscenco, associate professor of mathematics, asks who is taking calculus next semester, out of the eight hands that go up, only two are female. It makes one wonder if this is mere coincidence or if this plays a major part in the gap between women and men in science or math careers.
Graduate of Moldova State University in the former Soviet Republic with a BS/MS in mathematics and education, Pavluscenco is one of only two female math professors on the Georgia Highlands Marietta campus. Though, even as a child her passion was to become a teacher, math was not the field that she dreamed of going into.
“I have always been a little intimidated by math and leaned more toward literature and languages,” said Pavluscenco. Her parents ended up making the decision for her to change her major to theoretical math.
This decision by her parents soon became one that she is happy with. “I cannot fathom a more rewarding occupation,” says Pavluscenco.
She became a full time math professor at the Marietta campus in 2005. Her teaching style is very hands-on.
According to Pavluscenco, Georgia Highlands’ male to female teacher ratio in the math division is 50/50. This percentage is outstanding considering the national statistics on women and men in science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) careers. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, women represent less than 25% of STEM jobs in the United States.
Women with STEM degrees are more likely to go into education or healthcare according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Pavluscenco holds a position that is not necessarily associated with women but stands strong in her position.
She sets a standard. “My advice is to be disciplined, optimistic and use all possible resources to help you learn-follow your passion and don’t give up,” says Pavluscenco.