Faculty Stories: Kathy Nickell

Jim Allen

Program: Mathematics

It's no surprise that Kathy Nickell loves mathematics. You could say it's in her genes.

"My grandmother was a math major in college and actually taught Algebra at a small school in Texas," Nickell explained. "From a very early age, I was constantly encouraged to explore mathematics by her as well as my entire family."

She was also challenged by excellent mathematics teachers throughout her early academic life, providing the support and confidence she needed to succeed. Nickell provides that same support and promotes confidence in students taking her math classes at College of DuPage.

"Let's face it: Not many students at COD want to take mathematics," she said. "But learning mathematics is learning an organized thought process which helps you to succeed in life. Learning mathematics requires good study skills and, in most cases, a lot of hard work. Hopefully, my students learn that with these skills and hard work comes success."

Following graduate school, Nickell worked as a systems engineer for Southwestern Bell Company. She accepted the position with the anticipation of someday becoming an instructor in their training facility. However, a few years later, she began teaching part-time at Brookhaven Community College in Dallas.

"The position soon became full time and I realized that community college teaching was my passion," she said. "We moved to the Chicago area in 1987 and at that time I began teaching at the College of DuPage.

"Each day presents a new challenge and each day is filled with many rewards. Teaching affords the opportunity to be a 'life-long learner,' which keeps me feeling vibrant and alive. The more I learn, the more I want to teach ... it is addictive. Success does not come easy, but once achieved, the rewards are infinite!"

More about Mathematics at College of DuPage