Kiley Pooler didn’t like math that much in high school.
But at College of DuPage, she enrolled in a business calculus class and enjoyed it. Pooler then took Calculus I and realized she wanted to learn more. She also enjoyed helping her friends with their math homework.
“When I was growing up, people would tell me I should be a teacher, so I’ve decided why not teach math?” she said. “When I figure out problems, I get excited. I know that people don’t like math because they think it’s boring. I want to be a teacher and show people that you use math in whatever profession you go into. I want students to realize how you can use your math skills and apply them to the real world.”
Pooler initially wasn’t sure where to attend college. She applied for the Presidential Scholarship at College of DuPage – which includes full tuition – and received it.
Still, she was reluctant about selecting COD.
“All of my friends were going to their dream schools,” she said. “But now I know I am so fortunate to have gone to COD. There are so many opportunities that I would not have had anywhere else. For example, I was the Student Leadership Council president, and none of my friends were student body president at their schools as sophomores.
“COD has so much diversity, and it gave me a new perspective on life. I learned a lot about myself, and I discovered that I’m more adventurous than I thought I was. I also learned it’s OK to say ‘no’ and put yourself first.”
As a Presidential Scholar, Pooler was invited to a Living Leadership retreat, which led to a multitude of opportunities. She also worked in the office of Student Life and met her best friends there.
After earning her associate degree, Pooler transferred to the University of Illinois and earned a bachelor’s degree in Teaching of Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. While there, she was president of the Student Education Association, which is affiliated with the Illinois Education Association and the National Education Association, and played women’s rugby, which she found both fun and empowering.
Pooler was also a Golden Apple Scholar, which provided professional development and assisted with job placement.
“The scholarship required that I teach for five years in a school of need in Illinois upon graduation, which was fine with me because I wanted to do this anyway and there are so many schools in need,” she said.
She currently is a math teacher at Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago. While her first year has been challenging due to COVID-19, she found a sense of balance and is taking the time to better her teaching practices.
Pooler loves College of DuPage and isn’t shy about letting others know how she feels.
“People need to understand you’re an adult at COD and it’s a real college,” she said. “I liked the small class sizes and the professors were always willing to help. I was able to talk to my math teachers at COD and find my path.
“I would tell others to get involved and don’t be afraid to talk to anyone. Everyone is willing and open, and it creates a better sense of community.”