Cathy Gaspard says goodbye to Foothill to pursue PhD

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Cathy Gaspard says goodbye to Foothill to pursue PhD

Jocelyn Rodriguez

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Foothill staff member Cathy Gaspard takes leave from her position as a math teacher to focus on her PhD. Credit: Anaika Miller/ The Foothill Dragon Press.

Foothill staff member Cathy Gaspard takes leave from her position as a math teacher to focus on her PhD. Credit: Anaika Miller/ The Foothill Dragon Press.

What do you do when you work full time and on the side you still go to school to get your PhD?

Algebra teacher Cathy Gaspard has been working at Foothill for six years while also trying to earn her graduate degree at UCSB, for the last four years.

In order to focus all her attention to one specific area in her life, Gaspard has decided to give one hundred percent to her doctorate.

“The thought of working full-time (even half time) and trying to write and read full time, would water me down.  How could I do my best at both?” said Gaspard.

After fourteen years of teaching math, Gaspard has debated the idea of returning to school to earn her PhD, due to the love for her students and the impact that it will economically have on her family.

However, since a higher degree will also mean higher wages, the current economic situation will only increase the cost of attending college. Gaspard mentioned, “After 4 years of being in grad school, I am ready to finish and, that’s a big and, my husband, Robert, is behind me 100%.”

The decision to leave Foothill next year surprised many students and faculty who have become part of Gaspard’s life.

“I will miss the hours of contact with all of the amazing people at Foothill. Teachers and students are motivated, not to mention the counselors, office staff, administration, library staff, treasurer, security, custodians and the kitchen staff!  It is a great feeling being surrounded by such amazing people,” said Gaspard.

Gaspard’s students will miss her next year, but understand her decision to leave Foothill.

“It’s sad to think that our teacher is going away. But it also makes us feel better because she still loves us and she’s leaving to better herself and make a difference,” junior Ashley Barrios commented.

“I think it’s amazing that she’s still trying to get more knowledge and trying to spread her plans and ideas to others for the students of the future,” said junior Daniel Garcia.

Once Gaspard finishes her degree, she is uncertain of what she will do.

“You could actually say that my plans are like an algebraic variable – an unknown – no one really knows where they will end up, but I do hope to influence future math educators.”

What do you think?