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Graduate Spotlight: Sabrina Fuller

Posted on May 13, 2019

By Holly Walker

A few years ago, if you’d told Sabrina Fuller that she would be pursuing a career that involves math, science and computers, she would have laughed. Those subjects just weren’t on her radar. That changed, however, after a cybersecurity competition and some unexpected revelations made while taking classes and tutoring at John Tyler Community College. Now, as she prepares to graduate from Tyler, Sabrina is busy challenging herself with new experiences, as she champions for more women in science and math.

As she approached the end of her high school studies, Sabrina’s career goals were not fully formed, and she questioned her next steps. In her senior year, she decided to participate in a CyberPatriot competition, and she discovered she really enjoyed problem-solving. Still unsure of what direction to take, Sabrina took a gap year before college and weighed her options. She decided to return to Tyler, where she had taken some English courses during high school. She enrolled in the General Studies, Computer Science Specialization program and knew she would need to quickly face her anxieties about math. As she worked to understand materials in her precalculus class, her professor offered her advice that changed Sabrina’s outlook. That advice: it is okay to view math as difficult, but don’t be afraid of it, because you can learn it if you work the numbers. Sabrina said those words of encouragement opened her eyes, and she realized if she put her innate problem-solving abilities to work, she could figure it out. With a new confidence in her skills, Sabrina applied to become a math tutor in the college’s Academic Resource Center (ARC), and she got hired. “Being in the ARC has helped me grow and master subjects,” she says. “I now realize you don’t really understand a subject until you have to explain it in detail to someone else.” It also helped Sabrina realize how much she likes math and science. She hopes she can inspire other women to pursue careers in those fields. Thanks to one of her professors, Sabrina learned about conference for undergraduate women in physics, and while attending, she found out about another opportunity: a National Science Foundation program that offers students research experiences. She applied to the program and was selected to participate in a multi-week data research project at George Tech. Before she leaves for that summer program, Sabrina will be celebrating her graduation from Tyler and getting ready to start the next chapter of her education at the University of Virginia. #Tyler2019

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