Melanie Fields, Ph.D., is a native Texan who has called Hunt County home for many years.
She was an average student throughout high school who did not love mathematics until she came to Commerce. In fact, she almost dropped out of her program early. Were it not for Professors Reinhart and Faulkenberry, Fields says, she would not have completed her education or earned her doctorate.
Now she is a professor and coordinator for the LeoTeach STEM program where she pays it forward by guiding students in the same way she was mentored years ago. She understands and can help her students who may struggle at times and wonder if they will complete their program. According to Fields, being part of A&M-Commerce—first as a student, and now as a professor—is the best decision she has ever made.
A Conversation with Melanie Fields
What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?
A&M-Commerce is a great place to be! Two questions to consider are “What do/did you enjoy in high school?” and “What do you want to study?” Make sure A&M-Commerce has the program you are looking for and that we are a good fit for you. A&M-Commerce has a beautiful campus and an involved community. You will develop and grow through your relationships, whether you participate in sororities or fraternities, student organizations or assist one of your professors in research. Your professors get to know you and help you solve real-world problems during your time at A&M-Commerce.
What draws you to your discipline?
I was welcomed when I began my journey at East Texas State University as a non-traditional student. This feeling of belonging is something I share with my students from the time I meet them to the time they leave A&M-Commerce. I enjoy taking part in the preparation of our secondary level teachers who will serve middle and high school students in school districts within a 60-mile radius. A&M-Commerce is a major part of developing the best teachers who stay and work in local school districts where our kids deserve the best education possible. I like my gig.
What has been your favorite course to teach?
I have two courses that are my favorite to teach. The first one is SED 330 Foundations in Secondary Education, where our students engage in a field experience within a local middle school. Through this experience, our students know where their future students have been in terms of social and academic development and are better equipped to educate them from the first day of school.
The second course is SED 404/405 Secondary Practicum/Residency. During this course, our students gain experience while teaching in a secondary classroom. They learn first-hand the challenges and rewards throughout the instructional day.
Tell us about a project you are currently working on or recently completed.
I have been studying the LeoTeach STEM program to determine the impact of how successful our program has been in the last seven years.
Some of the questions to be answered include:
- Are they still in the field?
- Where do they work?
- Are they using the knowledge they have learned?
- How has their career developed since graduating from A&M-Commerce?
Working with my graduate assistant, gathering the data is almost complete. The next step is to send out another survey, which will finish our data collection. Then, we will analyze the gathered data to see what the program’s reach looks like based on survey respondents. I will begin observations this fall as the next phase of this project begins.
What do you enjoy doing when you have time to relax?
Camping with my husband and our three children who are now seniors in high school. Our love of camping began when we sold our boat and bought a camper. We like to camp in areas like Lake Texoma. At the campsite, we unplug and enjoy walking the trails, biking or playing games like UNO. We make s’mores over the campfire while we relax. Our next destination will be somewhere in Arkansas. We enjoy local events like Music on the Lawn Wednesday.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
My husband and I are proud of our three high school seniors. One of our daughters is going to study to become a veterinarian, hopefully, beginning at A&M-Commerce. Our other daughter is joining the Navy to be part of their medical division. Our son is also joining the armed services in the Air Force.
- Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, University of North Texas, 2015
- M.Ed., Secondary/Mathematics Education, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2011
- B.S., Interdisciplinary Studies Mathematics 4-8, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2007