a headshot of Simon smiling. He has short black hair, rectangular glasses without frames, and a blue button-down shirt on.

Simon HuynhMath Teacher, The Newman School

Can you describe your career path and how it has led to your current work?

I discovered the enjoyment of learning and teaching mathematics when working as a peer tutor at the Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, Maryland. There, I was very fortunate to have learned from many excellent teachers who nurtured my curiosity and the joy of learning. As I continued to follow my passion and wanted to grow more, I transferred to Penn State University to complete my Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics. At Penn State, I had my first taste of what it is like to do research in math. During my senior year, I wasn't sure whether I should pursue a career in teaching math or one as a researcher. Thus, I followed my senior thesis advisor's advice of going to graduate school. I decided to accept the offer to the Math Ph.D. program at Brandeis due to its rigorous curriculum, great location, and especially the Teaching Apprenticeship Program. I received not only research experience but also significant training in pedagogy. And after 4 years studying at Brandeis, it was clear to me that I wanted to be a math teacher and made the transition from my graduate program to a career in teaching math at an independent high school. In the Fall of 2023, I will officially start my teaching position at the Newman School in Back Bay of Boston.

What advice do you have for current students as they embark on their job search?

Having a good circle of professional connections plays a big role in landing a job. Employers greatly value recommendations and references from people they know and trust. So, I would advise to start reaching out (the earlier the better but it is never too late!) to alumni and people whose jobs you are interested in to learn from them about their positions. In addition, I would also exhaust all of the resources provided by the university's career center. It would have been much harder for me in my job search without the guidance and support I received from career advisor, Marika McCann, and my research advisor, Dr. Thomas Fai.

What skills from your Brandeis degree have you found most valuable in your current work?

I found classroom management, curriculum design, and the understanding of differentiated instruction were some of the most valuable skills I gained from my training at Brandeis.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently as a graduate student that may have made the transition to your career easier?

I wish I could have explored different opportunities in teaching during my time at Brandeis. In addition to teaching college students at Brandeis, I could have looked for summer opportunities to teach middle school or high school students.