Angie Lu (she/her) studied the Master of Teaching (Secondary) at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE). Angie was awarded the Kerry Landman Scholarship, which supports high-achieving mathematics graduates who demonstrate a passion for education and wish to train as mathematics teachers. "The scholarship, from the very outset, resonated with a key number of personal values. Mathematics, education and women – these have been reoccurring and motivating features of my entire academic journey thus far," says Angie.
Q. Can you briefly outline your life prior to studying at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
I’m proudly Canberra born and raised. I went to a high school that had a wonderfully loving and encouraging community and demonstrated values of service and leadership.
I then did a four-year undergraduate degree with the University of Sydney, majoring in pure mathematics and English literature. While I was there, I lived at the Women’s College, a female-only residential college, for three years. I also completed a year-long exchange at the University of Helsinki, Finland, in my final year.
I’ve thought about being a teacher since I was ten years old and have wanted to do the Master of Teaching at the University of Melbourne since I was 16.
Can you tell us what you are currently doing?
I’m currently studying full-time with a few private tutoring commitments. I volunteer with the Institute for Enquiring Minds in Melbourne, where I support a mentee with her mathematics interests. We draw upon our shared love of mathematics to help expand her skillset into algorithmic thinking and rudimentary computer science.
Why did you choose to study your main program at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
I wanted nothing more than to engage in a rigorous teacher training program to become the best teacher I could possibly become. The MGSE is consistently ranked as one of the best graduate schools of education, comparable to some of the most prestigious and recognisable universities in the world. It then became not a question of not "if" I wanted to complete a teaching degree with the University of Melbourne, but "how".
Within the Master of Teaching (Secondary), my two learning areas are mathematics and English. Mathematics is my pride and English is my joy. I truly believe that elements of logic, discipline, communication and creativity are so deeply embedded in both disciplines that it was impossible for me to not love, learn and teach both!
What do you enjoy most about studying at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
My MGSE experience has been forever characterised by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. My degree was a lifeline in 2020, allowing me to remain connected to my peers and have a purpose throughout.
I’ve enjoyed and been awed by the range of pathways many of my peers took to get to teaching. Meeting those people and understanding their stories has been a great privilege and it’s been inspiring. It also reaffirms why I’m studying teaching.
What is the most valuable/rewarding aspect of your program?
MGSE's Master of Teaching program has unprecedented access to some of the world’s leading educational academics and schools of thought. Its reputation attracts incredible teacher candidates who are equally invested in both systemic social issues and individual student learning. Combined in one classroom (virtual or face-to-face), the program facilitates an opportunity to learn from the best of the best in Australia. This is the most valuable and rewarding aspect of the Master of Teaching at the MGSE.
Do you mind sharing which scholarship you were awarded?
I was awarded the Kerry Landman Scholarship, which was named after and founded by Kerry herself. Its purpose is to financially support an aspiring mathematics teacher with an interest in encouraging females in mathematics. The scholarship, from the very outset, resonated with a key number of personal values. Mathematics, education and women – these have been reoccurring and motivating features of my entire academic journey thus far.
It has offered me a unique and treasured opportunity to connect with Kerry. It’s through these interactions that I continue to revisit and reconnect as to why I’ve always wanted to be a mathematics teacher. Our interpersonal rapport holds me accountable to our shared values and love of mathematics as outlined by the scholarship. This simultaneously fuels my future ambitions to help generate positive educational reform. Through listening to Kerry’s own experiences, I also continue to contemplate future academic pathways to further qualify myself to better achieve the meaningful impact I’ve always hoped for.
What inspired you to apply for a scholarship at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
It’s always been my family’s most stubborn hope that achieving well academically would be my pathway towards a more financially secure and purposeful life than my parents were able to attain. And yet, the path they envisioned for me was not that of a teacher. After discovering its existence online, I became highly invested in the Kerry Landman Scholarship in the hope it would gift me two types of freedom. Firstly, financially, so that I could commit wholly to achieving my highest potential in my studies. But secondly, personally, so I could prove to myself that what I’ve always wanted was possible and purposeful. The Kerry Landman Scholarship was my dream all neatly packaged and waiting at the MGSE. I couldn’t have been more inspired to apply.
What do you hope is the next step in your life/career?
I intend to find meaningful employment as a mathematics or English teacher (perhaps both!) as soon as I graduate. However, I am committed to the pursuit of excellence and impact. I believe this could lead me to further studies either here in Australia or overseas.
Do you think that your scholarship will benefit you in the next steps in your life/career?
The Kerry Landman Scholarship has been one of the most encouraging and motivating gifts. That said, given the intensity of a post-graduate degree and learning to acclimatise to its academic rigour was as much a shock as it was a challenge. The scholarship has given me the confidence and financial freedom to largely focus on improving myself. The confidence that I have developed because of the scholarship will serve me in all aspects of my life and career.
What change in education are you hoping to bring about or see during your career?
I believe in supporting an education system that supports teachers. I believe in a system that provides strong mentoring relationships, respected discourse, collegiate attitudes and well-resourced opportunities to continue supporting quality teacher occupation. In a sense, I believe that supporting teachers means supporting everything else; student outcomes, wellbeing, community connection and life-long learning. So, whether I can help generate systemic reform or not, it’s this belief that I wholeheartedly wish for.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for your scholarship?
The only advice that I would give to someone thinking of applying for the Kerry Landman Scholarship is to actually apply. I considered not applying for the Kerry Landman Scholarship because I felt that I wasn’t qualified enough. I have more confidence in my love of mathematics than my actual ability of it! But it soon became obvious to me that I’d never receive any of the scholarships I didn’t apply for. It was an important lesson in trying, and the privilege for having done so.
Can you tell us something interesting about yourself?
I’m proudly Canberra born and raised to the point of matriotism. So, after we’ve met and enjoyed a good round of Canberra-bashing together, do allow me an opportunity to show and tell you everything about the place that is worth falling in love with. You won’t ever look back.