Emily Hoard

Emily Hoard

What’s your name, major and where are you from?

My name is Emily Hoard and I’m from Metropolis, IL (the home of Superman!). I’m currently a graduate student in the mathematics department working on my master's degree.

Are you part of any clubs, sports, or student organizations? Do you have a job?

I work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the math department here at OSU, and I am also a private tutor. Occasionally I drop into the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) meetings, but haven’t been able to attend regularly for awhile.

Why did you choose Oregon State?

When I was going through the application cycle for graduate school, I actually applied to OSU on a bit of a whim—I never thought I’d end up going here. But after I visited and was able to see the city and the campus (and all the hiking opportunities), and got to meet graduate students already in the program, I fell in love. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else after that!

What’s an expectation you had before coming here and how did it turn out?

I expected that moving here (about 2500 miles from home) would give me a great opportunity for personal growth, and that was spot on. I knew that moving to a new place with no built in support system would be difficult, and the first couple of years proved particularly challenging as I began the process of finding friends and building a community. The people I’ve met through
the math department, and through Circle Church of Christ, have helped me grow and mature and overcome many difficulties.

Now in my fourth year in the program, I’m hoping that I can use my experience to help other students and young adults find their way through difficulties and find a place they feel like they fit.

If you were leading a campus tour, what’s one thing you’d want to mention?

I’d definitely want to highlight the gym on campus. Staying active has been a huge part of my college and graduate life, and OSU has a great facility. The gym has a solid distribution of equipment, and also offers classes to help people get involved in a community (or to serve as a bit of extra motivation!).

How do you want to make a difference in our community? This could be current or in the future.

In short, I want to be an example by following the example some amazing people have set for me. When I moved here, I was welcomed into various communities and even though I was far from home, I quickly felt like I fit. I want to provide that kind of space for others or help them find people and communities they click with. I’ve experienced the goodness of people in my life, and I want to pass that on, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

You’ve overcome many challenges to get you to this point. If comfortable, please share a challenge and briefly comment on what you learned from it or how you got through it.

One of my biggest challenges as I was coming into the math graduate program as a teaching assistant was actually just learning how to teach. I’ve always been a pretty quiet person, and the idea of being in front of an entire class of students with all eyes on me was terrifying. The only way I got through that was honestly because I didn’t have a choice! Practicing, asking for feedback, and getting advice from more experienced people went a long way. A hilarious mark that I had (at least partly) overcome the struggle was one piece of student feedback I got after my first term of teaching: “She was kind of awkward, but I guess she was okay.” In the moment, that felt like a huge success. Now, after nearly four years of teaching, teaching feels
comfortable. I think I’ve truly been able to help students, and hopefully with more than just math.

What’s your favorite college memory you’ve made so far? 

One of my favorite college memories is actually more of a collage of events than anything. In my first year in the program, all of the students in my cohort were taking mostly the same classes, and they were pretty difficult. There was one particular extrovert who picked myself and two others out of the crowd to make a study group for one class, and over the course of the next couple of terms, we all became fast friends, brought together by countless hours at the library or sprawled in the grass on the quad studying together and eventually some movie nights and coffee dates to decompress. I kind of think of that year as the “golden age” of my grad school experience.

If you could give one message to incoming students, what would you say?  

Get involved! Easy to say but sometimes hard to do, and it looks different for everyone. Maybe it means finding a club or two on campus to join. Maybe it means finding an organization to volunteer with. Maybe it means finding a church or other community outside of campus. The idea is to get outside of yourself in some way and see what kinds of things the world holds. College is a great time to explore.

In the next year of your life, what do you look forward to most? Do you have any dreams after college?

Definitely graduating. In the next year, I’m hoping to be done with my master's degree and find a place in the workforce. My dream for after college is just to settle in with a job that allows me to save some money and build some skills, and eventually I want to build a family with the right person.

If you could deliver one message to your peers, what would you say?

How you spend your days is how you spend your life. If you want to make a change in your life, start it today. If you want to make a difference, take small steps now. It’s easy to look up and realize weeks or months or years have passed, so be present *today*.