Grads of the Pack: Sabrina Ma

“I am passionate about inspiring others and finding a path to help make a difference”

Sabrina Ma wearing a graduation robe and stole

Grads of the Pack: Sabrina Ma

“I am passionate about inspiring others and finding a path to help make a difference”

Sabrina Ma wearing a graduation robe and stole

Sabrina Ma is a first-generation college student with parents who immigrated from Vietnam.

“My parents will always be my biggest supporters,” Ma said. “Though they may struggle to understand the difficulty of my classes, they take the time to encourage me and get to know more about my academic interests and what I’m studying.”

Ma first earned a dual bachelor's degree in mathematics and secondary education through the NevadaTeach program in Spring 2022. Fueled by a desire to foster inclusivity and representation in the classroom, she transitioned seamlessly into the Master of Science in Equity & Diversity in Education online program in the College of Education & Human Development and is now set to graduate in May 2024.

Her decision to get her master’s degree was shaped by firsthand experiences during her teaching apprenticeships and substitute teaching opportunities. Ma observed a stark absence of inclusivity in the curriculum, especially concerning cultural representation.

“Being a woman of color allowed me to see that we are taught many things in our education but lack the feeling of connection to our culture and community to what we learn in the classroom, along with the cultures of others,” Ma said.

Driven by a passion to create change, Ma seized the opportunity to delve deeper into equity and diversity in education. She envisioned a future where every student, regardless of background, feels seen, valued and empowered in their learning journey. With her impending graduation in May, Ma eagerly anticipates applying her newfound knowledge and insights to create transformative learning environments.

Reflecting on her undergraduate years, Ma reminisces fondly about her involvement in extracurricular activities such as the University's Urban Dance Club and her role as a mentor for NevadaFIT. These experiences not only enriched her college experience but also allowed her to forge meaningful connections and explore her interests beyond the classroom.

Throughout her academic journey, Ma found unwavering support and inspiration from her mentors and professors. Deena Schmidt, Ph.D., Eleni Oikonomidoy, Ph.D., Laura Smithers, Ph.D., Lynda Wiest, Ph.D. and the dedicated educators of the NevadaTeach program have played pivotal roles in shaping Ma's perspective and fostering her growth as an educator.

“The NevadaTeach Master Teachers spent time getting to know me during my undergraduate years, and these connections we create allow them to seek the best schools and teachers to pair me with throughout my teaching journey,” Ma said. “Even in my master’s program, I spend my time in the NevadaTeach area almost daily because I love the meaningful connections I’ve formed with each of them over the past six years.”

Sabrina Ma with her family at graduation.
Sabrina Ma with her parents at her graduation from her NevadaTeach undergraduate program.

As she prepares to embark on her career as a middle school math teacher in the Washoe County School District, Ma remains steadfast in her commitment to making a difference. Her involvement in initiatives such as the UTeach Conference in Austin, Texas, and her role as the Family Math Night Coordinator with Nevada Math underscore her dedication to empowering students and promoting a love for learning.

Despite the challenges she encountered along the way, Ma's unwavering determination and resilience propelled her forward. Whether balancing academics and personal life or navigating the complexities of online learning, she remained steadfast in her pursuit of excellence.

Ma's story serves as a testament to the transformative power of education and the indomitable spirit of those who dare to dream. As she looks towards the future with optimism and determination, Ma stands poised to inspire generations to come, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of education and equity.

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