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Faculty Spotlight: Catherine Holl-Cross

Cathy Holl-Cross and familyCathy Holl-Cross may make ‘having it all’ look easy, but it’s hard work. Being a full-time instructor, soccer mom, wife, and doctoral student comes at a cost, but it’s one she’s willing to pay.

Her love of math started at birth, she thinks, by having parents with careers revolving around math. Then, when she was awarded the Math Achievement award in 8th grade, that solidified her commitment to math as a career. She has been with SPCC since 2015 and serves as the Department Chair and Math Instructor.

What is your biggest accomplishment at SPCC?
I was a co-chair of the RISE implementation in 2018-2019, which had a major impact on many areas of the college. I also was a driving force in bringing the Associate in Engineering to SPCC. I pride myself in my mentoring of students through academic advising and also faculty as department chair.

What is your favorite SPCC memory?
Seeing the students graduate, especially some special students from my first MAT 171 classes in Fall 2015. I taught 5 sections of MAT 171 that semester. I am also SUPER excited to see the first AE students graduate in May 2021!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
My family and I took an RV trip in July, 2014 from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Dixie National Forest and more, then finished with a family reunion in Long Beach CA. Also in 2015, my husband and I got re-married by Elvis on Super Pi Day (3/14/15) with the family in tow – so we celebrate two anniversaries.

Anything else you would like us to know?
I have three awesome kids (1st , 8th  & 10th grade) who all do really well in school (especially math) and play soccer. I’m busy running around with them most weekends to games and tournaments (not during COVID). We love to explore new areas and restaurants. I try not to get the same meal at a restaurant twice. After a 20 year break from being a student, in Fall 2020, I enrolled in a PhD program at UNCC. I am studying Curriculum & Instruction, with math education concentration.

Cathy’s goal is to help students understand that mathematical problem solving is a process and not a formula. “I want students to see the beauty and connectedness of mathematics. What students learn in 2nd or 3rd grade is still needed in college level math and I want help them see those connections. I also want to be like one of the teachers that I had, who positively influences a student to keep going in math!”

“As a future math education researcher, I am also looking for ways to share good teaching practices with the mathematical community. I have not decided on my dissertation topic yet, but I will select an idea that I hope will positively impact the undergraduate math teaching community.”