Math anxiety had plagued Tywanna Davis since she was in the third grade. By the time she was a young adult, she had convinced herself that her lack of math skills would hold her back from earning a college degree.
In May 2014, Davis graduated from ECC Compton Center with an associate degree in general and biological sciences. She is transferring to California State University, Dominguez Hills in fall 2014 to study nursing while also working.
Davis graduated from high school in St. Louis, Missouri and moved to California by herself when she was 19. She decided to attend the former Brooks College to study animation and gain some skills so she could get a job. "I was afraid to apply to a university because I could not perform basic math operations such as division," said Davis. "In math, I was equivalent to someone who can not read a book, math illiterate."
After graduating from Brooks, she worked for several years in telemarketing, customer service, and as an administrative assistant. By age 25, she was laid off and the next year she became a single mother. Unemployed and with no family-support system in the state, Davis made the decision to return to college so she could secure a future for her daughter.
Her situation improved when she began using ECC Compton Center's Supplemental Instruction (SI) as soon as she enrolled in Mathematics 12 (basic arithmetic skills) class. The Library-Student Success Center offers SI, which is a peer-facilitated study group geared toward promoting engagement and effective study techniques for basic skills courses, as well as difficult courses that have a low success rate. Thanks to SI, Davis received straight A's in all of her math classes at ECC Compton Center, including statistics. "My whole life, I always said that English was my strongest subject," said Davis. "It is unbelievable that I prefer math over writing now."
Davis wanted to share her positive experience with other students, so she trained to become an SI coach and help those struggling with math. "I had worried about math since I was in the third grade, and yet it only took me two years to master," said Davis. "Often times it takes much longer to decide to do something than it does to actually achieve that goal."