“It’s like Winning the Lottery and Not Even Buying a Ticket” Ryan Curtis Wins Prestigious Scholarship

November 21, 2022 – Ryan Curtis was one of two recipients of the 2022 AMATYC Wanda Garner Presidential Student Scholarship in the country. The award is presented by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges and is reserved for students who excel in mathematics, mathematics education, statistics, or STEM. An AMATYC member must name the recipient. In this case, Professor Steve Grosteffon, Professor of Mathematics at SF, was the nominator.

When asked why Professor Grosteffon thought Ryan Curtis would be a good recipient of this scholarship, he replied: “He was one of the top performers in my online numeracy 1 course, he did everything I expected, I give gave them a syllabus explanation of being a deep learner and he just seemed, you know, to have a good drive to learn things in depth rather than just get through the course…”

Man in black shirt stands next to gray man
SF student Ryan Curtis, shown here with Professor Steve Grosteffon, won the 2022 American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) AMATYC Wanda Garner Presidential Student Scholarship.

“I didn’t know about it until the professor called me the other day…” Ryan remarked when asked how he reacted when he got the message.

“I was pretty excited; Yes, it’s not every day that something good happens to you that you didn’t even know was going to happen. It’s like winning the lottery and not even buying a ticket.”

Ryan is a sophomore receiving an AA in Engineering and aspires to transfer to UF’s Mechanical Engineering program. “I grew up with dirt bikes, so I was fascinated by machines from a young age. I think that and my interest in physics really got me into mechanical engineering.”

He noted that he gets his motivation and drive from the support of his family and friends.

“My parents gave a lot of time and effort to help me get to where I am today. It would be a disservice to everyone who supported me, but also to myself, if I didn’t do my best in every class.”

Professor Grosteffon also contributed to Ryan’s success.

“I learned a lot from his classes and when something was confusing he was always available for office hours to help the students. I think I did well in his classes because he provided many opportunities for students to hone their skills not only in math but also in time management and learning.”

Ryan’s advice to other students interested in doing well in math is: “Math has never been my strongest subject, although I’ve always enjoyed it. The best advice I can give to others is to take advantage of every opportunity your teacher offers. Professor Grosteffon had practice tests, quizzes you could repeat at any time, and optional assignments. Using these opportunities to really make sure I understood the subject and getting a grade that reflected that understanding really helped when it came time for the exams.”