Growing up, Diana Rapp was considered a struggling student, but with support from her family and mentors, she was able to turn around her academics. Her turn around has turned her into an insatiable learner and an inspired educator.
“Thanks to my amazing teachers, tutors, and family I was able to exceed expectations by turning my struggles into successes,” Rapp said. “All of this support throughout my life inspired me to pursue education.”
As a math teacher, Rapp aims to connect with and support students like her. Rapp’s clear leadership skills led mentors in the CU Teach program to encourage her to apply for a research grant that Rapp used to study growth mindset in secondary math classrooms. As an undergraduate researcher on the Noyce Teacher Research Team, she explored best teaching practices from a team of expert mathematics and science teachers. She embraced the professional development opportunity with a drive for perfecting her craft.
“Diana has an ability to build strong, solid relationships, resulting in motivation and commitment on the part of students and a desire to work with her on the part of peers and coworkers,” said Kim Bunning, her mentor from CU Teach and nominator. “She is gifted at balancing innovative ideas, curriculum requirements, and the social emotional needs of kids, creating really powerful lessons about things that matter.”
Interestingly, Rapp nominated Bunning for CU Boulder's Marinus Smith Award, recognizing outstanding educators, last year. "Funny how it all works," she said. Rapp credits mentors like Bunning from the CU Teach program and the CU Boulder School of Education for providing hands-on classroom experience from day one. Her professors and advisors allowed her to find her voice in the realm of education, she said. Now she wants to provide inspiration for her future students and incoming CU Boulder students.
“My advice for incoming students is never be afraid to ask for help,” she said. “Your professors want to see you succeed and will go above and beyond to help you. Being part of the School of Education creates a community unlike any other. There have been countless times where I needed assistance and my CU Teach community was there to help me.”