Texas Native Adopts Marietta, GHC
Asha Hill, new mathematics instructor assigned to GHC’s Marietta site, knows how to focus and how impose strict discipline on herself. After all, in high school she once scored 63 points in a single game, and when she graduated, her jersey was retired. She was awarded a full basketball scholarship to the University of Texas where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. She also played professional basketball in New Zealand.
But she kept coming back to her dream of teaching. The energy and laser focus of professional sports have served her well in the classroom. She insists on students thinking, not parroting. She gets excited when her students come at a problem from different directions and come up with different answers – all of which are correct. That’s when she knows she’s made them think creatively to solve problems. And they can apply that newfound ability to many areas of their academic and personal lives. It’s what teaching is all about for her.
Hill, a native Texan, arrived in Marietta just as creatively. She was vacationing in Tennessee, camping in the mountains to help her overcome her fear of heights. As a continuation of the trip, she visited Savannah and found the people there exceptionally warm and inviting. So she began to look into Georgia as a place to live. She knew she wanted to live near an urban area with many activities and resources, but not in the middle of a city. She first saw Marietta on a map and thought it was just close enough to Atlanta to meet her needs. Then she saw an opening at Georgia Highlands. And the rest is not exactly history, but it is her story.
She brings her respect for teamwork to her GHC classroom, and believes that building teams of students who trust and support each other make for stronger learning. She says that math, after all, is much like sports – one must practice, practice, practice.
She was working on her doctorate in mathematics at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, but will finish her work for that degree at Georgia State University. And her dissertation will study the mathematical elements in the sona tradition of sand drawing, which is an ancient storytelling method used in Africa. Sona are traceable graphs that have a correlation to geometric theory. They are used by the native peoples of eastern Angola, northwest Zambia and the Congo (Zaire). Sand drawings are part of the oral tradition of the people there, serving as memory aids to story tellers as they weave their lore.
In describing the correlation to mathematics she said, “Natives create stories by moving their fingers in the sand, never lifting their fingers while drawing. The resulting lines can actually be related to graph theory.”
In addition to her degree from Texas, Hill holds a Master of Arts in secondary education from Texas State University with a specialization in Mathematics. She has taught at-risk minority children as part the UTeach program at the University of Texas and bilingual ninth-grade math students in Mexico. As a Ph.D. candidate, she helped conduct research on children’s developmental progress in math, which will be compared to similar studies in the United States, Mexico and Bolivia. In her free time she enjoys running, traveling, camping and spending time with her family.