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Tracy Deutmeyer

She said she loves the challenge of teaching.

Her students said she meets the challenge — and even goes beyond.

Gail Johnston, a temporary instructor of math at Iowa State, said, “I love the challenge of finding ways to present and explain math to the students.”

Johnston was nominated for the faculty spotlight by students who said she helped make some freshman students’ transitions to college courses easier.

Rebecca Snyder, a freshman in microbiology, was a student of Johnston’s in Math 181X.

“She couldn’t be there for the final, so she called while we were taking the test,” Snyder said.

Snyder said Johnston gave the test moderator a phone so Johnston could call the students during the exam to see if they had any questions.

“It was really neat,” Snyder said.

Johnston said she loves working with students. “I absolutely love it,” she said.

Snyder said a group of four students visited Johnston during office hours “at least four times a week” and Johnston always took the time to help them.

Johnston said she teaches an experimental based calculus class in which students analyze the results of experiments.

She said these experiments “motivate students to understand mathematics.”

She said, “Math is a matter of self-confidence.” Johnston said she likes to help students understand that they can do it.

“If they think they can do it, they can. And if they don’t think they can, they sometimes can’t,” Johnston said.

Johnston graduated from the University of Santa Clara in Santa Clara, Calif. with her bachelor’s degree. She later graduated with her master’s degree in math in 1975 from the University of Illinois.

She then did graduate work in microbiology at ISU while raising a family.

Johnston was an instructor of microbiology for five years at ISU and has been in the math department for three years.

Johnston was nominated for the spotlight by Snyder; David Ritter, a freshman in biology; Susie Stockman, a freshman in general undergraduate studies and Danielle Soedt, a freshman in liberal arts and sciences.