|Estella De Los Santos|
Every career field has its perks – those moments that make rewarding work that much more enjoyable.
For Estella De Los Santos, a professor of mathematics at the University of Houston-Victoria, it’s seeing students experience those “aha moments” that brings out that joy.
“When you say something, do something or teach something that makes that light bulb go on, that’s a great feeling,” she said. “It is rewarding, especially when you help students who don’t necessarily like math.”
Education was a natural path for the Palacios native, who was not only the first teacher in her family but also a first-generation college graduate.
“I was always good in mathematics, so I chose a field where I could use math,” said De Los Santos, who began teaching in 1977. “Teaching is the only job I’ve ever had, and I love it.”
De Los Santos earned her bachelor’s degree from UHV in elementary education, with a specialization in mathematics. Later, she went on to earn her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the university. A doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in mathematics came later from the University of Houston.
De Los Santos joined the UHV School of Education & Human Development faculty in 1991, and in the years since, she’s seen the university experience tremendous change.
The introduction of freshmen and sophomores means there is more diversity on campus. And while the university’s push toward online courses in the late 1990s took some adjustment, it allowed the school to reach more students, she said.
“Before the online courses, I was basically traveling every week to teach in Katy,” she said. “When I was given the option to travel or put my courses online, I put them online. It’s been different, but it’s interesting.”
De Los Santos also has been heavily involved in the education of younger students. She serves on the Victoria Independent School District Board of Trustees, and she volunteers at Stroman Middle School as part of UHV’s Adopt-A-School Program. She also participates in VISD’s mentoring program.
“I enjoy helping math teachers and tutoring students who need help with math,” she said.
In the area of scholarly activities, De Los Santos has made numerous presentations at state, national and international conferences. She also had published several articles related to using available technology to enhance mathematics curriculums.
Although teaching, service and scholarly activities take up much of the educator’s time, De Los Santos said she also enjoys taking a break to appreciate the great outdoors. Her father taught her to fish, and it’s been a favorite pastime ever since.
“I love to just get out on a boat, be on the water and enjoy being part of nature,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite places to be.”
The Faculty Feature is an online feature highlighting faculty members from each of the University of Houston-Victoria’s four schools. To nominate a faculty member, contact Paula Cobler. UHV interim director of marketing and communications, or call 361-570-4350.